G20 environment & sustainable development commitments

Although last week’s G20 meeting in Russia was overshadowed by the situation in Syria, the leaders did adopt a multi-faceted communiqué which included some elements related to the environment and sustainable development. Further, GallonDaily suggests that although the track record of the G20 is not great when it comes to implementation, public pressure through the media is making G20 decisions a little more likely to be at least partially implemented than this type of decision has been in the past.  These international meetings are useful to business if only as an indicator of global trends.

Potentially implementable G20 2013 commitments relevant to the environment and sustainable development include:

  • Corruption impedes sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction, threatening financial stability and economy as a whole. We will hold ourselves to our commitment to implement the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan, combating domestic and foreign bribery, tackling corruption in high-risk sectors, strengthening international cooperation and promoting public integrity and transparency in the fight against corruption.
  • We commit to enhance energy cooperation, to make energy market data more accurate and available and to take steps to support the development of cleaner and more efficient energy technologies to enhance the efficiency of markets and shift towards a more sustainable energy future. We underscore our commitment to work together to address climate change and environment protection, which is a global problem that requires a global solution.
  • We recognize the importance of improving processes and transparency in the prioritization, planning, and funding of investment projects, especially in infrastructure, and in making better use of project preparation funds. Particular attention will also be given to ways to improve the design of and conditions for productive public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements.
  • We understand the importance of regional trade agreements (RTAs) and their contribution to trade and investment liberalization. We commit to ensure that RTAs support the multilateral trading system. Realizing that enhancing transparency in RTAs and understanding of RTAs and their effects on the further development of multilateral rules are of systemic interest to all G20 members, we are committed to continue our work on RTAs in the WTO, and share our approach for Advancing Transparency in Regional Trade Agreements (Annex).
  • Food security and nutrition will remain a top priority in our agenda. We recognize the importance of boosting agricultural productivity, investment and trade to strengthen the global food system to promote economic growth and job creation. We encourage all ongoing efforts in the agricultural sector to further reduce hunger, under-nutrition and malnutrition, through increased coordination in the G20 to promote the identification and implementation of effective actions in support of production and productivity growth as well as enhancement of food security and nutrition for vulnerable population through, among others, nutrition sensitive policies and comprehensive social protection systems, with particular emphasis on low income countries. We support discussions in the WTO to respond to legitimate food security concerns, without distorting trade, including those related to carefully targeted policies to protect vulnerable populations. We recognize that the agricultural market situation needs closer attention and that the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) is generating better transparency and still needs more efforts to be fully implemented.
  • We welcome the substantial progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since 2000 and the success in galvanizing global action to reach specific targets globally, as well as in individual countries, particularly in eradicating extreme poverty and promoting development. However, the prospects for achieving all of the MDGs differ sharply across and within countries and regions. We remain committed to accelerating progress towards achieving the MDGs, particularly through the implementation of our development agenda and our focus on promoting strong, sustainable, inclusive and resilient growth.
  • We call for an agreement on an integrated post-2015 development agenda with concise, implementable and measurable goals taking into account different national realities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities, focused both on the eradication of extreme poverty, promoting development and on balancing the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainable development.
  • We welcome efforts aimed at promoting sustainable development, energy efficiency, inclusive green growth and clean energy technologies and energy security for the long term prosperity and well being of current and future generations in our countries. We will continue in cooperation with international organisations sharing national experiences and case studies regarding sustainable development, clean energy, and energy efficiency as well as development, deployment and broader application of related technologies and will take forward work, on a voluntary basis, on corresponding policy options and technologies. We take note of the new World Bank report ‘Toward a Sustainable Energy Future for All’, which aims to promote access to reliable and affordable energy in developing countries and recognise the importance of the sustainable and responsible production and use of modern bioenergy and the role played by the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) in this regard.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to rationalise and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption over the medium term while being conscious of necessity to provide targeted support for the poorest.
  • Sizable investment, including from private sources, will be needed in the G20 and other economies in energy infrastructure in the years ahead to support global growth and development. It is our common interest to assess existing obstacles and identify opportunities to facilitate more investment into more smart and low-carbon energy infrastructure, particularly in clean and sustainable electricity infrastructure where feasible. In this regard we encourage a closer engagement of private sector and multilateral development banks with the G20 Energy Sustainability Working Group (ESWG) and call for a dialogue to be launched on its basis in 2014 that will bring interested public sector, market players and international organizations together to discuss the factors hindering energy investment, including in clean and energy efficient technologies and to scope possible measures needed to promote sustainable, affordable, efficient and secure energy supply.
  • Many countries are trying to improve their energy mix and use, such as by promoting renewable and/or nuclear energy. Nuclear power is a low-carbon option, but it is capital intensive and comes with responsibilities for nuclear safety, security and safeguards/nonproliferation. G20 countries, whether nascent or established nuclear power producers should strive for the highest possible level of nuclear safety, to foster robust nuclear safety and nuclear security cultures and, as called for in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, we encourage multilateral cooperation towards achieving a global nuclear liability regime.
  • We are committed to support the full implementation of the agreed outcomes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its ongoing negotiations. We strongly welcome the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to mobilize political will through 2014 towards the successful adoption of a protocol, another legal instrument, or an agreed outcome with legal force under the convention applicable to all Parties by 2015, during COP-21 that France stands ready to host.
  • We also support complementary initiatives, through multilateral approaches that include using the expertise and the institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), based on the examination of economically viable and technically feasible alternatives. We will continue to include HFCs within the scope of UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol for accounting and reporting of emissions.
  • Taking note of the developments over the past year, we support the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). We welcome the report of the G20 Climate Finance Study Group on G20 countries’ experiences on ways to effectively mobilize climate finance taking into account the objectives, provisions, and principles of the UNFCCC.

The G20 Leaders Declaration and a number of background papers are available at http://www.g20.org/news/20130906/782776427.html

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