G20 summit shows ambition on climate and sustainability as need for action grows
Today, unprecedented environmental pollution, climate change impacts, biodiversity declines, land degradation and water scarcity are pushing the planet to a tipping point. Collective action on issues such as Green Finance, climate policy, marine pollution and wildlife crime, as outlined in the final G20 declaration, is urgently needed to help prevent irreversible damage to global societies and economies and ensure stability and security in the world’s most vulnerable regions.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF’s global Climate & Energy Practice, said: “By accelerating progress under both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the G20 group of nations can help move the sustainability agenda forward. Acknowledging the irreversible momentum set forth by the Paris climate deal, leaders have shown their determination to join countries and non-State actors worldwide in creating a global socio-economic transformation that will shape our national economies, people’s well-being and prosperity for years to come.’’
At the Summit, all G20 members, except the US, committed to ensuring full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, through cooperation on enhanced delivery of national climate contributions, delivering long-term plans by 2020 and with independent monitoring of the shifting of financial flows. Their pledge comes just weeks after US president Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the global climate agreement approved in December 2015.
“Implementing the Paris Agreement is in the interest of each nation. Effective climate strategies can help unlock new business and employment opportunities, renewable energy, health benefits, and a sustainable future for all. As G20 leaders join cities, companies and individuals around the globe in committing toward a climate-safe future, it must be crystal clear that there is no place for fossil fuels in this scenario. We can be stronger together for climate but we need to translate ambition into action now,” said Pulgar-Vidal.
In addition to climate change, leaders at the G20 summit also discussed opportunities and challenges linked to Green Finance and its role in shifting financial flows worldwide toward greater sustainability by taking climate and environmental risks into account.
The forum also looked at the important link between wildlife crime and corruption for the first time, with a G20 Action Plan specifically highlighting the profound economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts of illegal wildlife trade.
Margaret Kinnaird, leader of WWF’s global Wildlife Practice, said: “Wildlife crime not only threatens our planet’s incredible wildlife but it is also harming the lives, livelihoods and human rights of local communities who have depended on their surrounding resources and ecosystems for centuries. We urge Argentina as the next G20 president to build on the legacy of Germany’s outgoing presidency and make wildlife crime a priority to help stave off global biodiversity loss and promote sustainable use of natural resources.”
Moving forward, WWF also urges the upcoming Presidency to continue the group’s focus on marine pollution, calling for the definition of timeframes and responsibilities under the Action Plan on Marine Litter and concrete measures such as the development, funding and knowledge-sharing of national legal frameworks facilitating better integrated waste management systems through extended producer responsibility and sustainable financing.
On 1 December 2017, Argentina will take over the G20 Presidency and organize the G20 summit in 2018. It will be the second G20 summit to be held in Latin America.
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