Meeting of G20 environment and climate ministers in India
Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke is travelling to India from 25 to 28 July 2023. Following her inaugural visit with the Indian government, she and Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Economic Affairs Ministry, Stefan Wenzel, will represent the German government at the meeting of G20 environment and climate ministers in Chennai. The ministers will discuss the climate, biodiversity conservation, marine protection, water supply and circular economy and agree joint goals. The German government will urge the G20 to actively support the negotiations for a global agreement on plastic pollution, for example. During her trip, Minister Lemke will also launch a forest conservation project supported by the Federal Environment Ministry with 17.5 million euro from the International Climate Initiative.
Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke commented: "India is extremely important for reaching global environmental goals because of its large population, growing economy and wealth of biodiversity. Germany and India have a close and friendly working relationship on environmental and nature conservation issues. We will strengthen cooperation, for example on protecting forests and wetlands and on combating plastic pollution. We have to protect nature so that it can protect us. We must also take an integrated approach to the three global crises, climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. I will push for this approach at the meeting of the G20 environment and climate ministers in Chennai. We need clear commitment from the G20 in support of the global agreement on plastic pollution that is currently being negotiated by the UN member states. Equally, to protect nature, the G20 must fully endorse the Global Biodiversity Framework, which was adopted in December in Montreal."
Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke will call for an ambitious agenda at the G20 meeting in Chennai. In addition to G20 support for the global plastic agreement and the framework adopted in Montreal, it is also key that the G20 call for the swift entry into force of the BBNJ treaty concluded by the UN member states at the beginning of March 2023.
During her time in India, Minister Lemke will also launch a cooperative project to improve the protection of forests. In India, the livelihoods of 300 million people, in particular women, depend on forests. However, an estimated 43 percent of Indian forests are in poor condition. The Federal Environment Ministry will provide 17.5 million euro from International Climate Initiative (IKI) funds for a forest protection project. The money will be used by local stakeholders for reforesting and restoring forest landscapes. This will promote biodiversity locally, bind more carbon in the landscape and improve the foundations of life for rural communities.
Before the G20 meeting in Chennai, Minister Lemke will visit multiple projects. For instance, she plans to visit a fishing community in Pattinampakkam in Chennai, where the BMUV is supporting a programme to combat marine litter. Fishers and women’s self-help groups collect old fishing nets and sell them to selected recycling companies. This creates economic opportunities for local people and prevents plastic pollution. In order to prevent plastic ending up in the ocean in the first place, the project also implements approaches involving circular economy solutions.
Minister Lemke will also hold bilateral talks with national and state level representatives. The primary purpose of these meetings is to advance the agenda and structure of the next Indo-German Environment Forum as a core component of bilateral cooperation with India. The Environment Forum is expected to take place at the beginning of 2024.
India has chosen the theme "One Earth, One Family, One Future" for its G20 Presidency. With 1.42 billion inhabitants, India is now the most populous country in the world. India is championing, in particular, sustainable development for emerging economies of the Global South. The G20 countries have a special responsibility in global environmental protection and nature conservation because they have caused the majority of environmental damage worldwide. The meeting of the G20 environment and climate ministers is in preparation of the summit of heads of state and government in September 2023.