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03.12.2020 - Article

Environment and climate are priority areas of environmental policy cooperation between India and Germany. The two countries have been working closely together in the fields of environment and climate for many years.

In New Delhi, Federal Minister Svenja Schulze visited the upcycling business Green the Map on the fringes of the Indo-German Environment Forum.
In New Delhi, Federal Minister Svenja Schulze visited the upcycling business “Green the Map” on the fringes of the Indo-German Environment Forum.© BMU/Cornelia Marschel

Environment and climate are priority areas of environmental policy cooperation between India and Germany.

The two countries have been working closely together in the fields of environment and climate for many years. In view of the current climate crisis and the increasing loss of biological diversity, these issues are more important than ever.

The German Government is active in the field of climate and environment in India through various ministries, including the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). BMU has been supporting projects in the country for over 11 years as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) in the four areas of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to the impacts of climate change, conserving natural carbon sinks & forests (REDD+), and biodiversity. In addition to ten current and further planned bilateral IKI projects with a total volume of around EUR 68 Million, 33 transnational IKI projects are currently running in India.

Chancellor Merkel visits metro station Dwarka Sector – 21 in Delhi that runs on solar power and was funded as part of IKI project ComSolar
Chancellor Merkel visits metro station Dwarka Sector – 21 in Delhi that runs on solar power and was funded as part of IKI project ComSolar© German Embassy New Delhi

An important platform for bilateral environmental policy cooperation is the Indo-German Environment Forum (IGEnvF), which met last time in New Delhi in February 2019 with Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze along with the participation of business and civil society. Environment and climate were also important topics at the last intergovernmental consultation in early November 2019, where Prime Minister Modi and his government in New Delhi warmly welcomed Chancellor Merkel and her cabinet. Several joint declarations of intent were signed, including the one on the prevention of marine litter. 

Before the Corona epidemic turned into a pandemic in mid-March, the Indian city of Gandhinagar was outstanding host of the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) from 15 to 22 February 2020. State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth represented Germany. With over 3,000 participants, it was not only the largest CMS COP to date in the super year for nature and biodiversity, but also the last major conference of States in 2020. CMS COP 13 was intended to build a bridge in terms of space, time and content to the now postponed 15th UN Conference on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China, from 17-30 May 2021. By then the so-called Post-2020 Biodiversity Strategy for the next decade must be ready for adoption, which is essential in view of the unchecked decline in biodiversity. As a country with high biodiversity and four so-called biodiversity hotspots, including the Himalayas, where the natural environment and livelihoods of a significant number of native plants and animals are increasingly threatened, India is an indispensable and active actor in the process of the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework.

At the 11th Petersberg Climate Dialogue from 27 to 28 April 2020, Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and experienced climate negotiator, emphasized in his digital welcome message that both the environmental crisis and the Covid pandemic present the world community with a common task. In this respect, even though COP26 Glasgow has been postponed to 2021, the possible increase of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the submission of Long Term Strategies (LTS) in 2020 as foreseen by the Paris Agreement are still of high importance. This is because the NDCs submitted by States so far are not sufficient to achieve the Paris 2°-target and are far from limiting global warming to 1.5° compared to the pre-industrial age. EU/Germany and India stand fully behind the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Thus, India and Germany can draw on four existing working groups in the fields of climate, waste & circular economy, water, and biodiversity.

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