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From IISD's SDG Knowledge Hub

21 September 2018: The Group of 7 (G7) environment, oceans and energy ministers met on the theme, ‘Working Together on Climate Change, Oceans and Clean Energy.’ The meeting marked the first time a G7 ministerial meeting linked together the three issues, and the first time Canada hosted the G7 environment ministers. Ministers addressed, inter alia, transitions to a low-emissions economy, ocean plastics and developing sustainable energy sources.

The ministerial meeting took place from 19-21 September 2018 in Halifax, Canada.

On 19 September, G7 environment ministers addressed, inter alia: long-term economic transitions to a low-carbon economy; circular economy and resource efficiency; urgent action on climate change, including opportunities to reduce emissions and climate finance; and adaptation and the conservation of nature. The meeting also discussed implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement on climate change, which are expected to be adopted at the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018. [Chair’s Summary: G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting]

On 20 September, the G7 Joint Ministerial Session on ‘Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Communities’ brought together environment and oceans ministers to discuss, inter alia, ways to advance the priorities identified in the Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities.’ More specifically, the meeting discussed: addressing marine plastic pollution through social and technological innovation; supporting sustainable oceans and fisheries by combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; increasing ocean knowledge by expanding global observation efforts as well as sharing scientific data; and supporting innovative solutions and financing to develop clean and resilient energy systems in vulnerable coastal communities.

The meeting also addressed the Ocean Plastics Charter, launched at the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Canada, in June 2018, where five of the G7 leaders and the EU agreed to the charter. The agreement requires broader international commitment to stop using oceans as open dumps, with more than half of the waste coming from non-G7 Asian countries. Further collaboration on these issues is expected to continue at the global level during the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference that Canada is co-hosting in Nairobi, Kenya, from 26-28 November 2018. [Chairs’ Summary: G7 Joint Ministerial Session on Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Communities] [G7 Innovation Challenge to Address Marine Plastic Litter] [Ocean Hub Press Release]

During the ministerial, Canada committed to divert at least 75% of plastic waste from government operations by 2030.

The G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council also made a presentation, noting the crosscutting nature of gender equality, the importance of accounting for the disproportionate impact of climate change on women and girls, and the need to support women’s leadership on climate and oceans issues. [GEAC Recommendations]

In addition, the winners of the Oceans Youth Innovation Challenge and representatives of the Oceans Partnership Summit made presentations. The G7 Ocean Partnership Summit, which convened on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting from 19-20 September, addressed coastal resilience, marine litter and sustainable fisheries, and showcased concrete actions in these areas.

On 21 September, discussions during the G7 energy ministers’ meeting addressed ‘Building the Energy Systems of Tomorrow (BEST),’ focusing on: developing sustainable energy resources; preparing the workforce; promoting interconnected, open, transparent and stable energy markets; and modernizing power systems. In addition, the meeting discussed the transition away from fossil fuels and offshore energy development, gender equality in the energy sector, and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025. The meeting agreed on two joint initiatives on advancing collaboration on cybersecurity and modernization of power systems. [Chair’s Summary: G7 Energy Ministers’ Meeting]

During its Presidency, Canada has been promoting strong engagement with domestic and international partners, the private sector, and indigenous peoples and local communities to advance climate action, accelerate clean energy innovation and commercialization, and mobilize action on oceans health and resilience. During the environment, oceans and energy ministerial, Canada committed to, inter alia: investing up to C$11.6 million to combat IUU fishing; diverting at least 75% of plastic waste from government operations by 2030; and providing C$60 million to help small island developing States (SIDS) “build back better” after extreme weather events by, for example, accelerating their transition to cleaner energy systems. [Canada’s Oceans Agenda] [Government of Canada Press Release]

The G7 Leaders’ Summit convened from 8-9 June in Charlevoix, Canada. Canada holds the G7 Presidency until 31 December 2018 when France will take over. The G7 is an informal grouping of seven of the world’s advanced economies, consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and the EU. [G7 Press Release] [G7 Ministerial Meeting Website] [G7 Public Engagement Paper: Working Together on Climate Change, Oceans and Clean Energy] [Canada’s 2018 G7 Presidency Website]