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Meeting of the Ministers of the Environment of the EU convened in Luxembourg focusing on issues of sustainable development and climate change


On 22 to 23 July, Kęstutis Trečiokas, Minister of the Environment, has attended an informal meeting of the ministers of the environment of the European Union, held in Luxembourg. The meeting has considered the follow-on to the climate change conference scheduled in December in Paris, other relevant matters on funding of long-term instruments to mitigate the climate change, and the links of sustainable development and the EU environmental policy.

The ministers have discussed ways the EU environmental policy could contribute to the accomplishment of the sustainable development targets. Adoption of these targets, included in the Development Agenda post-2015, is expected at the General Assembly of the United Nations to be held in New York in September.

Last year, the UN came up with a proposal on 17 key targets of the sustainable development and with 5–12 objectives to implement each target. The environment-related targets will urge dealing with issues of marine and water resources, forests, desertification, climate change, as well as preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity.

According to the Minister of Environment, Lithuania supports the targets proposed, where these integrate 3 key elements of the sustainable development adequately, including the environmental protection, and economic and social development. The EU is implementing an ambitious policy of sustainable development, and its instruments dedicated to the environmental protection include targets comparable to those of the sustainable development. We believe, however, that one the agenda is adopted, after 2015, and in order to ensure greater compatibility and efficiency when implementing the targets, the relevant EU instruments should be reviewed, starting with the EU policy for sustainable development. Review should further extend to targets included in other strategic instruments of the EU”. To ensure implementation of the targets set, both monitoring and assessment must be put in place, making use of the mechanisms available.

The ministers meeting in Luxembourg further discussed the progress made on negotiations concerning a new legally binding agreement dedicated to the climate change, to enter into effect in 2020, and a key element of the negotiating position of the EU, i.e. a long-term funding of instruments dedicated to the climate change.

With the growing need for funding required for the targets in the field of climate and sustainable development, and the changing economic capabilities of various countries, each and every country should contribute to the financial support. Both diversity and methods of funding must be expanded in the future. The rate of mitigating measures will depend on the plans of further investment and the impact of adjustment to the climate change on the national planning processes.

According to Mr Trečiokas, “Lithuania supports the need to have a new agreement approved by the late 2015, focusing on legally binding obligations to mitigate the climate change”.

The agreement should further cover aspects of adjustment and funding of actions. Any provisions on funding must correspond to the changing political and economic realities, and the role of each country when it comes to undertaking of financial obligations must be planned in view of both capabilities and liability of a country in question.

As the Minister of the Environment went on to stress, “As the funding need grows, we must make sure that the funds made available by the public sector would attract the funding from the private sector. To encourage investment by the private sector, we must expand the funding methods of both the EU and international financial institutions, and to include new ways to use the financial instruments available”.

Successful raising of funds to mitigate the climate change depends on the priorities, and coordination and efficiency of both the stakeholders and relevant funds. Not only would the policy in every sector of the economy, both national and international, focusing on socially responsible investment and reasonable financial return, contribute to mitigation of the climate change; it would further facilitate the development of sustainable economy and new jobs.

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Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas