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new-story-credits  UNEP ON THE GROUND
Green Economy landmark

UN Environment Head Erik Solheim has addressed leaders and stakeholders at an event which saw calls made for a new European initiative to boost the transition to Green Economy.


Slovakia, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), hosted the ‘Transition to Green Economy’ conference in Bratislava on 6-7 September.


There, success stories and experiences were shared among ministers, European Union officials and business and local government representatives. The Slovak Minister of the Environment László Sólymos also proposed that a ‘Bratislava process’ be designed to speed-up the Green Economy transition at ministerial level across Europe.


Some of the event’s main discussions was on the role and needs of research and innovation in order to accelerate the switch, as well as on finance and investments.


The transition “is not a fantasy of the future,” Mr Solheim told participants at the event, which was attended by people from 32 countries. Globally, more investments were made in solar and wind energy than in coal last year, he noted. Germany is now powering entire days with renewable energy, while many other examples exist inside and outside of Europe, he pointed out.


In the context of Brexit, the UN Environment Head stressed that if the EU had not been invented a long time ago, it would have needed to be – “we need the EU and your leadership on green issues,” he underlined.


Indeed, the Green Economy is “the only way for Europe to be a global growth engine,” affirmed the EU Energy Union Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič.


The bloc has furthermore agreed to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change as a bloc, putting the deal on the cusp of entering into force.


“The Green Economy is really taking off in different corners of the world,” stressed Mr Solheim. “Can we build momentum? I think you all know the answer.. yes we can!”


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