South Africa, through the Department of Environmental Affairs, will host the fourth BRICS meeting of Ministers of Environment under the theme:Strengthening cooperation on Circular Economy amongst BRICS Countries, from 17 – 18 May 2018 at Fairmont Zimbali Resort, in Durban.
The BRICS Forum comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and focuses on key strategic global issues such as the global economy, trade, peace and security and reform of multi-lateral institutions.
The forum also engages on issues related to Agenda 2030 as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the inclusion of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), adopted in July 2015 with the aim of addressing the challenges of financing and creating an enabling environment for Sustainable Development.
The two day meeting will provide a platform for deliberations on matters that will strengthen cooperation on various environmental issues, with strong focus on circular economy amongst BRICS Countries. This is in line with the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on environmental cooperation between the member countries.
South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa is confident that the engagements will provide invaluable environment inputs into the forthcoming 10th BRICS Summit which will be attended by Heads of State from the grouping scheduled for July 2018. “We are absolutely confident that our deliberations, particularly with a focus on Circular Economy, will enable all the country members to collectively work together in ensuring an inclusive growth and shared prosperity,” said Minister Molewa.
Minister Molewa also believes that “achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources.”
In a Linear Economy, resources are extracted, processed using energy and labour, and sold as goods with the expectation that customers will discard those goods and buy more. This trajectory has exposed the wastefulness of such take–make–dispose systems. It is in response to such wastefulness that Circular Economy, which is in line with SDG12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production, is conceptualised, with a conviction that it can successfully turn ‘waste into worth”, where nothing is supposed to be lost, while attaching value to “waste”, thereby bringing the resources back to the market.
“Circular economy promotes a principle that what can be a waste to someone could be a resource to the next person,” said Minister Molewa.
The 4th BRICS Environment Ministers’ meeting will also touch on the exploration of the contribution of the environment to the development of the Oceans Economy, through which South Africa aims to unlock economic opportunities within the oceans environment.