Globe

European Initiative
working in Wider Europe

Focus

Soil

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. One year later, 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 in Sharm Al-Sheikh of the need to accelerate the end of fossil fuel use to keep temperature rise below 1.5C.

In parallel, population migration/displacement - whether caused by armed conflict, lack of access to water, hunger/famine, poverty, and/or climate change - 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, especially NGOs, that are addressing the twin issues of climate change and population migration/displacement.

Neighbourhood

Soil

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.

Change

Flood

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 registered UK charity (No. 1096614) that 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.

Experience

Fire

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, achieve quality assurance of task delivery, and ensure transparent financial management of complex, donor-funded projects. European Initiative's work has included:

  1. developing evidence-based policy (and drafting legislation) for the development of agri-rural, environmental, and forestry sectors;
  2. converting marginal agriculture land to more profitable uses;
  3. addressing environmental and climate change adaptation/mitigation issues;
  4. promoting the agriculture knowledge information system (AKIS), e-agriculture, smart agriculture, and nature-based solutions;
  5. 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;
  6. undertaking public finance management and reform, as well as designing and delivering budget support programmes;
  7. restructuring, refinancing, refocusing, and revitalising NGOs;
  8. turning around unprofitable private companies.

Interventions

Solar

European Initiative implements evidence-based activities that are focused on sustainable climate change/environment and agri-rural development (to raise real incomes and slow down/reverse migration). 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.

Approach

Riding

European Initiative’s general approach is to:

  1. promote cooperation, dialogue, and information exchange between the public, private, university, NGO, media, and legal sectors;
  2. work with key stakeholders to develop and implement evidence-based strategy;
  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.

Engagement

Burkas

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.

Cases

Load

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 (www.cnvp-eu.org), a NGO working in the western Balkans on natural resource management and market system development (MSD), to create an informal triangular information exchange and cooperation network;
  2. assisting CNVP to prepare its post-COP26 climate change strategy and align it with the EU's Green Deal, including its forest and biodiversity strategies;
  3. signing a MOU with CNVP to cooperate on an informal basis to: implement projects, technical assistance, and research within the post-COP26 space; communicate findings from joint activities to key stakeholders; position both organsations better in the western Balkans and wider Europe; and improve communications with the European Commission, consultancy companies, and other stakeholders based in Brussels;
  4. helping to prepare technical proposals for donor-funded projects in Uzbekistan, ACP countries, North Macedonia, Albania, and Georgia;
  5. identifying possibilities for cross-border cooperation and networking in the western Balkans region;
  6. assessing investment opportunities in the offshore renewable energy sector in/around the Orkneys, Scotland and Blyth, Northumberland (covering wave, tidal, fixed and floating wind/solar, hydrogen, and robotics/artificial intelligence/automation).

Cooperation

Polar bear

European Initiative is seeking to cooperate informally with NGOs (and other important partners) to help them manage sustainable change in Wider Europe. In return, and where appropriate, European Initiative can:

  1. help them bid for projects funded by bilateral and multilateral donors in the post-Covid/post-COP26/post-Brexit development space;
  2. apply its extensive professional experience to assist them develop strategic direction, as well as build organisational capacity and staff expertise;
  3. use its strong links with Brussels, as well as in the UK, Scotland, France, and Portugal, to help them: 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. help them keep their central core funding intact;
  5. provide them with advice on green and blue investment opportunities and policy interventions related to natural resource management and renewable energy, both onshore and offshore.

Contact

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 (rossbull@widereurope.eu).

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