The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a health and economic crisis, the full extent of which is still to be revealed. The Nordic environment ministers are very keen to make sure that the conditions are as favourable as possible for a green recovery of the economy and higher climate ambitions as COP26 approaches.
With these goals in mind, it is important to promote interest in green solutions by private investors as well as via Nordic co-operation focusing on the green recovery of the Nordic economies.
The opportunities to generate international momentum by mobilising more global green investments were discussed at a concluding roundtable session involving the ministers and Nordic pension companies.
“We are at a climate crossroads. It is absolutely crucial that we keep the focus on green solutions, and I am so pleased with the signals from the meeting today. Everyone agreed that we must actively pursue synergies between economic recovery and green transition,” says Dan Jørgensen, the Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities.
Support for the presidency of COP26
A representative of the British Presidency of COP26 also attended today’s meeting The Nordic ministers took the opportunity to express their unconditional support for British efforts to host an ambitious climate conference.
This support will be followed by a formal declaration.
Declaration on a global chemicals and waste agreement
At the meeting, the ministers also signed a declaration stating their ambitious recommendations for the upcoming negotiations on a global chemicals and waste agreement. The current global agreement for the safe handling of chemicals, SAICM*, is due to be renewed at the International Conference on Chemical Management (ICCM5) in Bonn in July 2021.
“I am glad that we are making a strong Nordic recommendation and particularly pleased about our joint commitment to a global framework for the safe management of chemicals and waste. It may have a major positive impact on our shared environment,” says Lea Wermelin, the Danish Minister for the Environment.
A concrete and important contribution
The declaration addresses circular production and waste regulation, identifies the need for a shared and binding ownership that involves governments, the private sector, industry and civil society and stresses that the rising use of chemicals is a major global environmental challenge that must be addressed now.
The declaration is a concrete and important contribution to the development of ambitious international co-operation in chemicals.
Roadmap for marine waste and microplastics
The ministers also agreed to continue efforts to promote the ambitious goal of a globally binding agreement on marine waste and micro-plastics. They adopted a roadmap for working towards the UN Environment Assembly in February 2021, when a global plastics agreement on marine protection will be on the agenda.
The work is in line with the Nordic ministerial declaration from 2019: ”Nordic ministerial declaration on the call for a global agreement to combat marine plastic litter and microplastics”.
“Global and transnational challenges like marine waste are best solved through strong international co-operation, and as Nordic environment ministers we are helping to set the international agenda on the environment. Nordic environmental co-operation is exemplary and an important building block towards a globally binding instrument,” says Lea Wermelin, Danish Minister of the Environment.
*Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) is a political, non-legally binding instrument designed to ensure that chemicals are used in ways that are safe for the environment, human health and our workplaces. The voluntary approach and broad involvement of many sectors and interest groups strengthens and shares the sense of ownership and implementation of SAICM, including in the private sector.