“When the time comes to kickstart the global economy again in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, it will be crucial to incorporate thinking about the green transition as an engine of recovery,” Nordic ministers announced after a meeting on 30 April. They also took the opportunity to express their unconditional support for the United Kingdom’s preparations for the postponed COP26 as well as discuss collaboration on green investment mobilisation.
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.
“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,” said Dan Jørgensen, the Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities in a Nordic Co-Operation press release.
Everyone agreed that we must actively pursue synergies between economic recovery and green transition” – Dan Jørgensen, the Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities
Mobilising more green investments
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. Focus for the discussion was not only on how to solve the climate crisis but also how institutional investors can contribute to the recovery of pandemic affected economies in a climate-friendly way.
“The political response to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic must reap the synergies between job creation and climate action. Huge amounts of money will be mobilised to boost our economies, and we must seize that as an opportunity to tip the scales from black to green. Institutional investors will play a key role in making the recovery a green one,” said Dan Jørgensen, Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities in Denmark in a Climate Investment Coalition press release.
“Financial commitments from institutional investors are required to fund the transition to a net-zero economy in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Given the current pandemic and its impact on economies globally, these investments can now have even more impact. It is important to also see green investments as a key approach to help stimulate and regenerate the economy”, said Chairman of IIGCC, Peter Damgaard Jensen.
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 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,” said Lea Wermelin, the Danish Minister for the Environment.
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,” said Lea Wermelin, Danish Minister of the Environment.
Support for the presidency of COP26
A representative of the British Presidency of COP26 also attended the 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.