Europe needs to lead on Global Green Deal – Foundations Have a Crucial Role to Play10. June 2021.
“If you will be able to transmit this sentiment that it is good to take a step back not for yourselves, but for our children, we will be able to move mountains”.
The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges of our time and requires urgent action. There is only one decade left to act. “We cannot do this without civil society”, said Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans who is in charge of the European Green Deal at the panel discussion organised by F20 at the annual conference of the German Association of Foundations. And further: “The way in which foundations can operate in our societies is the reflection on the quality of democracy in Europe,” showing his willingness to engage in a dialogue for a better operating environment for philanthropy and civil society.
The European year for climate action
The European year is of great importance for climate action. The UK and Italy, who are hosting the G7, G20 and COP26, committed to putting climate change and the reversal of biodiversity loss at the heart of the multilateral agenda in 2021. This is a unique opportunity to lead the international community towards climate neutrality. Making Europe sustainable and climate-neutral by 2050 is the ambitious goal of the European Green Deal.
“European responsibility to address the climate crisis is also our responsibility as foundations, and the ambitious implementation of the European Green Deal should be of concern to all of us in the civil society. Otherwise, there will be no Global Green Deal”, said F20 Chair Klaus Milke opening the conversation on the role of foundations and civil society in addressing the deterioration of our climate.
F20 has brought together a panel of global thought leaders to exchange ideas on how to drive collaboration between policymakers and philanthropy towards climate neutrality and just transition: Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Klaus Milke, Chair of F20, Sandra Breka, Member of the Board of Management of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Carola Carazzone, Secretary General of Assifero and Chair of Dafne – Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe, Sylke Freudenthal, Managing Director of the Veolia Foundation, Giles Ruck, Chief Executive of the Foundation Scotland, and Vidyah Shah, Executive Chairperson of the EdelGive Foundation.
“This is a time when we need to get civil society fully on board for a fundamental change in the way we live. We have given ourselves as European Union thirty years to learn to live within planetary boundaries”, said Frans Timmermans appealed to the European and global philanthropy community. “In this fundamental transformational change, civil society is going to play a crucial role. Not making that change is going to be not just financially far more costly, it’s going to lead to disruption that humanity will have a huge problem dealing with.”
In the last week, a ground-breaking partnership was announced between the European Commission and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, founded by Bill Gates with the aim of raising $1 billion to boost investments in critical climate technologies. This will see private and philanthropic funding matched by EU funding within the framework of InvestEU. This is an important example of the bold collaboration that we need to find the solutions to the global crisis that we are facing and to facilitate a just transition, and hopefully only the beginning of private-public partnerships with the aim to increase collective impact.
by Dr. Hanna Stähle
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