REC Caucasus in its capacity as the member of Consortium (formed by MWH Global leader, the Environment Agency Austria) implementing the EU funded project: "Central Asia enhanced regional cooperation on Environment, Climate Change and Water" participated at the fifth meeting of EU and Central Asia working group on environment and climate change. The meeting was organized in Brussels from 15th to 19th of December 2016.
For some years now, the EU and the Central Asia region have demonstrated increased mutual interest in building closer political and economic relations. Guided by “The EU and Central Asia: Strategy for a New Partnership”, the Platform for Environment and Water Cooperation, established in 2009 at a high-level conference in Rome as a framework for cooperation on environment and water, set up a working group to facilitate the implementation of platform objectives. Since then, concrete steps have been taken to strengthen policy dialogue and cooperation at the regional level and to provide guidance on cooperation activities between the EU and Central Asia. Italy has assumed the leading role in coordinating the strategy's environment and water pillar.
Further progress was achieved through a joint communiqué of the Fifth EU-Central Asia High-Level Conference on Energy and Water Cooperation, held in Milan, Italy, on October 12-13, 2015, as well as through the Fifth Meeting of the Working Group for Environment and Climate Change (WG ECC), held on December 15-16, 2016, in Brussels, Belgium. At this meeting, The REC, part of the WG ECC, made important contributions towards defining common priorities for exchange, facilitating the sharing of experiences, assessing the status of the environment, and determining partner priorities in an environmental context.
During the latter event, the WG ECC addressed developments that have taken place since its last meeting (held in July 2015 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan), namely:
- partner activities related to environmental governance, green economy and circular economy, with emphasis given to sustainable use of natural resources, sustainable production and consumption, and better waste management;
- activities related to making the transition to a low-emission and climate-resilient economy, with particular focus on mitigation and adaptation to climate change, as well as on implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change;
- synergies and cooperation achieved with agencies, international organisations and civil society on environment and climate change; and
- tentative priorities for 2017-2018 pertaining to the EU-CA Platform for Environment and Water Cooperation's "Draft Action Plan for the Environment and Climate Change".
REC Caucasus will be closely involved in promoting the stable and peaceful sustainable development of Central Asia countries and will be facilitating closer regional cooperation both within Central Asia and between Central Asia and the EU.