A Consortium of 11 NGOs across the EU are proud to announce the official launch of “Unify: Bringing the EU together on Climate Action” project which aims to show the potential to increase climate ambition in three key policy processes: programming for the use of EU funding at the national level, National Energy and Climate Plans and national Long Term Strategies.
The project financed by the EU Life programme aims to assess progress made in 10 targeted Member States: Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain, and building on those assessments duplicate this exercise in most of the 27 EU Member States.
Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said: “The Unify project comes at a crucial moment as its policy focus and timing overlap with different components of the European Green Deal which will be unveiled in the next 3 years. Through this project, European NGOs aim to prove that the EU can substantially increase its 2030 climate target by using and expanding its already existing policies and funds.”
The Unify project aims to deliver the following activities until September 2022:
- Develop tools to assess final National Energy and Climate Plans (NECP) and their implementation;
- Inform the programming of EU funds to optimize implementation of National Energy and Climate Plans (NECP);
- Assess and monitor national Long Term Strategies, highlighting coherence with EU Long Term Strategy, National Energy and Climate Plans, and Paris Agreement commitments;
- Support municipalities to develop or improve Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans and strengthen links with NECPs.
Wojciech Szymalski, CEO, Institute for Sustainable Development in Poland said: “So far Poland has not been well fit into the European agenda of climate neutrality. Thanks to the UNIFY project we have an opportunity to change this and we are going to use it effectively. This is not only a matter of being ready in a political sense, but also to accept this goal as a society. As UNIFY is going to cooperate with Polish stakeholders across sectors, we hope that social change will be possible as well.”
Audrey Mathieu, Acting Team Leader for German & European Low-Carbon Policy at Germanwatch said: “Paris-compatible climate ambition, EU fundings for a proper climate protection, robust National Energy and Climate Plans (NECP): These three examples show how enormous the challenges are for a stringent implementation of the European Green Deal and how much more clear support among others from Member States and first of all from the German government is necessary. With the Unify Project the civil society across EU is ready to play its part.”
Francisco Ferreira, President of the Board, ZERO from Portugal said: “Monitoring the national energy and climate plan of Portugal, recommending suggestions for its improvement, and following the EU funds distribution and use for an effective application of this plan, is a fundamental mission to quickly and effectively achieve carbon neutrality in Portugal and in the EU.”
Neil Makaroff, EU Policy Officer for Réseau Action Climat France said : “By bundling forces of civil society organizations across Europe, the project UNIFY will be crucial for pushing our governments to take their share of the European Green Deal. Otherwise, it will remain a nice promise on paper if European countries like France continue to fail to implement ambitious national climate policies and curb emissions in all sectors. UNIFY can contribute to structural changes in Europe.”
Miljenka Kuhar, Senior Expert of Society for Sustainable Development Design from Croatia said: “UNIFY project is giving us the possibility to raise citizen voices advocating for more ambitious national energy and climate plans across the EU. It is giving us a chance to state that citizens need better EU climate policies: no matter which member state they are living in, they deserve just and fair transition towards a carbon-neutral society. In addition, the UNIFY project is giving us the opportunity to analyze the investment measures in the previous EU budget, and to influence the programming process for European Structural and Investment funds for the next 7 years and to create a better investment environment focused on more ambitious climate goals.”
Taj Zavodnik, Focus Association for Sustainable Development from Slovenia said: “In a country of two million, such as Slovenia, a small number of non-state actors can tip a balance between inaction and ambitious climate policy. In this context UNIFY project will have an important linking role by providing non-state actors knowledge, tools and good practices to jointly address climate challenges. The project will build on and further empower stakeholders to push our government to adopt and implement ambitious climate policies.”
David Howell, Climate and Energy Manager at SEO/BirdLife, said: “Spain, in the Mediterranean region extremely vulnerable to climate change, must react quickly and efficiently in the proposal and implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures. We hope that the preponderant role that the ecological transition occupies in the new Spanish Government will help to implement the new climatic regulations required at national level by the European Union to its Member States, such as the Energy and Climate Plans (NECP) and the Long Term Strategies, which should have been submitted to the Commission by the end of 2019. SEO/BirdLife, through the Life Unify project, is committed to monitoring the policies promoted in Spain, strengthening capacity building and establishing bridges of dialogue and consensus among all the stakeholders involved in the current climate challenge, which requires urgent responses and global solutions”.
Troels Dam Christensen, from the Danish 92 Group said: “It is nearly impossible to imagine the world can stay below the 1,5C target of the Paris Agreement without EU being a first mover. Simply put, we need the EU to do more. As EU ambition is a reflection of the appetite for climate action in the member states, the way to get EU to raise its ambition, is to get the member states to do more. This is what the Unify-project will do. We will monitor that national climate plans are followed and sharpened and that EU-funds are directed away from fossil uses and are used to speed up the green transition”
Goksen Sahin, Project Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 468 45 39 20
Notes to the Editor:
Project website: unify.caneurope.org
Czech Republic: Centre for Transport and Energy (CDE), Croatia: Society for Sustainable Development Design (DOOR), Denmark: Danish 92 Group, Estonia: Estonian Fund for Nature, France: Réseau Action Climat (RAC France), Germany: Germanwatch, Poland: Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD), Portugal: Association for the Sustainability of the Earth System (ZERO), Slovenia: Focus Association for Sustainable Development from Slovenia (FOCUS), Spain: SEO/Birdlife Spain
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is responsible for the project coordination and its replication in other EU Member States.
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 160 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 47 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.