Laying the foundations for a strengthened bi-regional policy dialogue to connect the

priorities of the Forum of Environmental Ministers with those of the European Green Pact was the aim of this virtual event.

 February 2, 2021. Brussels, Belgium. The side event entitled "Building a green partnership between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean" took place on February 2 in the framework of the 23rd Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean and was organised by the European Union and the UNEP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The purpose of this event was to exchange information on strategic plans and investments aimed at the green recovery in both regions. It also sought to gather high-level suggestions that could guide the strategic priorities of partnerships between the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean on climate change, environment, biodiversity, and circular economy for the programming cycle of the European Union 2021-2027.

The virtual meeting featured three panellists: Jorge de la Caballería, Head of Unit for South America and Regional Operations of the Directorate of International Partnerships for the European Union; Andrea Meza, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica; and Simon Stiell, Minister of Climate Resilience, Environment, Reforestation, Fisheries, Disaster Management and Information of Grenada. The exchange and reflection generated by these three speeches prompted a high-level discussion that took place after their interventions.

In the opening, Jorge de la Caballería pointed out that the European Green Pact means moving further along the path of sustainable development and that to achieve this requires a global economic recovery that is green, sustainable, and inclusive. "What we really want with our member states and our European allies is to plan and finance, and talk about strategy together, bringing the private sector and financial institutions to the discussion table," he said.

De la Caballería added that the European Union is at a unique moment for the construction of two regional initiatives; on the one hand, the European Union-Caribbean partnership for resilience and a green deal and a European Union-Latin America and the Caribbean partnership focused on climate and environmental governance. Finally, he stressed that the positive experience of programmes such as EUROCLIMA+ can serve as a basis for creating a common strategy and action for the coming years.

For her part, Andrea Meza stressed the need to reinforce joint visions and proposals in international treaty negotiations, the creation of regional or international instruments, and the need for greater impetus towards sustained and more effective cooperation that really leads to results. She also stressed the need to generate alliances to consolidate enabling conditions, which would allow for the creation of more robust public policy instruments.

"The big challenge we are experiencing is high indebtedness. This limits our capacity to do things. Today more than ever, we need non-reimbursable funds to help us test technologies with a view toward results and innovation in the territory," Meza concluded.

Simon Stiell then pointed out in his speech that small islands like Grenada can quickly demonstrate on a small scale what can be done on climate issues on a larger scale in the larger countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The discussion highlighted how the European Union shares common values and a common vision with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, and that there is a clear commitment to multilateralism. Furthermore, while recognising the good results of ongoing European Union-Latin America and Caribbean cooperation, it was suggested that the scale of cooperation should be increased in the future, moving to larger initiatives capable of contributing to transforming economies, with transformative and permanent effects in the long term.

Other conclusions from this virtual meeting were that cooperation should focus on (i) sound public policies (long-term strategies, laws), (ii) greening the financial system through best practices, financial products, risk management, and access to financing on better terms, and (iii) preparing and financing large investment projects.

It was also pointed out that the sectoral approach to future cooperation should take into account that there are common priorities in the region such as energy transition and sustainable transport (electric mobility, renewable energy), agriculture and oceans. Finally, it was noted that the focus should be on nature-based solutions to ensure that nature and biodiversity are given real value, and that different ecosystems require tailored sub-regional solutions.

For more details and information, we invite you to watch the recording of the event.

About EUROCLIMA+

EUROCLIMA+ is a programme funded by the European Union on environmental sustainability and climate change with Latin America. Its objective is to reduce the impact of climate change and its effects in Latin America by promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation, resilience, and investment. The Programme is implemented under the synergistic work of seven agencies: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the French Development Agency (AFD), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Expertise France (EF), the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), and UN Environment.