India to begin talks on climate, sustainability under G20 aegis this week
India assumed G20 presidency in December and will host global leaders and 200 meetings related to 32 sectors across the country this year.
The Union environment ministry will begin discussions on climate and sustainability under the aegis of intergovernmental forum G20 on Thursday with a focus on land degradation and biodiversity loss, a sustainable blue economy and circular economy. A communique of G20 ministers in this regard is likely to be issued after a series of meetings on July 28.
India assumed the forum’s presidency in December and will host global leaders and 200 meetings related to 32 sectors across the country this year.
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Key environmental issues are being discussed as part of G20 working groups. They include climate finance under the sustainable finance working group, climate resilience as part of the disaster risk reduction working group, lifestyles and consumption under the development working group. Energy transition is being deliberated under the energy working group.
The environment ministry will steer discussions on the three issues of land degradation, blue economy and circular economy as they are priority areas for India.
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Richa Sharma, the ministry’s additional secretary, said India is in the final stages of developing a blue economy policy. “Marine litter, mangroves, marine biodiversity are critical matters while a policy is taken up to harness various economic projects,” said Sharma.
Sharma said Mission LIFE, which seeks to influence individual behaviours and social norms to drive climate action, will be an important strand cutting across all G20 discussions. The issue of a circular economy is likely to feed into an important deliverable from G20, Sharma added.
The draft Blue Economy Policy framework envisages optimal utilisation of all maritime sectors—living and non-living resources, tourism, ocean energy for development of coastal areas, the ministry of earth sciences said in July.
The environment ministry said 23% of global land area is no longer productive for agricultural and called it a key concern to be raised during the discussions. It added there has been a 68% fall in population of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish. This will be discussed under land degradation group.
There will be four meetings beginning with the one in Bengaluru this month. Another meeting will be held in Gandhinagar in March. A third meeting in Mumbai focused on oceans to be held in May followed by the ministerial meeting in July before the communique is delivered.
Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav said they want to be open in the discussions and play a facilitation role.
The ministry is expecting the adoption of a Framework to Combat Land Degradation and recommendations to G20 countries on priority areas of work. On oceans, it seeks development of G20 Principles for a Sustainable and Resilient Blue Economy to promote cooperation on conservation, protection and responsible use of ocean resources. Discussions on the steel sector, extended producer responsibility and a global resource efficiency industry coalition are expected in connection with circular economy.
Leena Nandan, the environment ministry secretary, said as part of the dedicated finance group, climate finance is a very important part of the discussions. “We all know there has to be an understanding and deeper resolve to address concerns of climate finance.”