The second day of the Environment Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) meeting at Bengaluru commenced with an inaugural address by the Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs & Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, who stated that it is time to come together to commit to an inclusive, ambitious and action-oriented agenda that promotes wellbeing and prosperity. He also stated that deliberations during the ECSWG will enable a shift in mindset from ownership to stewardship of natural resources.
Reiterating the remarks of Shri Puri, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and G20 Chair for India, Ms Leena Nandan said that ECSWG will be focusing on three key priorities through discussions, working in close collaboration with other G20 key Working Groups to holistically address issues relating to environment, sustainability and climate change. The representatives from the Troika (Indonesia and Brazil) expressed solidarity with the remarks of the Union Minister and Secretary.
The inaugural session was followed by a technical session on Biodiversity and Land Degradation. The discussions during the session spanned across restoration of mining affected areas, restoration of forest fire affected areas, eco-restoration of habitat through species-based conservation, and biodiversity conservation and enrichment, aligned with the Global Biodiversity framework 2022. Prominent experts from renowned global and Indian organizations – United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) shared their perspectives on the related topics.
The deliberations focused on accelerating action to achieve G20’s goal of reducing degraded land by 50% by 2040, through enhancing the G20 Global Initiative for Reducing Land Degradation (GIRLD) via a G20 Framework on Land Degradation. The Working Group also emphasized on the importance of collaboration among countries on sharing of best practices, technology, and innovation on eco-restoration of degraded landscapes. This was followed by a round of discussion by the subject expert representatives from the G20 countries, Invitee Countries and International Organizations. An engaging discussion ensued on eco-restoration of degraded landscapes.
The second half of the day began with a technical session on Encouraging Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy. The delegates deliberated on the formulation of a G20 Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy Industry Coalition aimed at fostering global partnerships among key industries for enhancing technological cooperation, exchange of ideas and mobilizing de-risked finance. Draft technical documents on promoting circularity in steel sector were discussed wherein the need to increase share of steel scrap from 30% to 50% in steel making globally was emphasized with the objective of reducing reduce pressure on virgin resources.
Another key discussion was held on the implementation and replicability of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) at scale across the globe. India’s best practices for market based EPR mechanisms in plastic packaging, e-waste, waste tyres and waste batteries were discussed. The discussion around circular bioeconomy highlighted the urgent need to increase share of biomass in material consumption. India’s policies and programs to promote circular bioeconomy through Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT), GOBARdhan and 20% ethanol blended petrol program were also presented.
In the concluding session of the day a presentation on LiFE, Lifestyle for Environment and the Green Development Pact was made by Joint Secretary, G20 Secretariat, Ms Eenam Gambhir highlighting that the ECSWG would work in close tandem with the Development Working Group and other Working Groups having linkage with mandates of Environment and Climate Change, to ensure integration to provide holistic solutions to tackle climate change and environment degradation. She further shared that mechanisms were also instituted to facilitate smooth coordination among all working groups to ensure a holistic perspective on all climate and environment related issues.
The delegates would be attending a Gala Dinner in the evening where they will enjoy traditional cuisines of India and also witness performances reflecting rich cultural heritage of Karnataka. The day concluded on a positive note to harness the power of the G20 platform to deliver tangible outcomes that can be taken forward by future Presidencies to materialize the G20’s collective efforts over time. The ECSWG reaffirmed its commitment to the cause under India Presidency.