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G7 Climate and Environment: Ministers’ Communiqué

G7 Climate and Environment: Ministers’ Communiqué, 21st May

As we continue to address the ongoing pandemic, we acknowledge with grave concern that the unprecedented and interdependent crises of climate change and biodiversity loss pose an existential threat to nature, people, prosperity and security. We recognise that some of the key drivers of global biodiversity loss and climate change are the same as those that increase the risk of zoonoses, which can lead to pandemics. We highlight that urgent and concrete action is needed to move towards global sustainability, further mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as halt and reverse biodiversity loss and environmental degradation. We recognise that climate change and the health of the natural environment are intrinsically linked and will ensure that the actions we take maximise the opportunities to solve these crises in parallel.

We will do this by building back better from the pandemic, and we stress our determination to put climate, biodiversity, and the environment at the heart of our COVID-19 recovery strategies and investments. In doing so, we will transform our economies to promote sustainable development, deliver decent green jobs and build resilience. We will also accelerate the clean energy transition, improve resource efficiency, including by reducing food loss and waste and promoting a circular economic approach, transition to sustainable supply chains and mainstream nature, including biodiversity, and climate into economic decision-making. We will help set the world on a nature positive and climate-resilient pathway to bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030 and to keep a limit of 1.5°C temperature rise within reach by making our 2030 ambitions consistent with the aim of achieving net zero emissions as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest.

We recognise these are global challenges which require urgent and ambitious global action at all levels. We reaffirm our commitment to international cooperation and multilateralism, and will work collectively to implement fully our national and international commitments. In this critical year of action we recognise the need to increase global ambition and enhance collaboration, underpinned by the most ambitious sub-national, national and international action. We call on all countries to join us in action.

The COVID-19 crisis has reinforced the importance of science and evidence in government policies and decision-making. Recent assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the International Resource Panel (IRP), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have documented that rapid and far-reaching transformations across all sectors of society and the economy are necessary to tackle climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. Recalling the outcomes of previous G7 meetings on Earth observation systems, we recognise the important role of research and systematic observation to provide information on the state of the planet and support and guide action to address climate change and conserve, protect and restore essential and biodiverse ecosystems. We will ensure our domestic action and international commitments are informed by the best available science and will support others wishing to enhance their evidence-based policy-making processes by sharing our experiences and best practices.

Tackling the twin crises of Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss

We recognise the critical role the ocean and seas play for biodiversity and in regulating the Earth’s climate, absorbing over 90 percent of all excess heat in the Earth’s system and between 20-30 percent of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions since the 1980s, providing a home to up to 80 percent of all life on Earth, and a healthy ocean is central to the livelihoods of more than three billion people. We therefore commit to increase efforts at international, regional and national level, to conserve and sustainably use the ocean, thus increasing its resilience.

We recognise the critical role of our world’s forests as home to most of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, reducing our vulnerability to climate change impacts, improving our adaptability and resilience, and acting as key carbon sinks with tropical forests capturing and storing up to 1.8 GtCO2 from the atmosphere every year. We recognise deforestation and forest degradation as a significant cause of climate change. We commit to urgent action to conserve, protect and restore natural ecosystems including forests and habitat connectivity and promote sustainable forest management. We also commit to implement decarbonisation pathways that do not cause further biodiversity loss or deforestation.

We recognise the crucial role of Nature-based Solutions in delivering significant multiple benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity, and people and thereby contributing to the achievement of various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Such benefits include, among others, improving air quality, water quality and availability, soil health, storm and flood protection, disaster risk reduction, and alleviating and preventing land degradation. Nature-based Solutions can also provide sustainable livelihoods through protecting and supporting a wide range of ecosystem services on which the world’s most vulnerable and poorest people disproportionately rely. We therefore commit to strengthen their deployment and implementation. We stress that Nature-based Solutions do not replace the necessity for urgent decarbonisation and reduction of emissions, but are needed alongside these efforts. In addition to action on the ocean and forests, we commit to take urgent action across ecosystems, including soils, grasslands, savannah, drylands, wetlands, coral reefs, rivers, lakes, coastal dunes, peatland, seagrass beds, mangroves and saltmarshes, whilst ensuring that relevant safeguards are in place.

