Environment ministers from the Group of 7 (G7) gathered ahead of the 2016 G7 Summit to share their domestic actions to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and called for action under the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
Also in advance of the Summit, education ministers convened for the first G7 Education Ministers' meeting, and issued a declaration reaffirming commitments to quality education.
The G7 Ise-Shima Summit will take place from 26-27 May 2016, in Ise-Shima, Japan.
16 May 2016: Environment ministers from the Group of 7 (G7) gathered ahead of the 2016 G7 Summit to share their domestic actions to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and called for action under the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Also in advance of the Summit, education ministers convened for the first G7 Education Ministers’ meeting, and issued a declaration reaffirming commitments to quality education. The G7 Ise-Shima Summit will take place from 26-27 May 2016, in Ise-Shima, Japan.
The Environment Ministers’ Meeting (EMM) convened from 15-16 May 2016, in Toyama City, Japan. It brought together Ministers from the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US), the European Commissioner (EC) responsible for the environment, heads and senior officials of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Global Compact, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Council for Local Environmental Initiative (ICELEI)-Local Governments for Sustainability, and representatives from cities, to exchange views and build consensus on global environmental issues in advance of the G7 Summit.
Ministers adopted a Communiqué expressing support for measures related to the meeting’s seven themes: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; resource efficiency; biodiversity; climate change; chemicals management; the role of cities; and marine litter.
On the 2030 Agenda, participants shared their actions to ensure domestic implementation, including incorporation of SDGs into national strategies and establishment of relevant institutional arrangements. Examples included: Canada’s public consultation on its Federal Sustainable Development Strategy; France’s efforts to establish a comprehensive implementation framework; Germany’s whole-of-government approach to review its National Sustainable Development Strategy and translate the SDGs into the German context; Italy’s revision of its National Sustainable Development Strategy to address the SDGs; Japan’s interministerial implementation system; the UK’s formulation of a 25-year environment plan; and the US’ high-level process to identify best measures for domestic SDG implementation. The Communiqué includes an annex with examples of actions by G7 members. Ministers called for collaboration and partnerships to advance achievement of the SDGs, and agreed to promote synergistic actions. They highlighted SDG 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns) as “an area that necessitates multi-stakeholder partnerships” and is relevant for all countries regardless of development level.
On resource efficiency, Ministers stressed their commitment to implementing resource efficiency initiatives, and supported decoupling economic growth from resource utilization to achieve the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, as well as to strengthen competitiveness and ensure job creation.
On biodiversity, Ministers recognized the need for a shift in socio-economic systems and individual behavior, in order to address ecosystem degradation and promote biodiversity conservation. They supported “making conservation more valuable than degradation and sustainable use more valuable than unsustainable use” by incorporating the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services into economies and policy decisions. They further supported: promoting access and benefit-sharing (ABS); implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), including tackling illegal trade in wildlife and addressing illegal logging and deforestation; mainstreaming biodiversity for well being, including through the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Aichi Biodiversity Targets; and the development of an international legally-binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).
On climate change, Ministers affirmed the importance of early entry into force and balanced implementation of the Paris Agreement, and looked forward to securing “progressively more ambitious action under the Agreement.” They supported: long-term low greenhouse gas (GHG) emission development strategies; bold national mitigation measures, including carbon pricing, other market-based approaches and greening of financial systems; co-benefit opportunities, such as mitigation actions for adaptation, air pollution and resource efficiency; mitigation of emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs); adoption of a Montreal Protocol hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) phase-down amendment in 2016; action and cooperation on adaptation, including consistent methodologies for risk and vulnerability assessments; and capacity building for developing countries to take climate action.
On marine litter, the Ministers committed to implementing priority measures to combat and reduce marine litter, particularly plastic litter and microplastics, through relevant intergovernmental bodies and actions to standardize and harmonize monitoring methodologies to assess the state of the marine and coastal environment. Ministers also addressed gender and climate change, chemicals management, children’s environmental health, and the role of cities in promoting environmental protection and addressing climate change.
The EMM Communiqué will be shared with the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), and the second session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2).
On education, G7 education ministers committed to implementing the SDGs and raising awareness on education as a policy priority and a force for inclusion, social advancement and intercultural understanding, in the Kurashiki Declaration. The Declaration calls for gender equality, integration of information and communication technology (ICT) for quality learning and enhanced public expenditure on education, among other actions.
“Education is a human right, a force for gender equality, poverty eradication, sustainability and peace,” said UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova at the event. She highlighted the role of education for sustainable development in implementing the Paris Agreement, and called for addressing SDG 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all).
The Education Ministers meeting convened in Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan, on 15 May, under the theme ‘Innovation on Education: Reforming Education to Build Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Societies.’ [Toyama Communiqué] [Environment Ministers’ Meeting Agenda] [Environment Ministers’ Meeting Website] [UNESCO Press Release, 15 May] [UNESCO Press Release, 12 May] [Education Meeting Website] [G7 Summit]