Just energy transition and youth inclusion: priority topics for the EU's agenda at the LAC Climate Week 2023

Tripling the global rate of renewable energy (mainly solar, wind and to a lesser extent hydro) and doubling energy efficiency by 2030

are two of the objectives proposed by the European Union's President von der Leyen to achieve a commitment at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in support of a green and just energy transition.

Just energy transition has been one of the main issues addressed during the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2023, an international event convened by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 23 to 27 October in Panama City. The Climate Week, organised by the Government of Panama, brought together key actors from the regions to make climate action visible, encourage greater ambition and provide regional momentum to achieve far-reaching results at COP28.

The European Union has been present in conversations and dialogue with its partners during this Climate Week. United by historical and cultural ties, the EU and LAC share deep economic and social ties, and both share a joint commitment to the fight against climate change and the protection of biodiversity. The Ambassador of the European Union in Panama, Ms. Izabela Matusz participated in the Climate Week presenting the renewed EU-LAC partnership, the new Global Gateway strategy for the region and how through the identification of green and fair investment opportunities it seeks to promote a just energy transition that contributes to improve energy security and existing inequalities.

This green investment agenda seeks to address the region's infrastructure needs, creating local added value and promoting growth, employment, and social cohesion, together with the region's stakeholders. It is therefore a political commitment to work together, identifying fair, green, and digital investment opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean, which will benefit from the open environment generated by trade and investment agreements and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The good news is that the region's incredible renewable energy potential translates into numerous sustainable energy investment opportunities ranging from renewable energy generation, transmission, distribution, energy efficiency, energy access and, most recently, in renewable hydrogen. For this, we need to create a more enabling environment for industry to invest in LAC. This is at the heart of our Global Gateway strategy.

Another central theme for the EU is to engage and connect young people with full participation in democratic life, especially on key issues such as climate change and advancing strategies to achieve the global goals of the Paris Agreement.

During the Climate Week we have also actively participated in the dialogues on this topic. From the Euroclima programme and the European Union in its Youth Action Plan (such as the Caribbean with the University of the West Indies), the importance of providing a policy framework that establishes strategic partnerships with youth in the field of the EU's external action is recognised, as required by the 2020 Council Conclusions. This Action Plan promotes meaningful participation and empowerment from early years to adulthood by taking into account the voice of all young people and recognising the relevance of their participation in the future towards green jobs and just transition.

For this, the clearest manifestation to advance in supporting youth in the Region is the design and implementation of the National Climate Empowerment Strategies through the Climate Empowerment Action line of the programme in response to art. 12 of the Paris Agreement and art.6 of the UNFCCC, an approach that we are currently working on in countries such as Chile, Uruguay, Panama, Colombia, Argentina and Costa Rica.

We hope that these dialogues will allow us to continue advancing in the triple challenge we face today and will be the seed of a broad commitment from both regions to the fulfilment of our objectives and the achievement of a truly sustainable development.

More information:

Ulrica Nagle | Community engagement expert

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Euroclima is the European Union's flagship programme on environmental sustainability and climate change with Latin America. It aims to reduce the impact of climate change and its effects in Latin America by promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation through resilience and investment. 
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