Dear readers,

I would like to use this platform to flag up two forthcoming EESC initiatives, which will address the biggest issues the world is facing today: the climate emergency and the war in Ukraine.

The annual meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, in Egypt, from 6 to 18 November. The stakes couldn't be higher, as extreme weather events, long predicted by climate change models causing huge destruction and tremendous suffering the world over, have increased the urgency. This week, as world leaders are getting ready to meet and try once again to reach a deal that can bring the world back from the brink of climate catastrophe, the EESC will be voting on a resolution addressed to them. The resolution calls for brave decisions on the key issues on the table: climate finance, adaptation, loss and damage and increased ambitious action. It recognises that all sectors have a part to play. At the EESC, we have developed strong positions on all these elements in recent years. The voice of social partners and civil society organisations is loud and clear. 
It is essential that we recognise the climate emergency as a matter of urgency. The impacts of climate change affect society, citizens, the economy, social stability – this is not just an environmental issue, it is an existential threat. I encourage you and your organisations to help relay the message of our resolution, so that the voice of European civil society carries as far as Sharm el-Sheikh.

Then, on 24-25 November, the EESC will host a triple debate in Zagreb, Croatia on the war in Ukraine and its impact on the EU, raising three crucial questions: How will the war and Ukraine's new candidate status affect EU enlargement and prospects for long-standing candidates? What will its repercussions be for Europe's energy choices and path towards carbon neutrality amid soaring energy prices, which are wreaking economic havoc and testing the strength of our countries' green resolve? Communication is playing a key role in this war: who is winning and what is new on that front, and how is Europe coping with yet another wave of disinformation coming its way? 

This year, distinguished experts and opinion-makers will also be sharing their insights and debating with civil society organisations that are grappling with the fallout from the war, whether as employers running up huge energy bills that threaten their businesses, workers struggling to heat their homes and make ends meet, or activists welcoming the huge influx of refugees. Your organisation is very likely to be grappling with these problems too, so you may want to join the event online. You are very welcome to take part in the conversation and help keep the culture of constructive dialogue and fact-checked information alive in these dark times, when both are coming under threat.

So, watch this space!

Cillian Lohan
EESC Vice-President for Communication