On November 16, 2023, the EU4Climate project held its final workshop in Brussels, Belgium. The main objective of this workshop was to evaluate the accomplishments and contributions of the project towards the renewed climate policy agenda of the Eastern Partnership countries. The workshop aimed to assess the impact of the EU4Climate project and its role in promoting climate policies in the Eastern Partnership countries.

EU4Climate helped governments in the EU Eastern Partner countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus[1], Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to take action against climate change. It supported countries in implementing the Paris Climate Agreement and improving climate policies and legislation.

It guided alignment with the EU climate acquis in line with the countries’ obligations in their respective EU agreements. Its ambition was to limit climate change impact on citizens lives and make them more resilient to it.

“We can confidently say that this has been, to a large extent, a great success. As we reflect on the achievement realised today, it is essential to acknowledge that the norms, policies and instruments established to meet our international commitments require investments linked to the economic and investment plan agreed upon by 27 EU Member States and the 5 heads of governments of the Eastern Partner countries in 2021. Since its launch, we have already mobilised 7.5 billion euros of investment in the region with 4 billion specifically dedicated to sustainable transport, clean energy and greening of businesses”, mentioned Gerald Audaz from DG NEAR.

Extending appreciation to the UNDP, EU’s implementing partner in the EU4Climate project for its invaluable contribution, Gerald Audaz informed: “EU’s commitment to climate action will continue through a new EU-funded program set to commence in 2024”.

While the new programme’s focus aligns with EU4Climate, there will be a stronger emphasis on aiding countries on the enlargement track with the EU, facilitating the rapid alignment of legislation with European standards. Close collaboration with the EU partners in the South Caucasus will also be maintained.

In his turn, Fabien Porcher from DG CLIMA stated that the landscape has changed strongly since 2019 – over the project’s life.

“We’re barely talking about the same region. However, the threat of climate change is still there. The end of EU4Climate, as such, is certainly not the end of our commitment to climate change in the region as it is more critical than ever to raise ambitions. We need instruments like EU4Climate, to lend assistance where necessary, and mobilize the expertise to find the right pathways for decarbonisation and resilience in all countries”.

Activities carried out by the EU4Climate in the region exceeded far beyond the NDCs, and the long-term strategies. Fabien Porcher noted that due attention in the future will be paid to monitoring, reporting, and verification of emissions, carbon pricing, etc.

The specific situation of Ukraine needs acknowledgment of the challenges connected to rebuilding in a sustainable climate, resilient and low emission way the regions affected by the war.

While mentioning the main results of the project, Laura Altinger from UNDP IRH reflected on the tangible outcomes achieved through collective efforts. Notably, the successful implementation of National Determined Contributions (NDCs) in the five countries, including formulating a financial strategy and investment plan for Ukraine, stands as a testament to our commitment. These nations emerged as forerunners in assembling low-emissions development strategies, serving as valuable examples for other regions, particularly Central Asia, which now draws insights from their experiences”.

The project’s gap analyses and roadmaps were crucial in laying the foundation for carbon markets. Dedication to impactful change was evident in legal alignment efforts and the formulation of climate laws across various countries.

“Collaborative work extended to shaping Ukraine’s climate adaptation strategy, but as we acknowledge these achievements, we recognize the journey has just begun. Future efforts will focus on furthering adaptation work, emphasizing nature-based solutions, and preparing for the ambitious goal of covering 60% of emissions through carbon markets, representing a pivotal area for ongoing collaboration and progress”, as stated by Laura Altinger.

Raising Climate Ambitions in Eastern Partnership Countries” discussion featured the senior officials from the governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The meeting centred on evolving climate policies and the importance of international cooperation in implementation and investment.

Two aspects were given importance during the workshop with detailed information shared by government officials from the Eastern Partnership countries, experts and partner organisations.

Strategic planning for climate action

An overview of the second NDCs, Long-Term Strategies (LTS) and finance plans developed for the Eastern Partnership countries under EU4Climate was provided (NDCs of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova; LEDS Armenia, Georgia, Moldova; NAP of Ukraine). EU4Climate experience with developing NDCs and LTS, finance and implementation plans as instruments for implementing the national climate strategies were presented.

More details were shared about the National Adaptation Strategy of Ukraine, the Second NDC of Moldova, the Low Emissions Development Strategy of Georgia, the Updated NDC of Azerbaijan and recommendations for mainstreaming gender in the energy sector of Azerbaijan and Key elements of the draft LT-LEDS of Armenia.

Enhancing legal alignment and raising capacity

Detailed information on the implementation of elements of the EU climate acquis with the support of EU4Climate was presented, highlighting ongoing efforts to enhance legal alignment in the Eastern Partnership countries. The current status of legal alignment in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine was outlined, along with proposed further steps.

Recommendations for legal alignment were provided for Armenia and Azerbaijan. Special attention was paid to the Air Quality law and the draft Climate law of Armenia, as well as Moldova’s Law on Fluorinated Gases.

Meeting of the Steering Committee

During the latest Steering Committee meeting, the project’s progress report was presented for the final time, affirming that the activities outlined in EU4Climate are generally on track and executed within the agreed-upon timeframe set during the Tenth Steering Committee Meeting in June 2022.

Throughout 2023, three regional events addressing mainstreaming, NDCs and LEDS implementation, and adaptation were successfully organized, enhancing the climate policy capacities of Eastern Partnership governments.

Partners from the Energy Community Secretariat and the Environment Agency Austria showcased results achieved under existing partnership agreements. Communication and outreach activities with vivid examples at regional and country levels over the four-year duration.

The Steering Committee, following careful consideration of technical materials and discussions, endorsed the EU4Climate Annual Report and acknowledged the draft EU4Climate Final Report, covering the period from December 14, 2018, to December 31, 2023.

All presentations can be found here.

[1] Participation of Belarus in the EU4Climate was suspended as of 24.02.2022 until further notice.