(5 March 2018) – In a policy statement on climate diplomacy the Council of the EU has for the first time acknowledged the role of local communities in dealing with climate change. The Council’s conclusions issued on 26 February state that the EU “stresses the role to be played by local communities in tackling the range of challenges associated with climate change”.
“The Council’s recognition of local communities’ role in dealing with one of the greatest challenges of our time is an important breakthrough,” said Eamon O’Hara, ECOLISE executive director. “ECOLISE and our member organisations have been collectively advocating for political recognition of the vital role played by local communities in creating a low-carbon society.”
“This reference to local communities is good news both for Europe and the rest of the world. It means that all related EU policies should now consider the role of local communities, and EU negotiators also have a green light to promote the role of local communities in the UN climate negotiations,” he said.
Other themes mentioned in the Council conclusions include the reiteration of a 2016 EU commitment to human rights in the context of climate change and climate diplomacy, and the recognition that gender equality is vital to achieving climate justice, especially when it comes to vulnerable communities already dealing with and adapting to climate impacts.
In addition the document states that the Council “looks forward to the engagement of civil society, businesses and local administrations at the upcoming Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September 2018.”