COP22 - Commission side events

COP22 - Commission side events


The annual climate conference, known as the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is taking place in Marrakech, Morocco from 7 to 18 November.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) is in charge of organising three side events at the COP22 conference:



15/11 - Global Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa

Why are Local Authorities important for development work?

In the past two decades, the importance of Local Authorities (LAs) and Associations of Local Authorities (ALAs) in addressing the complexities of sustainable development and fighting poverty have been increasingly recognised, by both the EU and its partner countries. Indeed, as the public institutions closest to citizens, local authorities hold responsibility to execute a mandate to satisfy their constituencies’ needs, mainly through the provision of basic services. They have opportunities to mobilise their local communities, in most of the cases, while acting as catalysts for change.

Which role do Local Authorities play in regard to energy policies?

The Covenant of Mayors' success has demonstrated that energy policy is gaining political momentum also on the local level. The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa was launched at COP21 in Paris and supports the development of a regional covenant in Sub-Saharan Africa. Cities are invited to design and implement Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plans (SEACAPs). The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa's objective is to enhance the sustainable energy dimensions of development at both municipal and national levels, to facilitate universal access to sustainable and efficient energy services, take action against climate change and support transformation towards an inclusive green economy.

What is the side event about?

This side event at COP22 in Marrakesh will bring together African mayors as inspiring examples to lead the way for local governments in addressing the triple challenge of energy access, mitigation and adaptation. All participants are invited to join mayors, city networks and the European Commission to discuss commitments under the Covenant of Mayors. Cities selected in the recent Call for Proposals in support of the Covenant Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa will present their proposed actions implementing climate and energy objectives on their territory. The event marks an important step in the endeavour to develop a network of city-to-city cooperation.


15/11 - UN Women energy Gender

Why is the achievement of gender equality crucial for development work?

Gender equality is one of the core values of the European Union and written down in its legal and political framework. Nevertheless, gender discrimination is still rooted in many cultures and to overcome it has become a crucial objective in its own right. Therefore, the EU supports measures to tackle gender inequalities and strives to include gender issues in all aspects of development policy. Several reasons can be listed to explain why the protection of women’s rights is a necessity: For instance, strengthening women’s voice and participation at all levels of society have significant positive impacts. It can facilitate peace, reconstruction and state building processes. Furthermore, women’s empowerment is part of the economic progress and a driver of development that addresses poverty.

Which actions have been made concerning the advancement of gender equality?

Numerous projects and initiatives have been launched to tackle gender discrimination. For instance, a renewed “Action Plan on gender Equality for the EU external relations 2016-2020” was launched by the European Commission and the EEAS. The new framework for action (Building on achievements and lessons learned from the Gender Action Plan in Development 2010-2015). Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said that the new approach would be translated into real improvements in the livelihoods of women and girls in third countries.

The EU is also supporting a vast range of other actions for the benefit of women and young girls, with the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation as one of our core aims for the upcoming years. Furthermore, the EU will contribute to the Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage. The Programme aims to end child marriage in 12 countries in one generation and could save an estimat-ed 2.54 million adolescent girls from child marriage.

How can we relate gender to environmental issues and what is the side event about?

UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment, stressed the importance of a gender perspective when it comes to climate negotiations. In fact, since 2008, the United Nations have been identifying the relation between gender issues and climate as a central topic. Furthermore, gender equality, women’s empowerment and the fight against gender-based violence are crosscutting issues that affect equally the achievement of a sustainable human development. In fact, women are the first victims of gradual and long-term climate disruption. The scarcity of natural resources and environmental stress lead to increased conflict and forced displacement, particularly reaching women and impeding the realization of their rights. This event is a contribution to the analysis of the opportunities and challenges related to gender, women’s entrepreneurship, the environment and adaptation to climate change while highlighting innovative initiatives involving women in the adaptation and mitigation of climate change.


Past events

12/11 - EUROCLIMA+

The European Commission was invited to a side-event during COP22 on 12 November 2016 in order to present its new regional climate change cooperation for Latin America.  The programme, called EUROCLIMA+, received an initial budget allocation of €40 million in 2016, but this amount is foreseen to be increased by further €40 million allocations over the coming years.

Under EUROCLIMA+ the EU will provide support to Latin American countries in their efforts to adapt to and to mitigate climate change. A particular focus will be on provision of support to Governments in Latin America in their efforts to implement the Paris Agreement.

 The side-event was well attended by representatives of EU and Latin American Governments and civil society; UN organisations, private sector representatives, as well as academia. 


8/11 - Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) side event

Why is access to energy crucial in regard to sustainable development?

Energy is fundamental to sustainable development and eco­nomic growth across the world. Developing countries increas­ingly need to provide reliable and clean sources of energy to their populations in order to put in place basic services in areas such as health and education and to power their economic potential. With 1.3 billion people living without ac­cess to electricity and the basic benefits and opportunities it provides, and 2.6 billion people using wood charcoal and traditional biomass for cooking fuel, the challenges linked to energy remain immense.

Which initiatives and projects have been transacted to contribute to a better access to energy in African countries?

Numerous initiatives have been launched in African states to enable a better access to energy sources. One example is the EU’s Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), which was launched with the aim to assist partner countries in fine tun­ing their energy policies and regulatory frameworks to allow for increased investments in the energy sector. The Facility’s purpose is to deliver high level technical assis­tance at country and regional level through expert missions mobilised at short notice and to support committed countries in significantly scaling-up investments in the energy sector. In this direction, several contracts have been signed under this Facility, covering Central and Western Africa as well as Eastern and Southern Africa.

What is the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) about?

The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), a transformative, Africa-owned and Africa-led inclusive effort to accelerate and scale up the harnessing of the continent’s huge renewable energy potential, has been launched at the COP21 conference in Paris. It is firmly anchored in the context of sustainable development and climate change. It shows how low to zero carbon development strategies can be achieved in African countries through climate finance and means of implementation according to the principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The EU committed its support to the initiative. Donors committed to mobilize at least 10 billion USD cumulatively from 2015 to 2020. The EU has quantified at EUR 1.5 billion the grant allocations that will be dedicated to increasing renewable energy generation in Africa up to 2020 though the existing financial allocation and current financing instruments and procedures.

See all Commission Side Events


Useful links:

EU development cooperation and Local Authorities

EU development cooperation and Gender equality