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03.09.2021 - 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 Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) and 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. As part of the IKI, BMU is funding 11 bilateral projects (funding volume € 38.1 million) and 36 multi-country projects with India participation. In addition, bilateral projects with the amount of a total of € 45 million are planned.

Furthermore, BMU is funding two marine litter projects: The project Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment for the need of holistic integrated solid waste management in the three selected cities of Kochi, Kanpur and Port Blair with Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA); and the project Circular Economy Solutions Preventing Marine Litter in Ecosystems aiming to demonstrate technological approaches to track and monitor litter in marine ecosystems with Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). In addition, the BMU is funding projects under the Export Initiative for Green Technologies (EXI) in India. EXI aims at exporting know-how available in Germany to support sustainable development worldwide, to promote technology applications and harmonized environmental standards, and finally to create suitable conditions for the successful and sustainable use of green technologies.

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.

Both India and Germany want to foster climate action and bring further momentum to climate policy negotiations ahead of the COP26 UN Climate Summit postponed to 1-12 November 2021. In this respect, the possible increase of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the submission of Long Term Strategies (LTS) as foreseen by the Paris Agreement are of high importance. This is because the NDCs submitted by States so far are not sufficient to achieve the Paris 1,5°-target. Germany and India stand fully behind the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

To enhance climate action and tackle environmental challenges the two ministries of environment work closely in four working groups in the fields of (a) climate, (b) waste & circular economy, (c) water, and (d) biodiversity.

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