BRICS meeting 22042015  Address by Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director at the First Official Meeting of Ministers of Environment of the BRICS Countries.

 2015- Your Excellency Sergey Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation.

Your Excellencies:

Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment, Brazil;

Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for the Environment, Forest & Climate Change, India;

Chen Jining. Minister of Environmental Protection, the People's Republic of China

Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, the Republic of South Africa

Esteemed guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

To begin, I would like to offer your Excellencies my warmest congratulations for the convening of the first BRICS Ministerial meeting on the Environment. I wish this inspiring initiative, whose seeds were sown at the inaugural UNEA last June, enduring success.

It is indeed a privilege to address this distinguished gathering and I extend my appreciation to you and the Russian Federation, our generous hosts, for this kind invitation.

UNEP has worked closely with BRICS nations though the past years, witnessing first-hand the leadership, vision and determination by BRICS governments to embrace a bold transition towards low carbon resource efficiency, inclusive green economic growth and overall sustainable development.

From Russia's energy-saving policies and India's ambitious renewable energy targets and forest-based budgeting to South Africa's Green Fund, Brazil's Sao Paulo sub-national green economy initiative and China's implementation of the Ecological Civilization, BRICS nations have been pioneering the green economy transition.

The establishment of environmental public-private partnership mechanisms in the context of the BRICS, taking the Saint Petersburg Initiative into account, will undoubtedly expedite and further strengthen the transition and will serve as a platform for knowledge sharing, technology transfer and investment.

Innovative financial mechanisms under the BRICS, such as the soon-to-be launched New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserves Arrangement, have the potential to not only ease short-term liquidity pressure and contribute to international financial stability, but also has the potential to construct an enduring green infrastructure, longer term competitiveness for the BRICS economies and strengthen South-South cooperation.

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