European Union-Latin America Regional Seminar
Tela, Honduras. Around 60 representatives from various Latin American countries met in Tela, Honduras to share the main results of actions on climate change and water resource management, developed in a framework for regional cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Latin America through the EUROCLIMA program and the RALCEA project.
The Second EUROCLIMA Coordination Workshop and the Second Annual Regional RALCEA Seminar were planned jointly because, according to EUROCLIMA program manager Catherine Ghyoot of the General Directorate for Development and Cooperation-EuropeAid, by holding both events at the same site, synergies between programs and their actions can be exploited and more information is shared with all participants.
“The global challenges of climate change require coordinated shared responses,” said Ghyoot. “Therefore, we need to know what we are doing and how we are doing it to from a true platform that encourages knowledge exchange and achieves an impact on policy decision making,” she added.
During the inauguration of the event it was pointed out that the EU aims to maintain a leadership role in development cooperation as well as in the global politics of climate change, and in particular it will contribute to long-term progress in political dialogue on this issue.
In this regard, Peter Versteeg, Charge d’Affaires of the European Union Delegation in Honduras stressed that Latin America and the EU are natural allies united by a commitment to global stability, but the future of cooperation will not only depend on the results of the projects being funded, it will also depend on commitments to monitoring and the continuity that the governments give these initiatives.
Precisely because of this, it is anticipated that starting in 2014, support from the EU to bilateral programs will only benefit the most disadvantaged Latin American countries. However, all the Latin America countries will continue to benefit from the support of regional programs.
“We need to continue with the support we are being given through EUROCLIMA because in these events we are shortening distances and we know how each country is facing the issue of climate change, how the offices work and how they intend to have an influence on public policy,” said JoséLuis Maccarone, Coordinator, International Affairs Unit of Argentina’s Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development. “This opportunity to interact is unique, and hopefully this regional program will help us to further strengthen these processes and effectively create a platform for exchange,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, Jan Karremans, EUROCLIMA Technical Assistance Director, presented a summary of the program’s main developments, most notably the production of six thematic studies that compile existing information for a meta-analysis of the current status in each field.
Among other themes, the studies focus on the impacts of climate change on coastal infrastructure, planning and monitoring indicators for adaptation initiatives, an inventory of watershed-level adaptation measures and a guide to reducing soil degradation by climate change. “The studies grew out of the concrete needs of the Focal Points and now the goal is that these results can strengthen what is already happening nationally,” said Karremans.
At the same time, RALCEA coordinator César Carmona emphasized the active participation that has been achieved with the participants of the Network and the selection of the centers for excellence. “We have made a lot of progress on an operational proposal for the Network and we already have different proposals for defining the activities we are working on, such as regional water balance, stakeholder mapping, indicators of water quality and sanitation, among others,” Carmona concluded.
As part of the planned activities in Honduras, the First Latin American and Caribbean Dialogue on Financing for Climate Change and Development Effectiveness is being held May 3 and 4. The Dialogue is being coordinated by the Ministry of Planning and Foreign Cooperation (SEPLAN) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (SERNA) in Honduras, an event that EUROCLIMA is also supporting.
EUROCLIMA is a regional program for development cooperation of the European Commission and Latin America, focused on improving the knowledge of decision makers and the scientific community about the problems and consequences of climate change, with a view to their integration within the sustainable development strategies of countries in the region.
RALCEA is the Latin American Network of Knowledge Centres in the Water Sector whose main objective is to promote public policies based on scientific and technical knowledge by encouraging the development of skills in the water sector through the establishment of a network of centers for excellence.