Brussels, 16 June 2016/ ACP: The role played by the longstanding partnership between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in boosting the momentum towards the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change last year, was highlighted at a high level panel at Europe’s prime event on development, known as the European Development Days(EDD16).

The panel discussion was organised by the European Commission’s DG CLIMA and the European Think Tank Group on the topic ‘Climate and development: Getting to zero poverty and zero emissions’.

During the debate, ACP Secretary General Dr. Patrick I. Gomes urged stronger “alliance-building” between the ACP and EU sides, to ensure successful implementation of the ambitious targets agreed at the COP21 meeting.

Dr. Gomes recalled the joint announcement made by the EU and ACP camps to the media during the COP21 negotiations, representing 28 plus 79 countries of the world, which sparked a wave of support for what became known as the “Ambition Coalition”, quickly growing to include major powers and emerging economies.

The ACP-EU joint statement called for a legally-binding, ambitious, inclusive and durable agreement with clear long term goals, as well as a 5-yearly review mechanism and a transparency and accountability system to track progress on national commitments.

EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete acknowledged the importance of ACP-EU collaboration in this regard, stating that: “The European Union, together with our partners, including the ACP countries, were fundamental in making the deal in Paris, and we will continue supporting capacity-building… We will have a very good opportunity to implement the ambitious targets committed in Paris.”

However, Commissioner Cañete also emphasised that signing the agreement was only the beginning, and that focus should be now on successful implementation of those ambitious goals.

He cited an estimated USD 3.5 trillion in investments needed by 2030 to implement the Nationally Determined Commitments (NCDs) of countries to attain the set targets. With public funds not nearly enough to cover this gap, Commissioner Cañete pointed to the need for increased climate-friendly public and private support, as well as improving the investment environment in developing countries.

In the meantime, the European Union and its member states have contributed more than EUR 40 billion last year from public budgets and other development finance instruments to support climate action in developing countries.

In November 2015, the European Commission signed the Intra-ACP Strategy for ACP-wide development programmes, which included EUR 475 million for climate change and environment for the period 2014-2020.

Fellow panellist and Director of the Institut du Développement Durable et des Relations Internationales Teresa Ribera added that the drive for funding should be coherent with other actions and development policies in order to work.

“The climate change and development agendas need big doses of solidarity – and not just building funds,” she said.

The panel was part of a two-day international event in Brussels focussing on development issues while showcasing EU development programmes around the world.

– ACP Press

(Photos from top: ACP Secretary General Dr. Patrick I. Gomes speaking at the panel discussion on climate and development; Above, from left – Moderator Simon Maxwell and panellists, including youth climate leader from NicaraguaJoselin Manzanares Nuñez, European Commissioner for DevelopmentMiguel Arias Cañete, Director, Western Europe – International Finance Corporation Stephanie J. Miller,Director of the Institut du Développement Durable et des Relations Internationales Teresa Ribera, and ACP Secretary General Dr. Patrick Gomes./ Photos by European Commission)