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18 October 2016
Environment
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First ever Eastern Partnership formal Ministerial meeting on environment and climate

Luxembourg, 18 October 2016 – The first ever Easter Partnership Ministerial meeting on environment and climate change took place today in the presence of the deputy Minister for environment Norbert Kurilla on behalf of the Slovak Presidency and Commissioners Karmenu Vella and Johannes Hahn. The EU and the Easter Partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) adopted a Ministerial Declaration reiterating commitment to boost cooperation on environment, climate and sustainable development.

Environment and climate challenges know no borders. Regional and global cooperation are the best tools to address these challenges jointly. Given the geographic and historic proximity of the EU and Eastern Partners as well as their shared assets, strengthened transboundary cooperation and joint action on circular economy, climate, nature or water resources are needed.

Norbert Kurilla

Norbert Kurilla, deputy Minister for environment said:

Environment and climate challenges know no borders. Regional and global cooperation are the best tools to address these challenges jointly. Given the geographic and historic proximity of the EU and Eastern Partners as well as their shared assets, strengthened transboundary cooperation and joint action on circular economy, climate, nature or water resources are needed. It is no surprise to anyone that our international partners are interested in cooperation on environment and climate. European Union has a lot to offer in terms of best practices, experience withe EU legislation, of projects of common interest or funding through different programmes. We have agreed today to cooperate on green economy and international agenda, be it 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.

Ministers for environment and climate change from EU Member States and Eastern Partner countries discussed opportunities for cooperation on environmental governance and the green economy. They stressed the need to encourage a shift towards sustainable and integrated management of natural resources, as well as to sustainable consumption and production in line with circular economy principles. They recognised the role of private sector and industry in stimulating economic growth, fostering innovation,  job creation and improving the quality of life for all citizens.

During the working lunch, the EU Member States and Eastern Neighbourhood countries representatives discussed the ratification and implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate action. It was recognised that an early action on climate should put Europe and its neighbourhood on a sustainable path towards low-carbon economy.

Ministers agreed to assess progress in the next two years and tasked the Eastern Partnership Panel on Environment and Climate Change with the follow up to the Declaration.

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