The EU is a climate leader: guided by science, it has stepped up its domestic commitments, adopting the objective of climate-neutrality by 2050, and enhancing its short-term GHG emission reduction target, and thus the EU’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), to at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990.
The EU contributes to fighting climate change at global level through both domestic action and international cooperation.
Domestic policies, legislation and initiatives include:
EU energy diplomacy aims to accelerate the global energy transition, promoting energy efficiency and renewable technologies, amongst other things. At the same time, the EU’s energy diplomacy will discourage further investments into fossil-fuel-based infrastructure projects in third countries, unless they are aligned with an ambitious climate neutrality pathway, and will support international efforts to reduce the environmental and greenhouse gas impact of existing fossil fuel infrastructure.
EU environmental strategies and action plans aim to contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal. The EU's Biodiversity Strategy sets out specific actions and commitments aimed at reversing the degradation of ecosystems and put Europe's biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030. The Action Plan ‘For a cleaner and more competitive Europe’ is the roadmap towards achieving a circular economy in the EU and in the world.
The concept of food system includes every step of food lifecycle, notably production, transport, transformation, commercialisation and consumption.
The transition towards sustainable food systems is therefore a key component of the green transition, ensuring social, environmental and economic sustainability (healthy people, healthy societies and a healthy planet). Food systems are globally responsible for around one third of greenhouse gases emissions.
It is also a contribution to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, in particular the “zero hunger” and “good health” objectives.
The Farm to Fork Strategy is the main EU contribution in this field, combining new standards for EU production and consumption, as well as promotion of these standards towards partner countries and relevant international organisations.
International Ocean Governance
International Ocean Governance plays a crucial role in fostering healthy oceans, halting the loss of biodiversity and fighting climate change. In 2016, the EU was the first economy in the world to develop an International Ocean Governance (IOG) Agenda.
The EU is taking strong action to improve the status of the marine environment, however more needs to be done to reverse negative trends: Climate driven ecosystem disruption, extensive pollution and biodiversity loss are placing considerable pressure on the oceans. Exacerbated by the difficulty of governing such a public shared global good, there is a need for more effective, cross-cutting and integrated ocean governance - built on strong partnerships, international cooperation and multilateralism.
As part of the follow-up action to the Commission’s 2016 IOG Agenda the International Ocean Governance Forum consultation process was launched. Created as a platform for all stakeholders to share their expertise, understanding, experiences and good practices on ocean governance, the IOG Forum presented key recommendations for future EU action.
The recommendations will feed into the update of the IOG Agenda, which is an integral part of the European Green Deal and the EU's response to the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular, Sustainable Development Goal 14.
Tensions and conflicts over access to water continue to rise, as the world’s water resources and ecosystems deteriorate, and the threat of water scarcity spreads. Water has thus become a foreign policy issue, as recognised in the EU by 2013 Foreign Ministers Conclusions. On 19 November 2018, the Foreign Affairs Council adopted Conclusions on EU Water Diplomacy. The Council made the case for making the link between water, security and peace, including the potential of water as an instrument for peace.
The Council Conclusions on EU Water Diplomacy adopted on 19 November 2018 seek to develop an approach to water in a post 2015 world which reflects increasing challenges (such as climate change or growing water insecurity) and the impact on EU water diplomacy of both the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The Council Conclusions recognise the potential for water to affect international peace and security and stress the importance of transboundary water cooperation and governance. The Council Conclusions also highlight the EU's commitment to the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, as components of the right to an adequate standard of living (in accordance with UN HRC Resolution (A/HRC/RES/39/8) of 27 September 2018). They are expected to have an impact in the programming of future financial and technical cooperation with third countries.