Environment and climate are priority areas of environmental policy cooperation between India and Germany.
One milestone is the Indo-German Partnership for Green and Sustainable Development, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signed in May 2022. It underscores and deepens the two countries' decades-long close and friendly cooperation in the field of environment and climate. In view of the current climate crisis, the increasing loss of biodiversity and the excessive pollution of air, water and soil, 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 Climate Action (BMWK), the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Environment (BMUV).
Outstanding among others is the International Climate Initiative (IKI), which has been funding projects in India since 2008 in the four areas of greenhouse gas mitigation, adaptation to the consequences of climate change, carbon sinks and forests (REDD+), and biodiversity. In addition to twelve ongoing and further planned bilateral IKI projects with a total volume of around 68 million euros, around 30 transnational and worldwide IKI projects are currently underway with India.
Also important is Indo-German cooperation under the BMUV “Marine Debris Framework - Regional hubs around the globe” (Marine:DeFRAG) with two major marine debris projects totaling over 10 million euros: The project Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment in the three selected cities of Kochi, Kanpur and Port Blair with the 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, monitor and reduce litter in marine ecosystems with Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
Furthermore, the Environmental Technologies Export Initiative (EXI) aims at exporting know-how available in Germany to support sustainable development worldwide, to promote technology applications and harmonized environmental standards, and to create suitable conditions for the successful and sustainable use of green technologies. In India, EXI supports projects in the field of environmental standards in the textile industry together with the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) and in the field of air pollution and circular economy in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmBH (GIZ), among others.
In addition, a major platform for bilateral environmental policy cooperation is the Indo-German Environment Forum (IGEnvF), which meets at ministerial level with the participation of business and civil society. The fourth Environment Forum under the leadership of Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Germany) and Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav (India) is going to take place in 2023.
During the 6th Indo-German Governmental Consultations in May 2022, Minister Yadav and Minister Lemke agreed on an important Joint Declaration on Cooperation in the Field of Forest Landscape Restoration. Both countries are cooperating intensively on the so-called Bonn Challenge, the global restoration of forests.
India and Germany are also working closely together in the field of biodiversity, 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 variety of native plants and animals are increasingly threatened, India is an indispensable and committed player in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which will be finally decided at the COP15 Biodiversity Conference.
India is equally indispensable at the annual climate conferences, because the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by countries so far are not sufficient to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) and are far from limiting global warming to 1.5° C compared to the pre-industrial era. Germany, the EU and India are fully behind the goals of the Paris Agreement.
In the run-up to conferences and negotiations and for regular dialogue, Germany and India can draw on existing working groups in the areas of climate, waste/cyclical economy, water and biodiversity, among others.