Opportunities for the bi-regional strategic partnership in shaping a greener recovery

The EU-LAC Foundation is pleased to present the publication “Opportunities for the bi-regional strategic partnership in shaping a greener recovery” that gathers the three winning essays of the II EU-LAC Essay Contest on the Bi-regional Partnership.

The contest was convened with the objective of identifying the challenges caused by the need to rebuild from the damage caused by the Pandemic, as well as the opportunities and priorities in the bi-regional partnership in terms of environmental sustainability.

The theme selected for the second edition of the competition responds to common priorities identified by high authorities of both regions. In December 2020, at the EU27-LAC Informal Ministerial Meeting, Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean countries recognised that “economic recovery from the socio-economic damage caused by the pandemic cannot be sustainable without addressing the global challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss and moving towards the circular economy”. In addition, the Ministers highlighted their mutual interest in seeking ambitious outcomes at the COP26 to be held in November 2021 in Glasgow.

Senior officials from both regions have frequently stressed the importance of taking action to enable climate-resilient low-carbon development. This means that economic recovery must promote sustainable development, aim for carbon neutrality in the second half of this century and meet international commitments.

There are several opportunities for countries in the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean to incorporate climate-friendly initiatives into their economic recovery plans, with the aim of building a more sustainable and resilient future. And this resonates with public opinion: recent studies show that 71% (seventy-one percent) of the global public believe that climate change is as serious a long-term problem as COVID-19 and support a greener economic recovery (Ipsos Global Advisor, 2020).

Notable among these opportunities is the European Green Deal, a package of legislative measures aimed at achieving the EU’s net-zero carbon emissions targets by 2050. Latin American and Caribbean countries have also made substantial progress in meeting the challenges of tackling climate change. Through specific climate change legislation, these countries are developing low-emission strategies and policies.

It is clear, however, that the objectives of these efforts cannot be achieved if countries act alone. The bi-regional partnership is key to successfully overcoming this pandemic and sustainably meeting the challenge of climate change.

The three prize-winning essays point in this direction. Using the case of lithium in Argentina, Melisa Escosteguy and Walter Fernando Díaz Paz identify possible points and instruments of cooperation in the environmental, social, political, and economic dimensions. In the second essay, Iosu Iribarren López and Fernando de la Cruz Prego outline the possible commercial, political and cooperation implications for the bi-regional association within the new carbon emissions border adjustment mechanism of the EU. Finally, in the third essay, Augusto Heras, analyses the EU-LAC strategic partnership and suggests some paths of cooperation for a green recovery.

The EU-LAC Foundation would like to thank Alonso Brenes, Consultant at the World Bank and Guy Edwards, Senior Consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank for being part of the outstanding international jury committee that evaluated the three winning essays of this second contest.