Participants at the EU-LAC Just Transitions Forum call to commit to advancing the green agenda and just digital transitions

On 15-16 May 2023, the EU-LAC Just Transitions Forum brought together 80 academics, scientists, experts and representatives of civil society organisations specialising in climate change, energy and digital transitions. The initiative was held with the support of the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), the Diputació Barcelona, the "la Caixa" Foundation and the Club of Rome at the CaixaForum Macaya Centre, Barcelona, Spain.

The event aimed to facilitate fruitful exchanges between governmental and civil society actors from the two regions. In this way, the EU-LAC Foundation sought to generate inputs for the upcoming EU-CELAC Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held in Brussels, Belgium on 17-18 July.

Leire Pajín, President of the EU-LAC Foundation, opened the forum by highlighting the importance of the joint leadership of the Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean regions in the transition towards more sustainable and fairer societies, with a commitment to a digital transition. Similarly, Eva del Hoyo Barbolla (Director General of Development Policies, Secretary of State for International Cooperation), Lluïsa Moret (First Vice-President and President of the Area of Equality and Social Sustainability of the Barcelona Provincial Council), Emma Clua (Head of the Human Development and Digital Alliance Sector of the European Commission) and Jaume Lanaspa Gatnau (President of the Barcelona Office of the Club of Rome) affirmed the importance of working and continuing to promote the international agenda on climate change adaptation and mitigation issues. In this context, the upcoming EU-CELAC Summit presents a great opportunity for collaboration between both regions on the topics of the forum.

Throughout the two days, participants shared valuable reflections on the current state of the bi-regional agenda, the needs and challenges of more digitised societies, and the relevance of these transitions for building more resilient, equitable, and just societies. The keynote speakers were Izabella Teixeira (Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel, former Minister of Environment of Brazil, Champion of the Earth 2013), Felix Fernandez-Shaw (Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, DG INTPA, European Commission), and Rodolfo Lacy (Director of Climate Action and Environment of the OECD for Latin America, former Vice-Minister of Environmental Policy and Planning of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico).
Different thematic groups provided space for productive discussions on the economic, social and environmental costs of climate change; social protection measures in the framework of the energy transition in the midst of the crisis; and the digital and learning and productivity gap in LAC and the EU. Participants also exchanged views on bi-regional cooperation focused on the financing of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in LAC, on technical transfer and financing of renewable and green energy projects, and on inclusive digital transformation.

There was a consensus among the participants that bi-regional cooperation should be adjusted to the structural differences of both regions, with different starting points for digitalisation and the transition to cleaner energy. Today, Latin America and the Caribbean are of great geopolitical relevance in terms of raw materials. In this context, the participants launched an appeal not to fall into extractivist and neo-extractivist models, but to rethink production, export and consumption patterns. They emphasised the importance of linking industrial policy alternatives that benefit both regions - both affected by the pandemic and the current war in Ukraine. Finally, they concluded that advancing digitalisation through an equitable and fair process focused on enhancing capacities in both regions can contribute to more resilient societies and build bridges between people and institutions.

EU-LAC Just Transitions