A think-to-do tank

January 9, 2012

Statement from the Executive Director of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europeon the occasion of COP17/CMP7, Durban, South Africa

Madam President, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

SHARED VISION: REC Executive Director Marta Szigeti Bonifert addresses delegates in Durban. Photos: REC archive
Present in Europe for over 21 years, the Regional Environmental Center serves an area characterised by diverse economic, sociocultural and environmental conditions.With its shared history and rich but vulnerable environmental resources, this region models almost all the global challenges of climate change.

The Regional Environmental Center's experience over the years has demonstrated that long-term, cooperative environmental action in diverse regions can only be successful if based on mutual trust and understanding, a shared vision and benefits for all stakeholders.

Our international organisation:

  • is active in education and capacity building;
  • provides secretariat support, for example to the Environment and Security Initiative;
  • acts as Regional Focal Point for Article 6 of the UNFCCC;
  • helps to promote low-carbon economies by identifying mitigation options in the agriculture and waste sectors and by improving energy efficiency in the building sector; and
  • contributes to the integration of climate change concerns in sectoral policies, supporting tools for adaptation in the areas of agriculture, biodiversity, health and water.

We work in partnership with international UN and non-UN organisations; national, sub-national and local governments; financial institutions; businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises; academia; and civil society.

We facilitate the up-scaling of projects towards a green economy and interaction with financing mechanisms to promote guarantee and revolving funds for energy efficiency investments in the building and transport sectors.

We are especially keen to promote public-private partnerships for climate-resilient communities. At present, we are focusing on transferring our 21 years of lessons learned to other regions, for example through the Asia-Europe Foundation and the Europe-China Clean Energy Centre.

In order to reach a feasible deal we need to involve all stakeholders, getting them to do what they know best. In this context, I would ask you to acknowledge the role played by intergovernmental organisations in providing expertise and creating platforms for the implementation of a future climate agreement in our regions.

Chairs_DurbanThe Regional Environmental Center, as a "think to do" tank, is ready to drive the process forward at local and regional level. Although we are neither a party to the negotiations nor an advocacy group, we are a mission-driven organisation, taking action on the ground from global to local and catalysing much-needed capacities.

Thank you South Africa and Durban!