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Source: Small Island Developing States

19 August 2019: Following the fifth BRICS Ministers of Environment Meeting, held under the theme, ‘Contribution of Urban Environmental Management to Improving the Quality of Life in Cities,’ leaders of Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) issued a joint statement, expressing commitment to supporting the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and urging that the UNFCCC negotiations result in “fair and effective” outcomes.

Recognizing the importance of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Environmental Cooperation between the BRICS member States, signed at the tenth BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, in July 2018, environment ministers decide to “establish and strengthen concrete mechanisms of implementation of the cooperation initiatives,” and agree to focus on “action-oriented cooperation.” Ministers expect initial activities to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life in cities, through the sharing of knowledge and experience on waste management, “cogeneration,” reverse logistics, sanitation and water quality, urban air quality and urban green areas, among other issues, through the Partnership on Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative (PUESI).

Having advanced dialogue on “key themes that can be integrated into our cooperation initiatives,” including urban environmental management, contaminated areas and soil remediation, water quality, circular economy in the context of sustainable consumption and production, marine protected areas and combating marine litter, and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, ministers acknowledge individual efforts by BRICS to address these environmental problems and the innovative solutions for improving urban environmental quality.

The BRICS countries acknowledge Brazil’s proposal to structure the “environmental quality urban agenda” according to the following themes: 1) clean rivers and seas; 2) waste management, resource efficiency and recovery of contaminated areas; 3) sanitation; 4) air quality; and 5) urban green areas.

Ministers express their commitment to reducing marine litter by identifying solutions to reduce land-based impacts that affect marine ecosystems, through enhancing urban environment quality and protecting ecosystems and biodiversity.

On biodiversity, the statement reflects the BRICS countries’ commitment to contributing to and supporting the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and the successful outcome of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to be held in Kunming, China, in 2020. Ministers agree to prioritize biodiversity conservation and develop a biodiversity cooperation mechanism.

On desertification, ministers reaffirm their commitment to combating desertification, mitigating the effects of drought and restoring degraded land and soil.

On climate change, ministers acknowledge the importance of global action, and call for transparent negotiations during the 25th session of the COP to the UNFCCC to lead to outcomes that are “fair and effective,” while reflecting the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC). They urge developed countries to provide to developing countries means of implementation, including climate finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building support.

Ministers further reaffirm the importance of jointly exploring new sources of financing individual, bilateral and multilateral projects, and propose to consider the creation of a special New Development Bank (NDB) grant fund to support BRICS environmental cooperation.

The fifth BRICS Ministers of Environment Meeting convened in São Paulo, Brazil, on 15 August 2019. [Joint Statement for Fifth BRICS Ministers of Environment Meeting] [BRICS Press Release]

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