G7 Ministers Recommit to SDGs, Joint Action on Climate, Environment, Energy

In the lead up to World Environment Day on 5 June, Development ministers from the seven leading industrial nations – Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US, and from the EU – reaffirmed their commitment to the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), and the Paris Agreement on climate change amidst the “multiple crises endangering safety, well-being and prosperity across the world.” The Group of 7 (G7) environment ministers committed to phase out coal-fired power generation and achieve “predominantly decarbonized” electricity sectors by 2035.

In a 23-page communiqué, the Group of 7 (G7) development ministers recognize the “simultaneously occurring setbacks” caused by conflict, climate change, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, poverty, food and energy insecurity, and the COVID-19 pandemic, among other crises, and commit to protecting “open, inclusive international cooperation that leaves no one behind.”

The ministers “condemn the Russian Federation’s unjustifiable, unprovoked and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine,” express concern about its “far-reaching” economic, social, food security, and political consequences both regionally and globally, and commit to invest in a better future and strong societies.

The ministers express concern about the rising global food insecurity and food price inflation. They welcome the establishment of the UN Global Crisis Response Group by the UN Secretary-General and support the 19 May joint launch of the Global Alliance for Food Security by the G7 Presidency and the World Bank Group. The ministers stress the need to ensure that the G7’s response to address food security helps “strengthen, and not undermine, the long-term resilience and sustainability of agriculture and food systems.”

The ministers acknowledge that the “existential threat” posed by climate change, water insecurity, land degradation, biodiversity loss, and pollution puts the success of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement at risk. They support establishing “ambitious alliances” for climate, environment, and development, including strong alliances with emerging economies and developing countries, and underscore the need for global efforts to scale up climate and disaster risk finance and insurance. The ministers also recognize – for the first time in a G7 communiqué – the “urgent need for scaling-up action and support” to address economic and non-economic loss and damage associated with climate change.

The ministers support a “transformative” post-2020 global biodiversity framework, with ambitious targets, strengthened implementation, and enhanced reporting and review. They express the G7’s commitment to “mainstreaming, enhancing and scaling up the implementation of Nature-based Solutions,” and recognize Indigenous Peoples and local communities for their role in addressing biodiversity loss, global health challenges, and climate change.

The ministers further support future-oriented infrastructure investments for sustainable development and a socially just transition towards a greener and more resilient future, supported by a “feminist development policy.” To achieve these goals, they undertake to “keep the SDGs strongly at the centre of [their] agendas.”

In a 39-page climate, energy, and environment ministers’ communiqué, the ministers recognize the importance of achieving the 2030 Agenda in its entirety, and commit to “leveraging the synergies between climate and biodiversity action, the clean energy transition and environmental protection,” to enable long-term transformative change. They further commit to implement policies and strategies to align financial flows with combating the “triple global crisis” of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

The ministers underscore the importance of protecting and restoring ecosystems to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and to keep the 1.5°C temperature rise limit “within reach.” They stress the need to align “biodiversity-friendly and nature-positive policies on land-use, land-use change and forestry” with the goals of the Paris Agreement, the future post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and the Rio Conventions to reach climate and biodiversity objectives.

The G7 ministers commit, for the first time, to “predominantly decarbonized” electricity sectors by 2035 and to phasing out coal-fired power generation. With respect to climate and energy transition, they highlight actions on, inter alia: closing the gap for 1.5°C; mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage; climate finance, including doubling the provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing countries by 2025; carbon markets; and collaborative climate and energy action.

With respect to the environment, the ministers state their position on:

  • The protection, conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of biodiversity and the ocean;
  • Increasing resource efficiency and transforming economies towards circularity;
  • Sustainable management of chemicals and waste under SDG target 12.4, including a forthcoming EU-US workshop to “take stock of G7 activities and develop possible options for future work and cooperation on sources of lead to reduce lead exposure in developing countries”; and
  • Implementing environmental sustainability through supply chains.

The G7 development ministers met from 18-19 May 2022, and the climate, energy, and environment ministers from 26-27 May, in Berlin, Germany. The G7 German Presidency will convene the G7 Leaders’ Summit from 26-28 June 2022 at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps. [G7 Development Ministers’ Meeting Communiqué: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Times of Multiple Crises] [Press Release by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on Development Ministers’ Meeting] [Meetings of the G7 Development Ministers] [G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers’ Communiqué] [Press Release by Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection] [Meetings of Environment, Climate, and Energy Ministers]