Helsinki Policy Forum’s Environment, Energy and Economy Working Group met in person for the first time on the 4th of October. Members came from foreign ministries, environment and energy ministries in Europe and the MENA region, as well as from multilateral organisations.
Two key questions were explored:
- How can MENA and European states cooperate more effectively to mitigate the effects of climate change?
- Where are there opportunities for states to work together to ensure a smooth and just transition to the green economy?
Working Group participants spoke of the ongoing effects of climate change experienced in their countries, from drought in some areas to flooding in others, and the paralysing effects of dust and sand storms. As threat multipliers, these exacerbate current crises and will lead to new ones.
Simultaneously, the energy crisis is pressing and leads to questions of how to combat climate change in the long run, versus the need to act immediately and meet energy needs in the short term.
Participants agreed on the clear need for multilateral cooperation between states to combat climate change, manage shared water resources, and better handle the energy crisis. Where there is shared analysis, cooperation and dialogue remain a critical means for arriving at a shared analysis; the Working Group provides a useful space for this.