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EU-India Joint Declaration on Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy

Posted on: July 16, 2020 | Back | Print

The Republic of India and the European Union face common environmental challenges and consider itimportant to worktogether to successfully address them.The Joint Statement adopted at the EU-India Summit on 6 October 2017 notably mentioned the ambitionto "reconcile economic growth and environmental protection".

In that regard, both sides consider that enhancing resource efficiency and moving towards a more circular economic model that reduces primary resource consumption, striving towards non-toxic material cycles, and enhances the use of secondary raw materials is important, notably in the context of the post COVID-19 economic recovery efforts that can provide an opportunity to accelerate this transition.

This is also necessary to contribute to the implementation of the '2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development'and to the SustainableDevelopments Goals (SDGs), that largely depend on moving towards greatercircular economy and resource efficiency. Decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation (SDG target 8.4) and from increased resources consumption will not be possible without strong action by both sides. Ambitious resource efficiency strategies and circular economy policiescan also make a substantial contribution to the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) commitments of both sides under the Paris Agreement as well as to a more sustainable energy system.

Some steps in that regard were already taken by both the EU and India, including:

- the "European Green Deal” ,the new growth strategy for Europe, sets out Europe’s commitment to tackle climate and environment-related challenges, with the objective to ensure that there will be no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and that economic growth is decoupled from resource use. A range of programmes and policies will be presented, including a new Circular Economy Action Plan stimulating the design of sustainable products, services and business models so that waste is minimised, and focussing on resource-intensive sectors such as textiles, construction, electronics and plastics.

- the 'Strategy on Resource Efficiency' prepared by the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, the Government of India, the Inter-departmental group established to ensure its implementation and mainstream the Resource Efficiency agenda in allied Ministries, the Resource Efficiency Cell established by Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change with a view to set up an enabling Resource Efficiency policy framework.

Further international cooperation on research, technological development and innovation is necessary to achieve the transition towards more resource and energy efficient circular economies and between the EU and India in particular.

Considering that ashared vision to foster cost-effective and affordable technological solutions, policies and practices for more resource efficient and circular economy is beneficial for both sides, the Republic of India and the European Union have reached the following understanding:

I. OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this Joint Declaration is to establishan India-EU Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy Partnership (hereafter "The Partnership”), bringing together representatives of relevant stakeholders from both sides, including governments, businesses (including start-ups), academia and research institutes .

The Partnership should support and strengthen:

1. dialogue and cooperation between both sides on resource efficiency and circular economy;

2. the respective capacity of both sidesto implement global commitments in the framework of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement, and to advocate for bold transformational developments in relevant multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and fora (such as United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Environment Assembly, the G20 resource efficiency dialogue);

3. the design, planning, implementation, promotion and dissemination of policies, strategies, technologies, business solutions and financing mechanisms on resource efficiency and circular economy;

4. cooperation on research and innovation on topics which will facilitate and speed up the implementation of resource efficiency and circular economy policies, notably through collaborative research and joint actions in areas of mutual interest;

5. strategic exchanges on best practices and available technologies– notably digital - on circular economy and resource efficiency in key areas, including building and construction, food, garment and textiles, the mobility sector, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, renewable energy, circular business and service models, sustainable public procurement and waste management (including re-use, repair and recycling), inter alia with respect to construction and demolition waste, electric and electronic waste, plastics and marine litter, and cooperation on ship recycling.

II. AREAS OF COOPERATION

Both sides endeavour:

1. to strengthen ongoing dialogues by exchanging views, policies, regulatory and standardisation approaches, management systems and policy tools, governance, best practices, business solutions, market access and joint research and innovation opportunities in the field of resource efficiency, energy efficiency and circular economy;

2. to promote exchange of know-how and capacities, best practices, access to and dissemination of technologies and best practicesfor a resource-efficient and circular economy and to exchange views and experiences on mobilising funding by leveraging, where relevant, on EU India cooperation under the International Platform for Sustainable Finance, and encouraging joint cooperation on research and innovation related to resource efficiency, energy efficiency and circular economy.

3. to build on the work carried out by EU Members States in these fields and to cooperate in coordination with other relevant players involved in India's resource efficiency and circular economy agenda.

III. FORMS OF COOPERATION AND IMPLEMENTATION

1.Both sides endeavour to steer the Partnership through policy dialogues to be held on a periodic basis according to an agreed timeline.

2. The Partnership should be led by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in cooperation with relevant Indian stakeholders for India and by the Delegation of the European Union to India in cooperation with the European Commission for the EU.

3. Both sides should facilitate the involvement of other relevant stakeholders/partners in this Partnership to ensure a comprehensive approach.

4. To further support the Partnership, both sides intend to reinforce dialogue and cooperation in research and innovation on topics relevant to the objectives of this Partnership. The related activities should operate in the framework of the EU-India Agreement on Science and Technology as implemented by the Joint Steering Committee for Science & Technology taking into account the policy objectives in other sectoral dialogues notably on climate change and energy.

5. The Partnership should elaborate an action-oriented work programme that should contribute to achieving its objectives. The initial work programme should be agreed during the first dialogue on resource efficiency and circular economy.

6. Progress on the implementation of this Partnership should be regularly assessed, at-least once every year, by both sides as appropriate. Future work programmes should be agreed according to the results of these assessments as well asupcoming challenges and opportunities whilst taking into account respective capabilities.

7. Specific project activities under this Partnership may be supported through the EU’s ongoing and future technical cooperation projects. In addition, both sides should use existing/available financial instruments or initiatives to promote inclusive sustainable development andactively explore additional funding possibilities from all available sources for deployment of projects under this Partnership.

8. In the framework of this Partnership, both sides endeavour to actively support business-to-business and business-to-science dialogues, also in view of the deployment of research and innovation actions,and existing and new technologies, enhancing circular economy and resource efficiency, both in the EU and Indian market.

9. The Partnership intends to explore the possible involvement of the European Investment Bank as well as EU Member States development agencies, financial and other relevant institutions for implementation of resource efficiency and circular economy related projects.

IV. FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS

Both sides will bear their own expenses arising from the cooperation activities carried out under this Joint Declaration and the proposed Partnership.

V. NON-BINDING CHARACTER

This Joint Declaration does not create any legal or financial obligations under domestic or international law in respect of either side.