G20 environment ministers adopt communiqué on climate action, energy transition, marine litter and resource efficiency
At their first meeting, environment ministers of the G20 agreed on important issues related to climate mitigation, marine protection and resource conservation. In the final declaration, all countries with the exception of the United States affirmed their commitment to implement the Paris Climate Agreement. In addition, all 20 major industrialised and emerging economies, including the United States, were able to adopt a common strategy in the fight against marine litter. The strategy seeks to improve monitoring of plastic and other waste discharges and to intensify exchange of expertise in the fields of waste disposal and recycling. The countries also adopted a joint initiative on climate adaptation. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry, was head of the German delegation.
Schwarzelühr-Sutter stated: "We took a significant step forward in the fight against marine litter, under the Japanese presidency. I also welcome the progress we are making in the strategic dialogue on resource efficiency, which is an important step towards decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation and modernising our economies. We should not underestimate the fact that 19 countries clearly reaffirm their commitment to implement the Paris Climate Agreement – even if this outcome required difficult negotiations. Given the US position, the common stance cannot be taken for granted."
Under Japanese presidency, the G20 adopted an implementation framework for its Action Plan on Marine Litter, initiated under German presidency. The G20 countries aim to strengthen their cooperation on environmentally sound waste disposal and recycling processes. They intend to regularly share their experience in waste prevention and safe waste disposal, extending their discussions to scientific topics. The G20 countries want to increase their support to regional and local networks campaigning for the protection of rivers and seas and to civil society organisations and enterprises fighting against marine litter. Product design, circular economy and resource efficiency are of special importance with a view to innovation. The ministerial meeting also adopted a G20 Action Agenda on adaptation to climate change, which outlines, among other measures, actions to reduce the impact of natural disasters.