Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj, Kapil Moreshwar Patil addressed G20 delegates in the inaugural session of the Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group in Mumbai
“The impacts of degrading biodiversity and the environment are becoming increasingly apparent globally, presenting significant obstacles to preserving development progress and promoting well-being and prosperity. It is therefore imperative for G20 countries to collectively address the interrelated matters of climate change and biodiversity loss through joint international efforts. India’s G20 Presidency is committed to being inclusive, ambitious, decisive, and action-oriented” said Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj, Kapil Moreshwar Patil. He was presenting the inaugural address on the second day of the third meeting of the G20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG).
Patil praised the ECSWG's efforts in the areas of climate change and environmental challenges. He stated that the ECSWG has been actively working towards meaningful achievements across its specified thematic goals and seeks to forge a successful consensus-driven statement.
Pointing to the importance of involving rural communities in protecting the environment, the Minister said, “To attain sustainable development, it is crucial that we focus not only on the urban centers but also on the well-being and progress of our rural communities. Rural areas, with heavy reliance on agriculture are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Changing rainfall patterns, droughts and water scarcity, heatwaves and extreme temperatures, and increased extreme weather events have posed serious challenges to the livelihood, food security, and overall well-being of the rural communities.”
The minister went on to add, “In this regard, it is important to mention that the Ministry of Local Self Government, i.e Ministry of Panchayati Raj, is anchoring the process of localising Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, in local self institutions, i.e., Panchayati Raj Institutions. To this end, it has been our endeavour to bring together different stakeholder groups at one forum in a ‘Whole-of-Government’ & ‘Whole-of-Society’ approach.” He cited the Vibrant Village Assemblies programme and the Revamped Incentivisation of Panchayats as examples.
He concluded by stating that the quest to ensure a secure future for the planet requires collaboration amongst nations.
Leena Nandan, G20 India Chair and Secretary, MoEFCC, extended gratitude to the delegates in her opening remarks for actively participating in the first two ECSWG meetings as well as several rounds of virtual discussions in the interim. She noted, with a firm resolve to be collaborative and inclusive, that the Indian Presidency had undertaken a series of Focus Group Discussions across all three thematic themes over the previous three weeks, where the output materials were discussed line-by-line. She also praised the G20 members for their deep involvement and devotion to the cause, noting that their participation had followed a positive process during the Presidency and made the conversations thus far beneficial.
She asked the G20 countries to continue participating in order to secure inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, and decisive outcomes as the Working Group approaches the end of its tenure under the India Presidency.
The ECSWG's operating model is based on a consensus-driven approach. Ms. Nandan provided feedback to the delegates on the draft Ministerial Communique, stating that as the ECSWG meetings progress, the current meeting is critical for the process of further aligning on the Communique and other thematic outcome documents to begin. She also used this opportunity to conduct a rapid overview of the work made thus far on the thematic priorities, and she requested that the countries agree on the results for the thematic priorities.
Nandan also conducted a news conference at the end of day two to brief the media. She stated during the meeting, “The ECSWG is committed to facilitating tangible outcomes that will build a good foundation before the baton is passed on to the next Presidency. The discussions held during the ECSWG meetings are expected to contribute to the G20 Leader’s Summit to be held later this year.”