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News – European Parliament
- 17.5 billion EUR to support people, the economy and the environment for 2021-2027
- Investments in fossil fuels will not receive funding
- Focus on least developed regions, outermost regions, islands
On Wednesday, EP and Council reached a provisional agreement on setting up the Just Transition Fund to mitigate the social impact of greening the economy.
The Just Transition Fund (JTF), worth 17.5 billion EUR, is one of the EU’s key tools to support regions in the transition towards climate neutrality by 2050.
During their talks, EU institutions agreed to broaden its scope to also fund micro-enterprises, universities and public research institutions, digital innovation and activities in the areas of education and social inclusion. Investments in renewable energy and energy storage technologies, investments in energy efficiency and heat production for renewables-based district heating, smart and sustainable local mobility will also be financed.
The decommissioning or construction of nuclear power stations, activities linked to tobacco products and investment related to the production, processing, transport, distribution, storage or combustion of fossil fuels cannot be funded through the JTF.
At the initiative of the Parliament, a “Green Rewarding Mechanism” will be introduced, if JTF resources are increased after 31 December 2024. The additional resources will be distributed among member states, with those that succeed in reducing greenhouse gas emitted by their industrial facilities receiving more funding.
Other key measures agreed
- In their territorial just transition plans, member states have to focus on supporting outermost regions and islands and earmark specific amounts from their national allocations;
- Businesses in difficulty may receive support in compliance with temporary EU state aid rules established to address exceptional circumstances;
- Resources may be transferred from other cohesion funds on a voluntary basis;
- The proportion of the investments to be provided by EU funding (co-financing) is set at maximum of 85% for less developed regions, 70% for transition regions and 50% for more developed regions.
Rapporteur Manolis Kefalogiannis (EPP, GR) said: “The European Parliament gave a strong political signal: the social, economic and environmental impact of the energy transition in the most affected regions must be addressed. We took a pragmatic approach that will allow us to move into a new green era without leaving anyone behind.”
Parliament and Council are now expected to endorse the content of the agreement.
The Commission published in January 2020 a legislative proposal on the Just Transition Fund (JTF), the first legislative proposal implementing the priorities set out in the European Green Deal, followed in May by an amended proposal containing an increase of the Fund’s resources. In July, the European Council set the financial envelope of the JTF at EUR 7.5 billion from the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework, supplemented by EUR 10 billion from the EU Recovery Instrument.
- 8 billion EUR earmarked for European territorial cooperation
- More resources to climate and social issues
- Increased support for small projects
On Wednesday, EU institutions reached a provisional agreement on European territorial cooperation and the financing of cross-border projects for 2021-2027.
The total resources available for cross-border cooperation for the period 2021-2027, through the EU Interreg instrument, are set at 8 billion EUR (8 050 000 000 in 2018 prices).
Interreg will support the following types of actions (referred to as “strands”):
- cross-border cooperation between adjacent regions to promote integrated and harmonious regional development between neighbouring land and maritime border regions (Interreg A; 72,2% of total resources);
- transnational cooperation over larger transnational territories or around sea-basins (Interreg B; 18,2%);
- interregional cooperation to reinforce the effectiveness of cohesion policy (Interreg C; 6,1%);
- outermost regions’ cooperation to facilitate their integration and harmonious development in their region (Interreg D; 3,5%).
The co-financing rate at each Interreg programme level is set at a maximum of 80% of the funds to be provided by the EU, with up to 85% for outermost regions.
Other key measures agreed
- More resources are expected to be spent on climate action and social programmes, including public health;
- Increased support for small projects and people-to-people projects: up to 20% within an Interreg programme may be allocated to small project funds;
- Pre-financing levels (funds made available to member states following the approval of the Interreg programmes) are set at 1% for the years 2021 and 2022, and at 3% for the years 2023 to 2026, resulting in more liquidity for programmes.
Rapporteur Pascal Arimont (EPP, BE) said: “Interreg is an important symbol for cooperation between neighbours. It significantly helps remove border obstacles – above all, those in people’s minds.”
“As a result of these negotiations, we enable regions to cooperate more easily – i.e. through simplified rules and procedures. In particular, small and people-to-people projects will be supported more strongly than ever.”
