Basque Government highlights the importance of regions in international climate processes at the Under2 Coalition European Ministerial Meeting in Brussels


The Basque Government took part this morning in the European Ministerial Meeting of the Under2 Coalition, the main global network of states and regions committed to climate. Regional ministers of European governments gathered together at the forum in Brussels to highlight the role of the regions in international, European and national climate processes. Amaia Barredo, Deputy Minister for Environmental Sustainability, and Adolfo Uriarte, Director of Natural Heritage and Climate Change, took part in the meeting.

The meeting, held just before Spain assumes the Presidency of the Council of the EU and six months before the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai at the end of November, has been a unique opportunity for European regions to come together to demonstrate their collective power and to reflect on the regional status and commitment in the national, European and international climate processes.

In addition to the Basque Country, the regions of Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Scotland, Västra Götaland, Wales, North Holland and Turingia, along with Catalonia, Navarra and Andalusia, took part in the meeting. Raúl Fuentes Milani, Spain's Permanent Representative to the EU, also attended and presented the work programme on climate change for the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU adopted in June 2023. With this programme, Spain will be in charge of setting the legislative agenda and of driving the priorities in the coming six months.

Regions are showing that they are crucial for the global goals for climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development to be achieved; in fact, up to 75% of the climate change mitigation measures and 90% of the adaptation measures are implemented at subnational level. 

“The voice of the regions must be heard and taken into account at the main international summits. Highlighting the diversity, leadership and potential of regional governments to deal with the climate crisis is crucial. Therefore, networks such as Under2 Coalition are so necessary. Otherwise, how can such diverse and even so geographically distant regions generate meeting points? How can they learn from each other? How can the transfer of knowledge and good practices be facilitated, and impetus given to shared projects between regions, if we are not working in a network?" pointed out Amaia Barredo.

The Basque Country is building a robust multilevel climate governance ecosystem, by working with the different levels of the administration, companies committed to decarbonisation, trail-blazing companies in the technological development of renewables, knowledge generators and specialists in the fields of monitoring, coast and the primary sector; an ecosystem that is reinforced by the  Basque Energy Transition and Climate Change Bill which is making its way through the Basque Parliament. Moreover, the climate change tools and policies are passed on to local level through the Basque Network of Sustainable Municipalities - Udalsarea 2030.

A further two examples of that multilevel climate governance ecosystem are the LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050 and Regions4Climate projects, which seek to adapt the territory to the negative impacts of climate change and advance in resilience. The Basque Country is also a demonstrator region of the European Union's Adaptation Mission.

Deputy Minister Barredo also stressed that, “when it comes to climate change, not all regions are at the same starting point or have the same degree of commitment. A commitment that is shown by the projects and funds brought to the table to embark on them. In the Basque Country, we are taking decisive steps and are allocating the necessary human and financial resources”.

The meeting had the following objectives: discuss how to improve regional and state cooperation with national governments, in particular in the EU and UN climate processes; analyse  climate priorities before the Climate Summit-COP28; and celebrate the renewed alliance of  Under2 Coalition with the EU Committee of the Regions, an advisory body made up of representatives chosen at local and regional level, who can give their opinion on European legislation that directly impacts their cities and regions.

About the Under2 Coalition           

Under2 Coalition is the main international network of states and regions committed to climate. It was founded in 2015, during the 21st UN Climate Change Conference – COP21. The initiative currently has over 270 member governments that account for 50% of the global economy. Its secretariat is managed by The Climate Group.

The Basque Government has been a member of the coalition right from the start and is one of the 40 regions that have committed to becoming climate neutral by 2050, and are putting their technical, legal and economic resources to achieving that goal.