To address the urgent need to tackle the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, the European Union and its Member States have adopted the European “Green Deal”, an ambitious roadmap to protect the environment and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

In keeping with the “Green Deal”, the Belgian Presidency will place the green transition at the heart of its priorities. It intends to emphasise the need to achieve a more sustainable, resilient and circular society, while leaving no one behind.

The priorities of our Presidency

To stay on course towards achieving these goals, Belgium has focused its Presidency on three complementary priorities that support the "One World One Health" principle : 

  • Adaptation and resilience 

    FPS experts will facilitate the debate on the European Commission's forthcoming communication on climate-related risks, in the context of the European Climate Risk Assessment carried out by the European Environment Agency.

    With regard to biodiversity, FPS experts will promote exchanges on the essential role that nature-based solutions can play and will work to disseminate the new concept of "Regenerative Development". To this end, our FPS will organise a conference dedicated to this new approach, derived from the Green Deal, which aims to give back to nature more than we take from it.

  • Circular economy

    Belgium will carry forward negotiations on critical dossiers relating to the circular economy and the fight against pollution.

    The Belgian Presidency will seek to launch discussions on the next steps post-2024, with a view to laying the foundations for an action plan for the sustainable management of limited resources. To support this circular transition, the FPS brought together stakeholders from several European member states on 17 November 2023. This meeting highlighted the need for a strong circular economy to tackle the triple environmental crisis.

    Similarly, our FPS will push the EU to continue the successful implementation of the sustainability strategy for chemicals. Internationally, several of our pilots will coordinate the European position in the negotiations on the creation of a future treaty on plastic pollution.

  • Just transition

    The transition to an economy and a society that respect the planet's limits implies major economic and social changes. However, many citizens are concerned about the fairness of this transition. According to a Eurobarometer survey carried out in 2022, half of those questioned believe that the European Union is not doing enough to ensure a fair transition for all.

    The Belgian Presidency will do its utmost to build a fair transition towards a climate-neutral and resilient society, leaving no one behind. These considerations will be at the heart of discussions on the continued implementation of the “Green Deal” and on the future of the EU's climate and environment policy. At the same time, Belgium will work to establish a European political framework for a just transition, in particular at the Informal Council and the International Conference for a Just Transition. These events should make it possible to identify the political initiatives and European tools needed to ensure that the green transition is intrinsically a just transition.

These three priorities are mutually reinforcing. A more circular management of resources is particularly necessary to establish a society that is more independent in terms of access to raw materials and more resilient in the face of climate change, pollution and the loss of biodiversity. This transition must be made with the citizens so that they take an active part in this process of sustainable transformation.

Major European issues

The Belgian Presidency comes at a crossroads. On the one hand, our country must ensure the success of a series of European political initiatives that will enable the implementation of the “Green Deal” to continue. On the other hand, many of the major issues binding the Union beyond 2024  have yet to be launched.

For example, with a view to achieving climate neutrality by 2050, the Belgian Presidency will seek to conclude various dossiers such as the "Fit for 55" package. It will also conduct discussions on the EU's 2040 climate target, which will shortly be put on the table by the European Commission. The FPS will also be organising an event as part of the Presidency, bringing together European ministers to discuss the issue.

It is therefore up to Belgium to put these initiatives, which are of major importance for the future of Europe, "on the right track". This is a specific challenge for our country, which will play a key role in drawing up the EU's strategic programme for the period 2024-2029.

An ambitious programme on the international stage

On the international scene, Belgium will be particularly active in ensuring that the priorities of its Presidency are at the top of the agenda of the many conferences and meetings that will mark the first half of 2024.

In particular, the FPS will support the Presidency's efforts to push the EU to maintain a high level of ambition in relation to its international commitments on biodiversity, whether within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Treaty, or the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

With this in mind, it will be organising an event to continue and strengthen the Blue Leaders coalition's commitment to protecting biodiversity in high seas. Several of our FPS pilots will also aim to enable the Presidency to play an ambitious and constructive role at COP14 of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species.