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Hardeep Singh Puri Addresses 1st Environment Climate Sustainability Working Group Meeting at Bengaluru

The second day of the Environment Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) meeting in Bengaluru began with an inaugural address by Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs and Petroleum and Natural Gas, who stated that it is time to come together to commit to an inclusive, ambitious, and action-oriented agenda that promotes wellbeing and prosperity.

Shivam Dwivedi
Best practises from India for market-based EPR mechanisms in plastic packaging, e-waste, waste tyres, and waste batteries were discussed
Best practises from India for market-based EPR mechanisms in plastic packaging, e-waste, waste tyres, and waste batteries were discussed

Puri also stated that the ECSWG's discussions will allow for a shift in mindset from ownership to stewardship of natural resources. Leena Nandan reiterated Puri's remarks, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and G20 Chair for India, that the ECSWG will focus 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 Troika's representatives (Indonesia and Brazil) expressed solidarity with the Union Minister and Secretary's remarks.

Following the opening session, there was a technical session on Biodiversity and Land Degradation. The session covered restoration of mining-affected areas, restoration of forest fire-affected areas, eco-restoration of habitat through species-based conservation, and biodiversity conservation and enrichment in accordance with the Global Biodiversity Framework 2022. Prominent experts from renowned global and Indian organizations, including the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), and the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), shared their perspectives on the issues.

The discussions focused on accelerating action to meet the G20's goal of reducing degraded land by 50% by 2040 by strengthening the G20 Global Initiative for Reducing Land Degradation (GIRLD) through the development of a G20 Framework on Land Degradation. The Working Group also emphasized the importance of country collaboration in sharing best practices, technology, and innovation in eco-restoration of degraded landscapes. Following this, subject expert representatives from the G20, Invitee Countries, and International Organizations held a round of discussion. An interesting discussion about eco-restoration of degraded landscapes ensued.

A technical session on Encouraging Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy kicked off the second half of the day. The delegates discussed the formation of a G20 Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy Industry Coalition with the goal of fostering global partnerships among key industries to improve technological cooperation, exchange of ideas, and mobilisation of de-risked finance. Draft technical documents on promoting circularity in the steel sector were discussed, with the need to increase the share of steel scrap in steel production globally from 30% to 50% with the goal of reducing pressure on virgin resources emphasised.

Another important discussion focused on the global scale implementation and replicability of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Best practises from India for market-based EPR mechanisms in plastic packaging, e-waste, waste tyres, and waste batteries were discussed. The debate over the circular bioeconomy emphasised the critical need to increase the share of biomass in material consumption. India's policies and programmes to promote circular bioeconomy were also presented, including the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT), GOBARdhan, and 20% ethanol blended petrol programme.

Eenam Gambhir, Joint Secretary, G20 Secretariat, made a presentation on LiFE, Lifestyle for Environment, and the Green Development Pact in the day's final session, emphasising that the ECSWG would work closely with the Development Working Group and other Working Groups with mandates related to Environment and Climate Change to ensure integration in order to provide holistic solutions to combat climate change and environmental degradation. She also stated that mechanisms were put in place to ensure smooth coordination among all working groups in order to ensure a holistic perspective on all climate and environmental issues.


In the evening, the delegates will attend a Gala Dinner where they will enjoy traditional Indian cuisine as well as performances reflecting Karnataka's rich cultural heritage. The day ended on a positive note, with a commitment to leveraging the power of the G20 platform to deliver tangible outcomes that can be carried forward by future Presidencies to materialize the G20's collective efforts over time. The ECSWG reaffirmed its dedication to the cause during India's presidency.


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