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Source: Small Island Developing States

6 May 2019: The Group of 7 (G7) Environment Ministers agreed on a Communiqué and the Metz Charter on Biodiversity at the G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting. The Communiqué addresses inequalities and inclusivity in transitioning towards a green future, the role of science and research in the context of sustainable development, international mobilization and leadership for biodiversity, international mobilization for climate, concrete solutions for the environment and their co-benefits, resource and energy efficiency, concrete solutions for biodiversity and their co-benefits, and sustainable finance and biodiversity.

The G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting convened from 5-6 May, in Metz, France. The meeting focused on the theme, ‘Fighting Inequalities by Protecting Biodiversity and Climate.’ The French G7 Presidency identified four main priorities for its G7 leadership: combating inequality through an inclusive ecological transition; supporting international action and scientific warnings on biodiversity and climate change; promoting solutions for biodiversity and climate change; and financing biodiversity preservation.

On inequalities, ministers reaffirm their commitment to implementing the SDGs to enable “inclusive transitioning towards a green future that leaves no one behind.” They recognize that biodiversity loss, environmental degradation, natural disasters and other factors are projected to be exacerbated by climate change and to disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable. Ministers further recognize that tackling inequalities is key to addressing environmental challenges, and commit to work to address inequalities, including energy poverty, availability of natural resources, and food security and nutrition. Ministers recognize the vital role of women and girls in environmental management and catalyzing sustainability, and reiterate their commitment to empowering women, including within relevant UN Gender Action Plans. Ministers further commit to work towards sustainable waste management.

On international mobilization and leadership for biodiversity, ministers invite all relevant actors to support the G7 Metz Charter on biodiversity, and stress the importance of developing and implementing a robust post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Ministers will present their commitments in forthcoming international fora to accelerate practical action on biodiversity, and welcome high-level international decisions to accelerate action on biodiversity.

A post-2020 global biodiversity framework should have a strong level of ambition and practicality to facilitate transformational changes needed to achieve the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity.

On international mobilization for climate, ministers state that G7 members that are “committed to the swift and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement reaffirm its irreversibility as the essential multilateral framework to address climate change,” and welcome the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit as a key opportunity to demonstrate enhanced climate ambition on mitigation and resilience. These ministers reaffirm their support to the Global Climate Action Agenda and commitment to mobilize finance for supporting climate action in developing countries, including working towards a successful replenishment of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The US reiterated its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and reaffirmed its “strong commitment to promoting economic growth, energy security and access, and environmental protection.”

On solutions for the environment and co-benefits, ministers state their commitment to seek interlinkages and synergies in comprehensively addressing challenges such as biodiversity loss, climate change and resilience, energy security, economic growth, food security and nutrition, inequalities and sustainable consumption and production. They encourage nature-based solutions, including ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) and ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (DRR), to “contribute to multiple SDGs simultaneously and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.” Ministers welcome progress by multilateral development banks (MDBs) in supporting countries’ efforts to meet environment and climate sustainability goals and to foster mobilization of public and private finance for environment and climate sustainability.

On oceans, ministers recognize that oceans are under threat, including from the impacts of ocean warming, acidification and deoxygenation. They commit to improving and sharing the latest knowledge of the ecological state of the oceans and boosting ocean awareness and literacy. Ministers support the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030; commit to promote better ocean governance, including in the high seas; welcome the negotiations towards an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction; and commit to measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and marine litter, including by reducing land-based pollution and plastic waste.

G7 ministers, members of the European Commission in charge of the environment and ministers of Chile, Fiji, Gabon, Mexico, Niger and Norway in charge of the environment, under the witness of the Minister of the Environment of Egypt, agreed on the ‘Metz Charter on Biodiversity.’ In the Charter, ministers decide to “accelerate and intensify efforts to halt biodiversity loss” and to value, conserve, restore and widely use biodiversity to maintain ecosystem services, sustain a healthy planet and deliver benefits for all people. To take action in this regard, ministers will strengthen and improve biodiversity strategies, policies, action plans and research programmes, increase implementation and take new, ambitious and achievable commitments for “swift action on biodiversity.” They agree to address the main pressures on biodiversity, including as informed by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook and other relevant publications, and to include policies and actions that offer co-benefits in their commitments and actions, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They commit to present their commitments in forthcoming international fora, prior to the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to inform development and implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

In the Metz Charter, ministers further encourage engagement of other actors and stakeholders to voluntarily develop, adopt, implement, review or update their own biodiversity commitments, ether individually or in coalitions. Ministers suggest that such commitments could contribute to the ‘Sharm El-Sheikh to Kunming Action Agenda for Nature and People.’ Ministers further support the development and implementation of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework, recommending it have a “strong level of ambition and practicality” to facilitate “transformational changes needed to achieve the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity” and include ambitious, realistic and time-bound targets “which are measurable.” Ministers recommend aligning the post-2020 framework with the 2030 Agenda.

Ministers also reached agreement on a number of other topics, including a Declaration on International Leaders for Biodiversity Initiative and a Declaration on Halting Deforestation, including through sustainable supply chains for agricultural commodities. In addition, a number of initiatives were launched or strengthened by G7 members.

The seven G7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. [G7 Communiqué] [Metz Charter] [G7 Presidency Press Release] [G7 Initiatives]

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