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2023 South Africa meeting: Documents

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Joint statement of the ninth (9th) BRICS Environment Ministers Meeting

“Advancing environmental cooperation amongst BRICS towards the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Pretoria, Gauteng Province, Republic of South Africa – 28 June 2023

  1. The ninth BRICS Environment Ministers Meeting was convened on 28th June 2023, wherein the Environment Ministers of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of South Africa participated. The meeting was conducted in a virtual format.
  2. We reaffirm the call for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its three dimensions: economic, social and environmental, in a balanced and integrated manner by mobilising the means required to implement the 2030 Agenda. We highlight in this regard that the SDGs Summit, to be held in New York in September 2023, constitutes a unique opportunity for renewing international commitment with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
  3. We reemphasise the importance of implementing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement, enhancing low-cost technology transfer, and mobilizing affordable, adequate new and timely delivered additional financial resources for environmentally sustainable projects.
  4. We recognise the importance of conserving and sustainably using biodiversity to the attainment of relevant SDGs and welcome the historic adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-15) in December 2022. We thus undertake to strive towards the swift and full implementation of all the goals and targets of the KMGBF in order to achieve its mission to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and vision of living in harmony with nature. We urge developed countries to provide adequate means of implementation, including financial resources, capacity-building, technical and scientific cooperation, and access to and transfer of technology to fully implement the KMGBF.
  5. We recognise the importance of implementing the SDGs, combatting climate change through efforts and concrete measures, promoting sustainable land use and water management, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. We also underscore the significance of technology and innovation, international cooperation, public-private partnerships, including South-South cooperation in achieving our shared objectives.
  6. We reiterate our commitment to strengthening collaboration in environmental protection and sustainable development within the framework of BRICS. In this regard, we welcomed the report of the Eighth BRICS Environment Working Group (EWG) meeting that took place in Cape Town, 7-9 March 2023, which provided an opportunity for in-depth exchanges on enhanced cooperation on environmental issues, including areas of opportunity and concern, after not meeting in-person for several years due to the restrictions arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  7. We underscore the importance of collaborating on issues related to the Green Economy, and the Circular Economy and recognise the potential to exchange best practices for scaled up capacity building in the Green Economy and the Circular Economy as well as promoting low-carbon technology.
  8. We agree to advance the sound management of waste globally and strengthen efforts to protect human health and the environment, while mitigating the potential threat to sustainable development. We also welcome the deliberations on issues of common interest such as the development of an ambitious international legally binding instrument on plastics pollution including in the marine environment and agreed to collaborate on the search of consensus on other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) negotiations. The exchange of knowledge and expertise between BRICS countries should be continued, taking full advantage of existing MEAs and their protocols, while respecting our respective mandates, with a focus on strengthening bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
  9. We agree that there is a need to defend, promote and strengthen the multilateral response to Climate Change and to work together for a successful outcome of the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28). We recognise that the Means of Implementation should be enhanced by developed countries, including through adequate and timely flow of affordable Climate Finance, Technical Cooperation, Capacity Building and transfer of Technology for climate actions. Furthermore, there is a need for comprehensive financial arrangements to address loss and damage due to climate change, including operationalising Fund on Loss and Damage as agreed at the UNFCCC COP27 based on the principles of equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) to benefit developing countries.
  10. With 2023 being the year of first Global Stocktake (GST) under the UNFCCC, we anticipate an outcome that will be based on equity, science as well as necessary means of implementation to enable progression towards the Paris Agreement goals. Furthermore, we acknowledge that the BRICS countries should promote information exchanges and cooperation in relevant fields.
  11. We further urge developed countries to honour their commitments, including of mobilizing the USD100bn per annum by 2020 through to 2025 to support climate action in developing countries. In addition, the importance of doubling adaptation finance is also key in order to implement adaptation. This extends to support for the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  12. We agree to address the challenges posed by climate change while also ensuring a just, fair and equitable and sustainable transition to a low-carbon economy and climate resilient economy in line with the principles of equity and CBDR-RC. We advocate for just and equitable transitions based on nationally defined development priorities and we call on developed countries to lead by example and support developing countries towards such transitions.
