UNEP expects BRICS environment meeting to spur green energy

UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) said environment ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) meeting in Russia Wednesday are expected to agree on steps to boost environmental cooperation and the way forward in tackling the climate change threat.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said the BRICS Environment Summit is expected to draw the worldwide attention on the need for faster economic transformation, using “green energy” initiatives to lessen current environmental threats.

“Without pre-empting the outcome of this summit, I would like to state that economic transformation and issues of environmental sustainability have moved to the centre-stage. They reflect the fact that green economy initiatives are of particular relevance to economic transformation,” Steiner said.

Chinese Minister of Environmental Protection Chen Jining and the South African Minister of Water and Environment Edna Molewa, are expected to lead a discussion on the areas of environmental cooperation between the BRICS countries and the future prospects of the environmental cooperation.

“This is an opportunity. We are looking at the opportunities for economic development in future that help to address the resource constraints through the development of renewable energy,” Steiner said in Nairobi before heading to the BRICS environmental Summit underway in Russia.

The first official meeting of the environment ministers of BRICS discussed the topic of green economy development and how the BRICS countries could cooperate in tackling the threat of climate change.

The summit is expected to endorse the “Saint Petersburg Initiative” which will now provide the future platform for the sharing of green technologies and how these new technologies could be regulated.

“China is taking the lead in green technologies and renewable energy. They have contributed to the reduced prices of renewable energy technologies,” Steiner said.

“We are aware that global demand for energy will affect the global energy markets. That is the reason we need socially and economically sociable ways to speak towards this notable transformation,” he said.

The UNEP top executive said BRICS could become a key driver for the positive economic transformation of the Asian economies.

In Africa, China has already taken the lead through its International Ecosystems Management Partnership, a joint initiative with UNEP, to help African countries to deal with environmental challenges through improved use of scientific knowledge in handling issues such as climate change.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC) are currently cooperating with UNEP to finance various pilot projects in Africa.

Projects in the field of ecosystems management, aiming to prevent desertification, are underway in Mauritania, to handle management of desert ecosystems, in Nepal, mountain ecosystems and Seychelles, handling coastal ecosystems, through transfer of knowledge through Chinese institutions.

Steiner said with “bold steps” taken by China and other BRICS countries to deal with the environmental threats through increased investments in green energy initiatives, the BRICS Summit would play a critical role in ensuring a “low carbon future” for the entire world.

Meanwhile, the BRICS Summit is also expected to provide fresh impetus to the upcoming U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties meeting in Paris later this year, at which efforts would be made to arrive at a binding agreement on tackling climate change.

“We look forward to this conference of Parties as a forum for collective response to climate change,” Steiner said. “These types of conferences enable countries to move faster. We need accelerated efforts to stay within the 2 degrees Celsius limit. Countries must therefore act within their means.”

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