Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time

Climate change is a global challenge that requires a collaborative response. With the recently concluded Paris Agreement there is an increasing demand for international cooperation to drive the necessary transformation to more resilient, low carbon economy. Strategies and projects in this area will need to consider how to address mitigation (reduction of greenhouse gas emissions) and adaptation to climate change (building resilience to climate impacts), also in line with the disaster risk reduction practices. Implementing credible climate policies and action will require large scale decarbonisation of the economy in the coming however, the transformation will bring opportunities for economic growth and green jobs and contribute to improvement of air quality and citizens' health. The EU has been implementing ambitious climate policy for decades and is in a good position to share its knowledge at expert level. Opportunities for cooperation should be taken up to the extent possible.

Institutional aspects such as inter-institutional cooperation and capacity building for climate action and energy reforms and sustainable development with a view of developing national policies and plans can be further promoted in a regional context, particularly through activities that bring policymakers from different countries to share experiences and knowledge. Awareness-raising is also another important aspect that requires further promotion in a regional context.

Since 2014, the beneficiaries have mobilised significant resources and a wide spectrum of stakeholders to develop and adopt their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). The EU provided support for the preparation of several country specific INDCs. Delivering these commitments will require factoring climate and sustainable energy considerations in the IPA countries' national plans and strategies and revisiting policy approaches in all sectors of the economy energy, transport, agriculture, environment and other areas. For beneficiaries to implement their climate commitments, they will need sufficient administrative, institutional and financial capacity to carry out required reforms in the relevant sectors.

In order to fully align with EU climate policy and acquis, beneficiaries need to continue working towards greenhouse gases emissions reduction targets consistent with the EU 2030 framework for climate and energy policies and the outcomes of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. In addition, efforts to promote convergence with EU climate legislation will need to continue and be stepped up. This particularly refers to the legislation on the EU Emission Trading System (ETS) a cornerstone of the European Union's policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively, as well as the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (MMR). The MMR is one of the key climate pieces of legislation, which promote transparency, accountability and compliance in reporting on greenhouse gases (GHG) reductions as per EU legislation and the international obligations under the UNFCCC and requires that fully functional national inventory systems for greenhouse gases monitoring and reporting are in place.

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