  13. We also recall that China hosted the BRICS High-level Meeting on Climate Change on 13th May 2022, when BRICS countries adopted a Joint Statement on Climate Change.
  14. We acknowledge that the financial mechanisms to support the implementation of environment and climate change programmes need to be enhanced, and increased momentum to reform the multilateral development banks and international financial institutions is required. In this regard, we call on the shareholders of these institutions to take decisive action to scale-up climate finance and make their institutional arrangements fit for purpose in support of sustainable development.
  15. We oppose trade barriers imposed by developed countries and reiterate our commitment to enhancing coordination on these issues. We underline that measures taken to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss must not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade and must not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. We express our concern at any discriminatory measure that will distort international trade, risk new trade barriers and shift burden of addressing climate change to BRICS members and other developing countries.
  16. We underscore the importance of collaborating on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use matters, such as research and development of conservation technologies, development of protected areas, and the combatting of illegal trade in wildlife. Furthermore, we will continue to actively participate in international biodiversity-related conventions, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), its protocols and advancing the implementation of its Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and working towards the Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats, as well as the global imperative to protect, restore and ensure the wise use of wetlands, including through the strategic plan of the Ramsar Convention. We also acknowledge the potential for cooperation on the business in biodiversity to support local economic development, industrialisation, job creation, and sustainable business opportunities.
  17. We note that the Intergovernmental Working Group on Drought under the UNCCD is working towards adopting policy options and or instruments to address drought at a global level in an integrated manner. In this regard, we recognise the need for the BRICS countries to enhance cooperation prior to the 16th session of the Conference of Parties of the UNCCD that will be hosted by Saudi Arabia in 2024.
  18. As the Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Plan stated, we note the importance of transition to sustainable lifestyles, and sustainable consumption and production patterns for efforts to address climate change. We strive to ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature and we call on developed countries to support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production.
  19. We reaffirm that BRICS countries have a significant interest in the conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment and the protection of Antarctica as an area reserved for science and nature and underscore the importance of BRICS collaboration on these issues.
  20. We further reaffirm the need to expand access to sanitation and to ensure that water is used sustainably and equitably and managed effectively. We will continue to actively participate in international water related conventions as appropriate. We acknowledge that climate change is predicted to exacerbate water scarcity and to which BRICS countries are vulnerable. We also note that the BRICS countries have potential to exchange information, best practices, policies and legislation in water resource management through the Clean Rivers of BRICS programme.
  21. We reiterate that international co-operation remains critical to strengthen international governance and multilateralism, and reaffirm the important role for BRICS in advancing international environmental governance within the United Nations (UN) system and based on agreed UN principles. Furthermore, we reaffirm that international challenges are best addressed with due recognition of the principle of equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities Respective Capabilities, in light of national circumstances and respect for the right to development and the right for countries to determine their own development pathways.
  22. We welcome the implementation of the BRICS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Environmental Cooperation, signed in July 2018. We recommend that BRICS countries may further strengthen coordination and explore innovative modalities for implementation of areas of cooperation. In this regard, we welcome the finalisation of the Implementation Plan for the BRICS MOU on Environmental Cooperation to guide the programme of work.
  23. We acknowledge that there have been significant advancements in the BRICS Environmental Cooperation since the initial BRICS Environment Ministers meeting in 2015. We recall that important initiatives have been adopted over the years, although it is recognised that the implementation of these could be enhanced. Thus, there should be consolidation of all the existing BRICS Environment initiatives to increase synergies.
  24. We also took note of the progress in developing the BRICS Environmentally Sound Technology (BEST) Platform matrix and recommend that this should be aligned with the Implementation Plan of the BRICS Environment MoU.
  25. We recommend that to support the activities contained in the Implementation Plan as well as the BEST Platform, BRICS countries should explore how adequate resource mobilisation can be enhanced at affordable rates and welcome the suggestion of exploring funding and strengthening financing cooperation with the New Development Bank and other financial institutions to support the financing of environment projects in BRICS countries.
  26. We appreciate the Republic of South Africa for organising the ninth BRICS Environment Ministers Meeting and welcome the offer of the Russian Federation to host the tenth BRICS Environment Ministers Meeting in 2024. 
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