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CCGE Issues Recommendations on Goals for Poverty, Sustainability

21 February 2013: At the annual meeting of the Commonwealth Consultative Group on Environment (CCGE), ministers discussed progress on Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7, on ensuring environmental sustainability, and considered options for prioritizing environmental protection and sustainability in the post-2015 development agenda.

The CCGE met on 18 February 2013, in Nairobi, Kenya, on the sidelines of the 27th session of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC27/GMEF).

According to the CCGE Chair's Summary, many Commonwealth countries have made progress on increasing the availability of safe drinking water, achieving wider access to clean water and eliminating ozone depleting substances (ODS). Ministers identified several remaining challenges, including access to basic sanitation, biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Susil Premajayantha, Sri Lanka's Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy, who chaired the meeting, said developing countries face challenges in addressing “the adverse impact of climate change, access to energy and drinking water, food security and poverty."

In the summary, ministers highlight several lessons learned from the MDGs. First, they support global goals and targets that can be adapted to regional, national and local circumstances. Second, they recommend that policymakers recognize environmental sustainability as a stand-alone goal. Third, noting that climate change and energy have not been “fully embraced in the current MDG framework,” they recommend better integration of climate change and energy. Finally, ministers support improved data and institutional capacities to monitor progress and track implementation.

Ministers also discussed how to address these challenges through the UN's post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They supported, inter alia: the green economy concept, and greater synergies between energy and environment policy.

Cyrus Rustomjee, Director of Economic Affairs, the Commonwealth Secretariat, announced that the Commonwealth soon will launch a Commonwealth Environment and Climate Change Network to support countries in information sharing.

The CCGE convenes annually in conjunction with the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) or UNEP Governing Council meetings. [CCGE Press Release] [Publication: Summary Statement by the Chair] [CCGE Website] [IISD RS Sources]