A wide-ranging new partnership aimed at furthering sustainable development in the 21st century was announced today by the European Union's (EU) Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik and UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
It builds on an existing partnership signed in 2004 which over the past three years has provided UNEP and the Multilateral Environmental Agreements - including those covering chemicals to biodiversity and for which UNEP provides the secretariat-over 50 million Euros for implementing close to 60 projects world-wide under the EU's specific fund for the environment.
Today's new cooperative statement, outlining a strategic partnership covering European Union funding from the European Commission (EC) to UNEP up to 2013, identifies key areas of joint activities including under the European Union's 'Thematic Programme for Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources including Energy'.
It also reflects the EU 2020 strategy on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth that dovetails with UNEP's work on the Green Economy, the International Panel on Sustainable Resource Management and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), of which the EU is a long standing supporter.
Mau Forest - Support for a Green Economy in Kenya
As part of this cooperation, a multi-million Euro project to assist in the restoration of the north western part of the Mau forest complex in Kenya was also announced by the EU, UNEP and the Government of Kenya.
The project, supporting the strategy of the Government of Kenya to rehabilitate one of Sub-Saharan Africa's largest closed canopy forests, will contribute to maintaining nature-based assets worth an estimated US$1.5 billion a year to the Kenyan economy.
The project, details of which were unveiled during the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, will secure services generated by the flows of the Yala and Nyando rivers.
These rivers, which feed Lake Victoria and are important for drinking water, also support 5,000 hectares of rice production important for local food security and the Kenyan economy.
Mr. Potočnik said today: 'The EU and UNEP share many common priorities - from climate change and sustainable energy to environment and development. Sustainable management of natural resources, sustainable consumption and production and the Green Economy are among those key priorities'.