▷ The G20 held the first-ever Environment Ministers meetings this year, which adopted the joint communique of Environment and Energy Ministers, and the communique of Environment Ministers.
○ (Joint communique) The member countries of the G20 agreed on the importance of energy transitions and environment protection for sustainable growth, and adopted a joint communique to promote the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the innovation of green technologies.
○ (Environment Ministers communique) A communique of Environment Ministers was adopted to improve resource efficiency, reduce marine waste, and expand infrastructure for climate change adaptation.
1. Outline of the Meetings
Before the opening of the G20 Summit (June 28th to 29th, Osaka), the G20 Joint Meeting of Environment and Energy Ministers, and the G20 Environment Ministers Meeting were held in Nagano, Japan for two days from June 15th.
＊△ The G20 Joint Meeting of Environment and Energy Ministers (June 15th), △ The G20 Environment Ministers Meeting (June 15th and 16th), △ The G20 Energy Ministers Meeting (June 15th and 16th)
The G20 Joint Meeting of Environment and Energy Ministers, and the G20 Environment Ministers Meeting were held for the first time this year since the foundation of the G20 Summit in 2008.
※ The G20 Energy Ministers meeting has been held since 2015 (under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy).
2. Outcomes of the G20 Joint Meeting of Environment and Energy Ministers
The member countries of the G20 agreed on the importance of energy transitions and environment protection for sustainable growth, and adopted a joint communique to strengthen the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the innovation of green technologies, and the responsibilities of related industries.
Furthermore, they agreed on the G20 Karuizawa Innovation Action Plan for energy transitions, raising awareness on the solutions for environmental problems, including climate change, biodiversity, and fine dust (PM2.5), and the promotion of private investment.
Through his statement at the joint ministerial meeting, Environment Minister Cho Myung-rae explained that most of the air pollutants, including greenhouse gases and fine dust, were generated from the energy sector.
The minister emphasized the need for the urgent implementation of coal phasing-out and energy transition policies in order to expand the use of sustainable renewable energy sources and replace the existing carbon-based energy sources.
He also shared the current performance of Korea in achieving greenhouse gas reduction targets and the 2050 Low Carbon Power Generation Strategy, which is currently under development.
3. Outcomes of the G20 Environment Ministers Meeting
The member countries of the G20 agreed on the essential role of resource efficiency promotion of sustainable growth. Policy approaches, including the circular economy, sustainable management of materials, and 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), can be used for the promotion of resource efficiency.
In particular, the G20 countries agreed on the need for international cooperation in taking swift actions to reduce marine waste and microplastics.
In this context, the members welcomed the resolutions of the 4th Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly* on disposable plastics, marine plastic litter and microplastics, and the decision of the 14th Basel Convention (BC COP-14), including a framework for plastic waste management; and the countries expressed support to the ‘G20 Marine Plastic Litter Implementation Framework', which they adopted in the meetings.
* UNEA 4/7, Marine plastic litter and microplasticsUNEA 4/10, Addressing single-use plastic products pollution
* UNEA 4/7, Marine plastic litter and microplastics; UNEA 4/10, Addressing single-use plastic products pollution
Environment Minister Cho Myung-rae explained the need for a decoupling between resource consumption and economic growth by improving resource efficiency. He stressed the importance of a swift transition from a traditional linear economy to a circular economy.
Additionally, Minister Cho warned of critical damage to the ecosystem via the exposure to unprocessed marine plastic debris, and welcomed the ‘G20 Marine Plastic Litter Implementation Framework', which was adopted through the meetings. He said the Korean government would join the international efforts to solve the issues of marine plastic debris and microplastics.
* G20 Marine Plastic Litter Implementation Framework
* G20 Marine Plastic Litter Implementation Framework
The G20 member countries agreed that climate change adaptation prevents disasters and helps to cultivate sustainable growth and care for vulnerable classes.
They emphasized the importance of the strategies for a comprehensive climate adaptation and disaster management, including investment in infrastructure against extreme weather events and disasters, and they agreed on the need for international cooperation to share experiences and good practices regarding climate adaptation plans as well as the promotion of private investment.
On this topic, Minister Cho emphasized the following: climate change adaptation is important not only for the management of climate disasters, but also for the development of resilience for vulnerable classes and society as a whole. Thus, policymakers must consider the effectiveness, sustainability, and fairness of the policies for climate adaptation. And since the impacts of climate change vary according to region and sector, the sharing of information between the various stakeholders is imperative.
4. Bilateral meetings
In between the main meetings, Environment Minister Cho Myung-rae had bilateral meetings with Andrew Wheeler, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency of the U.S., Dr. Therese Anne Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the U.K., and Murat Kurum, Minister of Environment and Urbanization of Turkey. They agreed to reinforce cooperation in various sectors, including fine dust reduction and water resources management.