We reiterate that achieving our collective ambitions will require all sources of finance: public and private, domestic and international, including innovative sources. We commit to using all relevant sources, tools and approaches, including Official Development Assistance and other sources of finance, to support and accelerate global action to tackle climate change and conserve, protect, restore and sustainably manage nature and the environment. We underscore the importance of a predictable investment environment and clear public policies and strategies in facilitating the alignment of global and national financial flows with these objectives, and as such, welcome the UK’s incoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP26 Presidency’s ambitious efforts as they relate to mobilising private and public finance. We are each working intensively to increase the quantity of finance for climate mitigation and adaptation actions, including for Nature-based Solutions, and are committed to increasing its effectiveness, accessibility, and where possible its predictability, and call on others to join us in these efforts. In conjunction with these efforts, we are working intensively towards increasing the quantity of finance to nature and Nature-based Solutions. We reaffirm our commitment to the collective developed country climate finance goal to jointly mobilise US$100 billion annually by 2020 through to 2025 from a wide variety of sources, and welcome the commitments already made by some of the G7 to increase climate finance and look forward to new commitments from others well ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. We will promote enabling environments to mobilise private finance towards these efforts while also enhancing action from the international community to support the poorest and those most vulnerable to climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation. We are committed to further enhance synergies between finance for climate and biodiversity and to promote funding that has co-benefits for climate and nature.

We call upon Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), bilateral Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), multilateral funds, public banks, and export credit agencies to ensure that financial flows from these institutions are aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement and support the objectives of international biodiversity conventions including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, by increasing finance for nature and climate, and leveraging further private capital, in particular for developing countries and emerging markets. We call on MDBs, bilateral DFIs and other support providers to mobilise finance at scale by delivering on their climate finance objectives and targets, and nature finance objectives, making them more ambitious, and mainstreaming climate and nature into their analysis, policy advice, decision-making and financing. We further call on all MDBs to publish, before the UNFCCC COP26, a plan and date by which their operations will be aligned with and support the goals of the Paris Agreement, and encourage them to sign a joint statement committing them to mainstream nature across their operations as appropriate. We also urge the MDBs to commit their private sector arms to pilot and scale up private finance programmes for nature and climate, in particular in under-funded sectors like adaptation and resilience and Nature-based Solutions.

In the context of building back better and achieving a global green recovery from COVID-19, we acknowledge the particularly significant impacts faced by developing countries and that increasing debt burdens can constrain fiscal space and the ability to provide stimulus for a green recovery alongside other development objectives, including access to clean and sustainable energy for all. We recognise that macro and fiscal policies, a free, fair and rules-based multilateral trading system, international initiatives and domestic efforts to create an enabling environment to mobilise private finance, offer a powerful tool to both transforming and revitalising economies. We thank Professor Lord Stern for his work and note with interest his paper on “G7 Leadership for Sustainable, Resilient and Inclusive Growth and Recovery” as commissioned by the UK G7 Presidency. We welcome the discussions of Finance Ministers on supporting a global recovery and their role in enabling a smooth transition to net zero, addressing biodiversity loss, and mobilising the private sector.

Leaving no-one behind

We recognise the disproportionate impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation on the most vulnerable communities, people living in poverty and those already facing intersecting inequalities and discrimination, including women and girls, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities and other marginalised groups. We will increase our efforts to address environmental justice issues in order to make their voices heard and support their full, equal and meaningful participation in decision-making, recognising their critical role as leaders and agents of change, and adapting new and existing policies to support social justice, economic empowerment and achieving gender equality. We further recognise the need to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as acknowledged in national law and international instruments, and respect and value their knowledge and leadership in tackling climate change and biodiversity loss. We are steadfastly committed to addressing barriers to accessing finance for climate and nature faced by women, marginalised people, and underrepresented groups and increasing the gender-responsiveness and inclusivity of finance. We reaffirm our commitment to implementing the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and its associated SDGs and taking action in support of the UNFCCC, CBD and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Gender Action Plans.

We will ensure that the transition to a net zero emissions and nature positive economy happens in a fair and inclusive way. This transition must go hand in hand with policies and support for a just transition for affected workers, and sectors so that no person, group or geographic region is left behind.

Resetting our relationship with nature

A healthy natural environment is critical to human health, wellbeing and prosperity globally and underpins sustainable development. Despite existing global agreements for the protection, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of biodiversity, global negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystem functions are projected to continue or worsen. We therefore confirm our strong determination to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, building on the G7 Metz Charter on Biodiversity and the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature as appropriate.

