During their first meeting, which took place on 15 and 16 June, in Karuizawa, Japan, the Energy and Environment Ministers of G20 countries adopted a communiqué on climate change, energy transition, marine litter and resource efficiency.
In it, all but the US reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the Paris Climate Agreement as well as highlighting the importance of resource efficiency and a common strategy to tackle marine litter.
In particular, the document focuses on the importance of improving resource efficiency through policies such as circular economy and the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), and notes its potential contribution to tackling the problem of marine litter, especially marine plastic litter and microplastics. On marine litter, the ministers followed up on the “G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter”, launched under the grouping’s German Presidency in 2017.
Under its implementation, the G20 countries cooperate on improving waste management and recycling processes, report on waste prevention and disposal plans, and exchange information on best practices. Importantly, while the text stresses the need to address the problem at global and national level, and in cooperation with relevant stakeholders, it also notes plastics’ important role in economies and in citizens’ daily lives.
Commenting on the communiqué’s adoption, State Secretary at the German Environment Ministry Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter said: “We have made a significant step forward in the fight against marine litter under the Japanese Presidency, and I am also pleased that the strategic dialogue on resource efficiency is in progress, making an important contribution to decoupling economic growth from damaging environmental impacts.” The Italian Environment Minister Serio Costa stated that will have to be followed up by concrete actions and increasingly strict commitments. “The time has come to exit the ‘plastic era’, dominated by disposal plastic, and this can only be done by working together,” he concluded.
The full text of the communiqué can be found here