Moscow hosts the first meeting of the SCO environmental protection ministers

Today, on 27 September, a series of meetings and a gathering of the heads of environmental protection ministries and agencies of the SCO member states opened in Moscow. Participants are discussing prospects of practical cooperation with regard to the environmental agenda.

Russian Minister of Natural Resources Dmitry Kobylkin greeted the guests in the Russian capital.

“We have gone a long way since 2001 when the idea of a gathering for environmental protection ministers had just come to light. Apparently, the understanding of our common priorities and paramount tasks was our signal for starting our system-wide partnership,” commented Dmitry Kobylkin.

The Russian minister reminded the participants that during a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in 2018, the council adopted the SCO Concept for Cooperation that became a framework document, while in 2019 the countries’ leaders adopted A Plan of Action for 2019-2021 at a summit held in Bishkek.      

The Bishkek Declaration stresses the importance of preserving the environmental balance across the SCO and restoring the biodiversity in the interests of future generations, ensuring wellbeing of the population and sustainable development of territories.

“In 2001, it was Russia who proposed starting meetings of the heads of environmental protection ministries and agencies of the SCO member states. We appreciate your support and involvement,” the Russian Minister of Natural Resources stressed.        

“Protection of the environment is a priority for leading industrial countries in the SCO,” noted Bakhtiyer Khakimov, Russia's Special Presidential Envoy on SCO Affairs, during his welcome remarks. “The SCO countries account for over 20 percent of the global GDP and the successful resolution of this global issue is largely dependent on our concerted efforts.”

It is expected that there will be reports given by representatives from China, India and Kazakhstan as well as heads of authorized agencies and departments from Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the SCO Secretariat.

For the purpose of developing and improving the regulatory and the legal framework in the field of environmental protection, the participants will exchange opinions on the draft programme of environmental wellbeing of the SCO cities prepared by Russia. The discussion is expected to result in adopting two important documents, a joint communique on cooperation and the programme of environmental wellbeing of the SCO cities.