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International cooperation

The EU works with international partners and is recognised as a leader of environmental action worldwide. International cooperation is essential to confront global environmental challenges.


Europeans enjoy high environmental standards. However, even robust EU environmental legislation is not sufficient to address transboundary and global environmental degradation, nor to sufficiently reduce the impact of the EU's economic activity on natural resources worldwide. The environmental ambition of the European Green Deal will not be achieved by Europe acting alone.

Confronting the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution requires commitment and effective cooperation at the international level. These crises reinforce each other, further damaging the environment and our health. Therefore, all need to be resolved if we want a viable future.

The EU plays an active role in multilateral environmental agreements and other environmental negotiations and processes. Its constructive position has on several occasions proved crucial to ensuring progress. The EU has also contributed to the development of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The EU is working internally and globally to promote sustainable development, shifting towards low carbon and resource-efficient economies. Transforming social and economic systems means improving our relationship with nature – understanding its value and putting that value at the heart of decision making.

Agreements and partnerships


Cooperating with strategic partners to tackle transboundary air pollution


Protecting and restoring biodiversity worldwide through the Kunming-Montreal Agreement agreed at COP15


International agreements on trade in hazardous chemicals, transporting hazardous waste, and on persistent organic pollutants

Circular economy

Leading the way to a resource-efficient and circular economy at the global level.


Addressing deforestation and tackle illegal logging through various agreements

Plastic pollution

Paving the way for a global agreement on plastics, to support the global shift towards a circular economy

Soil and land

Working with partners worldwide to combat land and soil degradation and desertification


Putting water higher on the global agenda and accelerating action for clean water and sanitation for all by 2030