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Environment

EU, South East Asia launch Green Team Europe Initiative to protect the environment

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During the 3rd ASEAN-EU Dialogue on Sustainable Development, European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen launched on November 18 a Green Team Europe Initiative in partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)/South East Asia.

The initiative, backed by an initial €30 million grant from the EU budget, will strengthen the EU’s partnership with the region in areas including climate action, environmental and biodiversity protection, clean energy transition, disaster resilience, prevention of illegal logging, wildlife trafficking and air pollution, the EU Commission said.

“As strategic partners, the EU and ASEAN share a joint commitment to fostering a fairer, greener, and more sustainable future,” Urpilainen said. “Building back better is about supporting our economies and creating decent employment opportunities while also addressing climate change, tackling pollution, and protecting biodiversity. It requires rethinking our approach to development in the context of a rapidly warming and increasingly interconnected planet. Our Green Team Europe Initiative is a ground-breaking step going forward and I am very pleased to take this step with our partners in South-East Asia,” she added.

As part of the EU’s overall Green Deal diplomacy, this initiative provides the framework for coordinated green action between participating Team Europe partners (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and Romania, as well as the European Investment Bank) and ASEAN and its Member States, seeking synergies between their respective political frameworks: in particular the European Green Deal and the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. The Initiative will be implemented both at national and regional levels in the ASEAN region.

The EU will allocate a grant of €30 million to cover programmes and projects to support the implementation of the Team Europe Initiative. This is only a part of the funding that Team Europe partners will mobilise in the context of this Initiative.

In December 2020, the EU and ASEAN elevated their relations to a Strategic Partnership with ASEAN.

South-East Asia (SEA) is among the most vulnerable regions in the world to the impacts of climate change, with five of the 20 countries most affected by climate change in SEA.

To address this challenge, this Team Europe Initiative (TEI) offers a framework for a Green Initiative in South East Asia, seeking synergies between the European Green Deal and the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, promoting the joint commitment to a lasting and sustainable transformation towards circular, climate-neutral and environmentally sustainable economies and resilient ecosystems. This can demonstrate the transformative power of the European Green Deal and strengthen the EU partnerships with the region.

This regional TEI will aim to further strengthen the positive and already strong partnership with ASEAN and give momentum to the joint commitments to implement international agreements such as the Paris Agreement, including by promoting green economic policies fostering climate action.

The Commission said it will allocate a grant of €30 million from the Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation (NDICI) – Global Europe to cover programmes and projects to support the implementation of the Team Europe Initiative, which will be defined in the coming months.

In support of this initiative, the entire EU external action toolbox can be mobilised: diplomacy, policy dialogue, trade policies and development cooperation including budget support, blending (EFIs) and the investments fostered under the ESFD+.

The TEI will help ensure the continuation and strengthening of relevant regional and bilateral EU initiatives (EU-ASEAN High-level dialogue (HLD) on Environment and Climate Change, FLEGT, ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF), etc.) and will be coordinated with all relevant Commission services and EU Delegations in the region.

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