European Initiative
working in Wider Europe



Society’s main existential threat is climate change. Glasgow’s COP26 in November 2021 delivered important commitments to meet targets for 2050 set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. In 2022 in Sharm Al-Sheikh, the outcomes of COP27 included: an historic loss and damage fund for responding to escalating climate impacts and renewable energy requirements; and calls to reform international finance institutions to unlock more finance and fiscal space for climate action. That said, it remains critical to act NOW, particularly as there was little assurance to accelerate the end of fossil fuel use to keep temperature rise below 1.5C.

In parallel, population migration/displacement - whether caused by climate change, lack of access to land/water, hunger/famine, poverty, and/or armed conflict - needs to be reduced (and reversed, where possible). To achieve this, real incomes must be increased on a sustainable basis, particularly in rural areas.

This website is aimed at public, private, and civil society sector stakeholders that are addressing the twin issues of climate change and population migration/displacement.



As climate change neither recognises nor stops at borders, evidence-based interventions must be developed not only at national and global levels, but also regionally. This applies to Wider Europe which includes the western Balkans, Turkey, the Middle East & North Africa (MENA), and EU Neighbours East.

Countries in this space are generally less wealthy than those in the EU (as reflected in the concentration of light in the website's header image). The failure of eastern leaders to distribute fairly the benefits of their domestic natural resource endowments has forced many rural people, particularly young men, to migrate west in search of higher incomes. This has caused local labour shortages and reduced population densities. Domestic resistance to inward migration (from non-European regions) is likely to frustrate attempts to fill local manpower gaps.



The various stakeholders that are addressing climate change and migration issues will need support to implement agreed interventions. This will particularly be the case once the US$100 billion per year goal set by developed countries for undertaking climate action in developing countries has been reached and distributed at community level.

Such support can be provided by European Initiative, a not-for-profit organisation and registered UK charity (No. 1096614). This helps to design, implement, and monitor policy and programme/project interventions at international, national, regional, and cross-border levels, including community-led local development (CLLD). Such interventions are intended to improve the livelihoods of those who face significant financial and/or climate change-related pressures.

As a facilitator of change, European Initiative works with state and non-state actors to: address agri-rural-eco-environmental development issues; identify relevant theories of change; help countries mitigate, adapt to, and manage the effects of climate change; and encourage greater cooperation between those living in the EU and the European neighbourhood space.



European Initiative has significant global experience at senior level of assembling and managing project teams of international and local personnel. These develop interactions and cooperation between key stakeholders (including government and bilateral/multilateral donors). They aim to maximise policy impact, contribute to achieving the UN's 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), achieve quality assurance of task delivery, and ensure transparent financial management of complex, donor-funded projects. European Initiative's work has included:

  1. producing evidence-based policy (and drafting legislation) for the development of agri-rural, environmental, and forestry sectors, including carbon markets;
  2. converting marginal agriculture land to more profitable uses;
  3. improving sustainable land use/natural resource management, including wetland conservation;
  4. addressing environmental and climate change adaptation/mitigation issues, including the use of nature-based solutions (adaptation, enhancement, inspiration);
  5. promoting the agriculture knowledge information system (AKIS), e-agriculture, and smart agriculture;
  6. using market system development (MSD) to diversify rural employment opportunities and slow down/reverse migration from rural areas, as well as empower women and youth;
  7. undertaking public finance management and reform, as well as designing and delivering budget support programmes;
  8. restructuring, refinancing, refocusing, and revitalising not-for-profit organisations and NGOs;
  9. turning around unprofitable private companies.



European Initiative implements evidence-based activities that are focused on sustainable climate change/environment and agri-rural development. Generally donor-funded, such interventions involve the design and delivery of targeted technical assistance, training, and capacity building. They are fully aligned with, and complementary to, government strategies and the SDGs.



European Initiative’s general approach is to:

  1. promote cooperation, dialogue, and information exchange between the public, private, university, not-for-profit/NGO, media, and legal sectors;
  2. work with key stakeholders to develop and implement evidence-based strategy and policy;
  3. assist development actors to improve their management of operational change;
  4. establish baseline data to measure change due to new interventions;
  5. facilitate international exchange visits to observe best/latest practices, encourage comparative analysis, achieve economies of scale/synergies, and increase cross-border cooperation;
  6. monitor ongoing project implementation/financing, identify new project and funding possibilities, and propose policy interventions to governments.



As the EU is a key player in the future development of Wider Europe, it is important to be aware of current strategic thinking in Brussels, particularly that concerned with climate change, environment, decarbonisation, renewable energy, agri-rural development, and migration.

Countries in the wider European neighbourhood space wishing to negotiate closer links with the EU, through either direct membership or preferential trade/non-trade arrangements, must be able to demonstrate rapid alignment with European values, directives, and regulations, and show clear roadmaps for dealing with climate change and migration.



Examples of recent activities undertaken by European Initiative include:

  1. linking private rewilding initiatives in the west of Scotland and north-east Portugal with CNVP (, a NGO working on natural resource management and climate mitigation/adaptation in the western Balkans, to create an informal triangular cooperation and information exchange network;
  2. cooperating with CNVP on: implementing projects, technical assistance, and research; preparing a climate change strategy and aligning it with the EU's Green Deal, as well as its forest and biodiversity strategies; improving communications with the European Commission, consultancy companies, and other stakeholders based in Brussels; reporting findings from joint activities to key stakeholders; and positioning better both organisations in the western Balkans and wider Europe;
  3. helping prepare technical proposals for donor-funded projects in Uzbekistan, ACP countries, North Macedonia, Albania, and Georgia;
  4. identifying possibilities for cross-border cooperation and networking in the western Balkans region;
  5. assessing investment opportunities in the UK's forestry and onshore/offshore renewable energy sectors (covering afforestation, reafforestation, peatland and seagrass restoration, carbon credits, fixed/floating wind and solar energy, wave and tidal energy, hydrogen production/distribution, and robotics/artificial intelligence/automation);
  6. undertaking due diligence to create two new private forests in Scotland, with one to be planted in 2025-35 and used as the pilot for a larger scheme provisionally scheduled for 2035-45.


Polar bear

European Initiative cooperates with development partners in Wider Europe to manage sustainable change. In return, European Initiative can:

  1. help them to bid for projects funded by bilateral and multilateral donors;
  2. apply its extensive professional experience to assist them to develop strategic direction, as well as to build organisational capacity and staff expertise;
  3. assist them to: undertake study visits; benefit from distance learning; identify new contacts, networks, organisations, and development partners; cooperate remotely in research projects/activities; and participate in European project consortia;
  4. provide them with advice on green and blue ecosystem development opportunities, potential investments, and policy interventions related to natural resource management, carbon markets, climate change, land use, forestry, and onshore/offshore renewable energy.


Power plant

If your organisation would like further information about European Initiative and/or to discuss possible cooperation within (and beyond!) Wider Europe, please contact Ross Bull (

Ross Bull's CVs (international and UK) are available on request.

European Initiative operates from London, Edinburgh, Montpellier, Lisbon, and Belgrade.