“We are also addressing the challenges of our time: regions have to invest in projects that tackle climate change or strengthen our health systems. As a consequence, together with the increased opportunities offered by REACT-EU, there will be many new possibilities for our regions to invest in sustainable and socially valuable cross-border projects in the future.”
Parliament and Council are now expected to endorse the content of the agreement.
The regulation lays down the specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF+) and the Cohesion Fund for the 2021-2027 programming period.
Under the future Common Provisions Regulation, five policy objectives are identified: (1) a more competitive and smarter Europe; (2) a greener, low-carbon transitioning towards a net zero carbon economy and resilient Europe; (3) a more connected Europe; (4) a more social and inclusive Europe; (5) a Europe closer to its citizens.
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As World Cities Day is celebrated around the globe on 31 October, ICLEI, through its Cities Biodiversity Center and the CitiesWithNature initiative, pledge support for the Global Coalition for Biodiversity, launched by the European Commission to raise awareness about the need to protect biodiversity and promote stronger collaborative action.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, a flagship report published recently by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), underlines that humanity stands at a crossroads with regard to the legacy we wish to leave to future generations. This confirmed the most updated scientific analyses about the state of nature, in particular the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services. While there have been countless positive actions and achievements across the world to protect and integrate nature, the current rate of biodiversity loss is unprecedented and pressures are intensifying.
The Global Coalition for Biodiversity, launched by EU Commissioner for Environment Virginijus Sinkevicius, on World Wildlife Day, offers the opportunity for all national parks, aquariums, research centers, botanic gardens, zoos, and science and natural history museums to join forces and boost public awareness about the nature crisis, ahead of the crucial COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity next year, when nations will adopt a new global framework to protect and restore nature.
The coalition’s pledge also urges all governments to agree on ambitious policies to restore and protect the ecosystems on which we all depend, and to take urgent measures on the ground.
“Biodiversity is being lost at a faster rate than ever, significantly reducing nature’s ability to ensure the well-being of people. It is time to rethink the relationship between humans and nature,” said Valerie Plante, Mayor of Montreal and ICLEI’s Global Ambassador for Local Biodiversity. “It is within our cities and towns where multiple opportunities exist to raise awareness about the need to protect and respect nature, harness innovation, implement nature-based solutions and embrace a green recovery. Together, let’s take strong action to create vibrant cities, where people and biodiversity can thrive.”
“Given the urgency for joint efforts to solve the current biodiversity crisis, on the occasion of the World Cities Day, we encourage local and regional governments from Europe and beyond to support the Global Coalition for Biodiversity launched by the European Commission. Only by working together with other organisations and institutions and by raising awareness about the need to protect biodiversity, can we reverse the current unprecedented biodiversity losses,” said Cheryl Jones Fur, Deputy Lord Mayor of Växjö (Sweden) and member of ICLEI’s European Regional Executive Committee.
A short animated video launched by ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Center today raises awareness around why cities and regions are critical to addressing biodiversity loss and reconnecting people with nature. It also clearly outlines what cities can do to contribute to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and set a new nature-positive development path, in order to ensure transformative change to secure a sustainable and healthy future for all.
One of the ways mobilisation of local and subnational governments is being facilitated is through CitiesWithNature, a local and subnational engagement platform co-founded by ICLEI, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). CitiesWithNature is a shared online platform for all cities, regions and other subnational governments to connect and engage in mainstreaming biodiversity in ways that benefit both people and nature. It serves as the ‘one stop shop’ for all levels of subnational governments to share and report on their actions in contributing to achieving the global biodiversity agenda. CitiesWithNature is recognised by the Secretariat of the CBD as the mechanism through which local and subnational governments will share their ambitions, commitments and actions, and will in turn connect, share, learn and inspire each other.
With our announcement today, we add our voice to numerous organisations and associations already supporting the coalition, such as TRAFFIC, The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. More than 150 institutions are also confirmed, including the iconic Oceanographic Institute of Monaco, Bronx Zoo and Porto Natural History Museum. The coalition aims at gathering 500 by the end of 2020. We need to join forces for nature and stand united for biodiversity, and the time is now!
The animated video was made possible through support from the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU Support project.
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