We recall with deep concern the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the 2021 UNEP Making Peace with Nature report. We commit to take urgent action to address the five direct drivers of biodiversity loss, all a result of human activity: changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species. We will also address overexploitation and illegal exploitation of resources as well as the indirect drivers identified, including those caused by unsustainable methods and patterns of consumption and production. We stress that concerted and collaborative action is needed by all partners and stakeholders including governments, businesses, farmers, academia and scientists, NGOs, citizens, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, and underline the importance of including these groups in co-design, decision-making and implementation.

We commit to raise ambition and accelerate and intensify action, including at CBD COP 15, UNFCCC COP 26, Ramsar COP 14, UNCCD COP 15, UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) 5, UN Food Systems Summit and the UN Ocean Conference, and in support of the UN Decades on Ecosystem Restoration and Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. We will also build on existing synergies, break down silos and support linkages at the domestic and institutional level across relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements, as appropriate, including Regional Seas Conventions.

Highlighting the urgent need for transformative action, we will champion the agreement and successful implementation of an ambitious and effective post 2020 global biodiversity framework to be adopted by parties at CBD COP15 to protect, conserve and restore ecosystems, halt and reverse biodiversity loss, ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, increase resilience to climate change and sustain healthy ecosystems on which our lives, well-being and economies depend. We commit to champion ambitious and effective global biodiversity targets, including conserving or protecting at least 30 percent of global land and at least 30 percent of the global ocean by 2030 to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and address climate change, including through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) by 2030 (30by30), recognising that Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, are full partners in the implementation of this target. We will strive to ensure the effective and equitable management of protected areas and OECMs, and strive to improve their ecological connectivity, with a focus on areas that deliver the greatest benefits for global biodiversity, ecosystem services and climate protection. We underline the importance of a strong accountability framework that strengthens implementation and increases transparency of our actions to meet these targets, and will actively support the development of robust implementation, monitoring and review frameworks. We will enhance or put in place robust, science-based domestic implementation plans, strategies and policies to conserve, protect and restore terrestrial, freshwater, marine and coastal ecosystems and play our part in successfully delivering these global goals and targets. We will work with the competent international and regional organisations, including Regional Seas programmes, Regional Seas Conventions and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs). We will contribute to 30by30 by conserving or protecting at least 30 percent of our own land, including terrestrial and inland waters, and coastal and marine areas by 2030 according to national circumstances and approaches.

Mainstreaming nature

According to the WEF “New Nature Economy Report 2020”, over half the world’s GDP in 2019, almost US$44 trillion, was generated from industries that depend on nature. Waldron et al in their report “Protecting 30% of the planet for nature: costs, benefits and economic implications” suggest that achieving 30 percent protection in two biomes alone could result in gross economic benefits of US$170 billion to US$530 billion per annum by 2050. The report also states that the global financial cost of adequately protecting 30 percent of all the earth’s land and ocean has been estimated to be between US$103 billion and US$177.5 billion per annum. It is clear therefore that the economic benefits of protecting and conserving the land and ocean far outweigh the financial costs of doing so.

We welcome the contribution of the Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity, which builds on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) process among other initiatives. Its conclusion that a fundamental change is needed in how we think about and approach economics if we are to reverse biodiversity loss and protect and enhance our prosperity will inform our work. We will work collaboratively to build on the Dasgupta Review insights and those of other such reports, as appropriate, to support efforts for economic and financial decision-making to account for the goods and services we derive from, and the intrinsic value attributed to nature. We commit to take the urgent and transformative action required to ensure that a deep understanding of ecosystem processes, their interlinkages, and how they are affected by economic activity, is incorporated as part of economic and financial decision-making. To ensure appropriate management of environmental risks and reduce related transaction costs, we will also work with businesses and other stakeholders in developing standardised natural capital accounting practices. We welcome the work being done by the UN Statistical Commission to continue updating the SEEA ecosystem accounting system.

We commit to mainstream nature into all sectors and policies. We recognise the urgency and call for the integration of both climate and nature-related risks into organisational risk management architecture, and of investing in natural capital, which will enable finance to play a greater role by pivoting towards nature positive projects and investments. We recognise the importance of work on nature-related financial disclosure and note with interest the establishment of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures and its aims.

We note the analysis from the OECD, which provides policy recommendations based on the findings of the Dasgupta Review, among other reports. The G7 commits to review these recommendations in order to identify actions to mainstream nature into financial and economic decision-making. In particular we note the OECD’s analysis and recognise the harmful effect of some subsidies on the environment and people’s livelihoods. We therefore commit to lead by example by reviewing relevant policies with recognised harmful impacts on nature and will take action, as appropriate, to deliver nature positive outcomes.

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