On 27 September 2019, Moscow hosted a meeting of the heads of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation member states' environmental protection ministries and agencies.
Participants in the event included Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of the Republic of India Prakash Javadekar, Deputy Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan Akhmetzhan Primkulov, Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment of the People's Republic of China Zhai Qing, Director of the State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry under the Government of Kyrgyzstan Mirslav Amankulov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Russian Federation Qazi M. Khalilullah, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kobylkin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tajikistan to the Russian Federation Imomuddin Sattorov and Chairman of the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan Bakhrom Kuchkarov.
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kobylkin chaired the meeting.
Deputy SCO Secretary-General Sherali Jonon attended the meeting.
The heads of SCO member states' delegations noted that, in the ten-plus years of SCO environmental protection activities, the sides had created considerable potential for cooperation between SCO countries. They noted the importance of passing the SCO Concept for Cooperation in Environmental Protection and an action plan for implementing this concept as fundamental documents for launching initial practical cooperation.
The sides exchanged opinions on a wide range of matters in the area of environmental protection, including the most pressing matters of the ecological well-being of SCO member states' cities. They discussed the relevant policies and measures needed to improve the environment in major cities, including industrial and cultural centres, at national and regional levels. They underscored the role of international cooperation in exchanging experience and best practices and agreed on the following:
1. To jointly implement cooperation projects in the areas prioritised in the SCO Concept for Cooperation in Environmental Protection and in the action plan for implementing this concept.
Aiming to more actively coordinate cooperation in the area of environmental protection and practical collaboration and also aiming to establish an SCO venue
for exchanging information on environmental protection, the sides will look into the possibility of establishing thematic expert groups of SCO member states in the following fields:
— preservation of biodiversity;
— adapting to climate change and mitigating its consequences;
— waste management;
— raising the level of environmental education at all levels;
— scientific and technological cooperation in the area of environmental protection.
2. Due to the vulnerability of the urban population to anthropogenic impact on urban ecosystems, the sides approved a draft programme for expanding the ecological well-being of SCO cities and instructed experts to study the options for its practical implementation.
3. Recognising the need to channel investment into environmental protection and finance joint projects and programmes aimed at improving the quality of the environment, the sides agreed to instruct experts from SCO member states' environmental protection ministries and agencies to study the relevant proposals in the format of their consultations.
The sides noted the high standard of the meeting's organisation and thanked the Russian side for the warm reception.
This Joint Communiqué was passed on 27 September 2019 in Moscow. The Republic of Tajikistan will host the next meeting in 2020.