The third BRICS Environment Ministers’ Meeting, which was chaired by Secretary of the Leading Party Members’ Group Li Ganjie, was held in Tianjin on Jun. 23, 2017. South African Minister of Environmental Affairs Madam Edna Molewa, Indian Executive Vice Minister of the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ajay Narayan Jha, Fernando Coimbra who headed the delegation of Brazilian Ministry of the Environment, and Nuritdin R. Inamov who headed the delegation of Russian Federal Ministry of the Natural Resources and Ecology attended the event. UN Deputy Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim presented at the meeting on invitation. Secretary of the CPC Tianjin Municipal Committee Li Hongzhong met with the participating environment ministers, delegation leaders, and Erik Solheim. Vice Mayor of the Tianjin Municipal Government Sun Wenkui delivered a welcome speech.
Li Ganjie noted that in recent years, the Chinese Government has incorporated the ecological progress into the overall plan of the socialist cause with Chinese characteristics for promoting the economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progresses, proposed the innovation-driven, coordinated, green, opening, and sharing-based development concepts, made strenuous efforts to improve the eco-environmental quality, and moved forward with the building of a beautiful country. President Xi Jinping has reiterated on many occasions that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets and that it is imperative to develop green development patterns and lifestyles. Moreover, the Chinese Government has centered on the improvement of the environmental quality, introduced the toughest environmental protection regimes, and achieved better economic restructuring and stimulated the innovation by strengthening environmental protection efforts. It has treated the eco-environmental protection as an integral part of the supply side structural reform, implemented three initiatives to combat air, water, and soil pollution respectively, launched large-scale protection initiatives instead of major development projects in the Yangtze River economic belt, reformed the ecological civilization institutions, and set up more strict legal framework. As a result, the pursuit of green development has yielded preliminary results, and the eco-environmental quality has turned better.
Li said, the world is facing climate change, ecological degradation, resource crisis, major natural disasters, and other global environmental issues, and the international environmental governance system is confronted with emerging challenges. The BRICS countries as the bellwether of emerging market economies and developing countries share the common challenge of balancing and properly handling the relation between development and protection and shoulder the grave responsibility of advancing the sustainable development, while seeking fast economic growth. To promote the dialogues and communications among the environment departments of the BRICS countries helps strengthen their respective eco-environmental conservation effort, promote green development, bring more benefits to the people, further consolidate the foundation for cooperation among them, and uplift the global environmental governance capacity and level.
Li noted that enhanced environmental cooperation among the BRICS countries will contribute to the outcomes of the BRICS Summit, and provide strong support for addressing challenges threatening the regional and even global ecological environment. He hoped that the BRICS countries would further enhance communications and dialogues, increase mutual understanding, build common consensuses, and in such key areas as air quality improvement, water and soil environment governance, and biodiversity conservation, exchange experience, meet the needs, and share best practices in addressing global environmental issues; that they would make great efforts to advance the sustainable development of the cities, conduct pragmatic cooperation, achieve mutual benefits and win-win outcomes, have more say and influence in the international arena of environment and sustainable development, and make contributions to the attainment of the 2030 sustainable development goals.
Furthermore, Li shared the major moves taken by the Chinese Government to promote the “Belt and Road” initiative, and hoped the rest of the BRICS countries to be part of the eco-environmental cooperation effort under this initiative.
The environment ministers and the delegation leaders of other BRICS countries introduced their respective progresses in environmental protection and had in-depth discussions on global environmental issues, the trends of the environmental cooperation among the BRICS countries, and other topics. Erik Solheim extended support and appreciated the proposal to closer environmental ties among the BRICS countries.
The event marked the first BRICS Environment Ministers’ Meeting ever hosted by China, which echoed the theme of the ninth BRICS Summit-“BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future” and aimed to work together to deepen the environmental cooperation.
The meeting released the Tianjin Statement of the Third BRICS Environment Ministers’ Meeting and adopted the Initiative on the Partnership of BRICS Environmentally Sustainable Cities.
(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)