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2nd ECSWG Meeting Concludes; G20 Member Countries Reaffirming Their commitment Towards Climate Crisis

The Second G20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) meeting completed on March 29 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat with shared perspectives and agreement on priority area outcomes.

Shivam Dwivedi
G20 Member Countries Reaffirming Their commitment Towards Climate Crisis
G20 Member Countries Reaffirming Their commitment Towards Climate Crisis

Building on the first ESCWG's discussions, the G20 countries held constructive discussions on Arresting Land Degradation, Accelerating Ecosystem Restoration, and Enriching Biodiversity; Promoting a Sustainable and Climate Resilient Blue Economy; and Encouraging Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy.

The G20 member countries reiterated their commitment to combating the environment and climate catastrophe, but with heightened urgency. Given the current situation, all G20 countries agreed on the urgent necessity for coordinated global efforts and quick action. During technical discussions that delved deeply into the outcomes of the three priority areas established by ECSWG during the India Presidency, the countries recommended various action steps for bringing about substantial change.

On Day 1, the Ministry of Jal Shakti organized a side event with thematic site tours to the Adalaj Vav, Sabarmati syphon, Sabarmati river front, and Narmada main canal, demonstrating India's traditional water management traditions and the nation's long-standing legacy of water resource conservation. Throughout the day's other meetings, the G20 countries shared their best practices in water resource management. The second day began with remarks by Ms. Richa Sharma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, who highlighted the Indian Presidency's inclusive, action-oriented, and consensus-driven approach to facilitating practical solutions with a firm basis.

The major inputs compiled from the 1st ECSWG deliberations, focused group talks, and written inputs supplied by member countries were the centre-piece of the second day's pre-lunch session on Biodiversity, Land degradation, and ecosystem restoration. The session featured lively debate among delegates on the two priority landscapes identified during India's Presidency, as well as presentations on the proposed Gandhinagar Implementation Roadmap (GIR) and draught publications on a compilation of best practices by experts from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE).

The draft G20 documents on the four sub-themes identified under the Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy, namely G20 Knowledge Exchanges in Circular Economy in Steel Sector, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Circular Economy and Circular Bioeconomy, and the proposed G20 Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy Industry Coalition, formed the key discussion points during the technical session on Circular Economy.

The commitment of India to make efficient and sustainable use of natural resources was a significant part of the G20 meetings, as well as the highlight of the Resource Efficiency Dialogue, which the delegates discussed further. Ms. Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Union Minister of State for Railways and Textiles, Government of India, delivered a special address on the concluding day of the 2nd ECSWG meeting. She praised the G20 countries' efforts to address climate change in a comprehensive manner.

The technical session that followed featured lively talks about how to effectively accelerate the transition to a sustainable and climate resilient Blue Economy. Experts from the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) delivered presentations emphasizing the importance of protecting and conserving coastal and marine ecosystems for a healthy ocean, Blue Carbon initiative ecosystem conservation, and mainstreaming Marine Spatial Planning.

The G20 High Level Principles for a Sustainable and Climate Resilient Blue Economy, which were presented at the technical session, were discussed by the delegates. During the workshop, the technical research on Accelerated the Transition to a Sustainable and Climate Resilient Blue Economy was also discussed among the participating delegates. The day's final technical session focused on the alignment of the Global Biodiversity Framework 2022 and its implementation modalities in the priority areas of biodiversity, land degradation, and ecosystem restoration.

The goal of the Biodiversity session was to accelerate action on implementing the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework among G20 countries, and it concluded by offering three critical questions for discussion on the subject. Ms. Leena Nandan, the G20 Chair for India and Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, addressed the delegates before to the start of the day's last session on the Communique.

She also asked the G20 countries to maintain their collaborative and cooperative approach during the India Presidency in order to achieve an inclusive, action-oriented, and decisive outcome. The Communique session included a presentation and prolonged open discussions on the zero draught. The Secretary also updated the media on the Second G20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group's three-day deliberations (ECSWG).

The participants finished the day by visiting the Dandi Kutir, the world's largest and only Museum dedicated to one man's story - Mahatma Gandhi. A tour of the immersive museum thrilled the delegates. The conference concluded on a collaborative note, with the purpose of refining the suggested outcomes under the G20 India Presidency by incorporating participants' views and best practices discussed during the sessions, as well as gathering inputs on the outline of the Communique delivered.

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