G20: 1st meeting of environment & climate group starts

NEW DELHI, 9 Feb: The first Environment & Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) meeting, under India’s G20 presidency, started in Bengaluru on Thursday with focus on restoration of mining and forest fire-affected areas.

The ECSWG, one of the 13 working groups under the Sherpa track, will meet four times between February and May.

The first meeting underway in Bengaluru will continue till 9 February, the second will be held in Gandhinagar (27-29 March), the third in Mumbai (21-23 May) and the fourth in Chennai (26-27 May). The ministerial meeting is expected to be held on 28 July in Chennai.

Land degradation, biodiversity loss, marine pollution, resource overconsumption and lack of waste absorption are the key environmental concerns which will be addressed in the four ECSWG meetings in India’s G20 presidency.

Under the biodiversity and land degradation theme, India aims to enhance G20’s contributions to achieve 50 percent reduction in degraded lands by 2040, according to a presentation shared by the union environment ministry.

It also seeks to enhance global efforts to foster growth and development while pursuing strong climate ambitions.

India is committed to restoring 25 million hectares of land and sequestering an additional 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2030.

Forest fires account for around 29 percent of global forest loss in the last two decades. In India, forest fires account for 2 percent of the forest cover loss.

G20 countries account for around 80 percent of tree cover in the world.

The Indian presidency hopes to help evolve and encourage the adoption of a G20 framework to combat land degradation and develop the G20 online knowledge and solutions exchange platform to identify and showcase successful land restoration projects.

It would bring out G20 studies on restoration of abandoned mine sites and areas impacted by forest fires, and a compendium on ‘best practices for integrated planning and sutainable management of water resources’

At the meeting, Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education Director General AS Rawat discussed the global perspectives on the eco-restoration aspects with respect to mining and forest fire-affected areas.

Representatives from G20 countries shared their experiences and best practices on restoration of mining and forest fire-affected areas. (PTI)