Planning workshop held to address this new cooperation project, agreed between

the EU and Cuba, in the framework of the EUROCLIMA+ programme.

Havana, March 4. On March 2 and 3, an action planning workshop was held in Cuba for the Insertion of the climate dimension in the planning of territorial development in Cuba, a demand from the country arising from the process of dialogue that Cuba maintains with the European Union in the framework of the EUROCLIMA+ programme, and which is being accompanied by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), and the International and Ibero-America Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP).

In the course of 2019, the Government of Cuba and the European Union organised the first sectoral dialogue on the environment and climate change in the framework of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the two parties. Thus, with the aim of implementing the agreements reached, a process of exchanges on the Climate Agenda has been carried out, led by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA) and supported by the EUROCLIMA+ Programme. This process of exchanges has made it possible to define, together with the relevant Cuban actors, the needs and priorities for the implementation of the State Plan to Address Climate Change (Life Task) and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in the framework of the Paris Agreement. It is also contributing to strengthening the dialogue with international cooperation partners to align the supply of technical and financial support for climate action – including that foreseen under EUROCLIMA+ - with the country's needs and priorities. As a result, priority actions were identified and agreed upon, which will be implemented at the municipal level.

Thus, this cooperation action will aim to comprehensively establish the climate dimension in the local development model and its scaling up to national public policies on climate change, promoting resilient and low greenhouse gas emissions municipalities, considering a gender and social inclusion approach.

The workshop, which is initiating the planning phase of this new cooperation project, was held in a hybrid modality (face-to-face and virtual), allowing CITMA and other relevant national institutions to connect with the representatives of the territories of Cabaiguán (Sancti Spíritus), San Antonio del Sur (Guantánamo), Isla de la Juventud and Guanabacoa (Havana), beneficiary municipalities of this project, and the experts from each of the implementing agencies. The purpose of the workshop was to define the scope, the project cooperation and governance structure, as well as its strategic planning 2021-2023, with the detailed programming of activities and the development of the Annual Operational Plan (AOP) for 2021.

At the opening session, Inalvis Bonachea, director for Europe of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment (MINCEX), stressed that the project, "by incorporating the environmental dimension into local development, will ensure its sustainability and replication at the national level". She also highlighted the opportunity that this action opens up for other countries in the region: "The experiences acquired could be replicated in other nations through south-south cooperation actions, or triangular cooperation actions".

Odalys Goicochea, Director General of Environment of CITMA and national focal point for EUROCLIMA+, pointed out that in 2020, Cuba has presented "the 3rd National Communication, its updated NDC and the First Biennial Report of Cuba to the Convention". She also stressed that "Cuba is beginning to work on issues related to its development through macro-programmes, and at Environment and Natural Resources it is focusing on adaptation and tackling climate change as a decisive issue".

Juan Garay, Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation in Cuba, highlighted the good relations between the EU and Cuba, materialised in the "Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement", with a brief review of the cooperation instruments that are being worked on in this area, as well as the cooperation programming for the period 2021-2027 that is currently underway. Garay stressed the importance of sectoral dialogues as a mechanism for relations between the parties to identify needs and even to align with other actions and initiatives being worked on in the country. He also announced the EU's interest in supporting the development of sustainable municipalities. "The strengthening of the local level is fundamental for all the challenges of climate change," he said.

Representing the territories, María Caridad Fortun Torres, from the capital municipality of Guanabacoa, highlighted the importance of the fact that non-coastal areas are integrated in this pilot phase of the project: "For the non-coastal municipalities it is a little more difficult to visualise the challenges presented by climate change", she remarked.

The workshop was structured in two phases: in the first phase, representatives from different Cuban institutions presented the objectives of the project and explained the national policies and general information on which they are based. In the second phase, the actual planning took place, reviewing the activities proposed to achieve each of the project's objectives, using a collaborative work tool. The second day of the workshop also included a reflection on the governance of the project for its effective implementation.

Specific issues addressed in the planning process included: the integration of adaptation and mitigation measures that favour resilience to climate change at the territorial level and a conception of low-emission development (objective 2); the development of a monitoring and indicators system to measure and evaluate progress at the territorial level (objective 3); the evaluation of municipal project portfolios to incorporate the climate variable (objective 4); establishing a virtual platform that facilitates decision-making processes and favours the participation of actors (objective 5); and the development of a training programme on the management of the climate dimension at the territorial level (objective 6).

After two days of intense work in virtual and face-to-face format, the main elements that make up the project's work plan and its annual operational plan 2021 were put together, which will be structured and reviewed for approval at the next meeting of the project's coordinating team.

About the State Plan to Combat Climate Change of the Republic of Cuba  

The State Plan to Confront Climate Change in the Republic of Cuba, Tarea Vida, was approved on April 25, 2017 by the Council of State and Ministers. Its conception was the result of several decades of scientific research that have yielded important results and projections of the negative effects of climate change on the island. Tarea Vida (Life Task) is the most comprehensive national document on climate change and sustainable development, reflecting the nation's main policy objectives on adaptation and mitigation.

About EUROCLIMA+     

EUROCLIMA+ is a programme funded by the European Union to promote environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient development in 18 Latin American countries, particularly for the benefit of the most vulnerable populations. The Programme is implemented under the synergistic work of seven cooperation agencies: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the French Development Agency (AFD), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), Expertise France (EF), the International and Ibero-America Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), and UN Environment.

Picture: Mesa Country Cuba (Sept 2019)