UNEP and Commission to reinforce cooperation on the environment

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the European Commission signed a Memorandum of understanding this week to strengthen their cooperation in fighting global threats to the environment.

The Memorandum will reinforce policy dialogue and collaboration at all levels between the two, including implementation of the commitments made at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable development.

Klaus Toepfor, Executive Director of UNEP said: “The signing of this memorandum is a big step forward for environmental protection on the global and regional levels where the Commission and UNEP share common objectives.”

He congratulated all those involved in the process but said that now the really hard work begins. “From combating climate change, to beating poverty in Africa or helping rebuild the devastated infrastructure of post-conflict countries like Afghanistan, the environment and development challenges before UNEP and the EC are immense. By working together, we have a much better chance of succeeding.”

The Memorandum provides a framework for structured and consistent collaboration between the two organisations. It envisages regular meetings at senior and expert levels, strategic policy discussions and financial cooperation.

In addition, the Commission is going to post a senior official to its delegation in Nairobi, where UNEP has its headquarters, to follow UNEP’s day-to-day activities.

Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallstrom said: “UNEP’s mandate and goals match the EU’s environmental policy priorities. It is therefore important that the Commission fully participates in UNEP’s work and contributes actively to the development and implementation of global environment policies. This will also strengthen UNEP as the main global environmental organisation. By joining forces, we will be in a better position to cope with today’s environmental problems.”

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