Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic

Environment ministers on climate protection, water and forthcoming negotiations on biodiversity in Mexico

Climate protection, water and forthcoming international negotiations on biodiversity held in Mexico dominated the meeting of ministers for the environment, led by the Slovak Minister for the Environment, László Sólymos.

For the first time, ministers discussed new legislative proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the non-ETS sectors. These sectors include transport, waste, agriculture, forest land-use and other small sources of emissions, including buildings. Ministers answered the questions presented by the Slovak Presidency concerning the proposal on binding annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by the Member States and the proposal on inclusion of emissions and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases from land use, land-use change and forestry in the framework of 2030 climate and energy policies.

‘The last weeks witnessed a breakthrough for climate protection policy, thanks to ratification of the EU Paris Agreement and a fresh agreement on amendment of the Montreal Protocol. It is high time for us in Europe to start meeting our international commitments. Therefore I welcome the first ministerial debate on new commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This debate was crucial for further progress in these key initiatives,’ said László Sólymos.

The minister expressed his satisfaction with a further success of the Presidency, with the Council adopting conclusions on sustainable water management as a follow-up to the July conference and informal ministerial meeting on water held in Bratislava as a national priority of the Slovak Presidency.

‘Water is a precious and depletable natural resource. It affects land management and worsening of climate change. I am glad that ministers have supported a national theme that we chose. By adoption of conclusions on sustainable water management we have sent a strong and timely signal of our intention to continue in full implementation of water legislation.’
Several important international meetings on the environment have already taken place and will take place under the Slovak Presidency. At their meeting, ministers established the EU’s position on biodiversity ahead of the meeting of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to be held in Mexico from 7 to 14 December 2016.

‘Biodiversity is vital for our life and lives of future generations and functioning of ecosystems. Man is a part of these ecosystems and it is in our own interest to act on the international scene to stop biodiversity loss. With today’s decision we have proved our unwavering support for a successful outcome of the Mexico Round,’ stressed László Sólymos in relation to the Presidency’s efforts.

There were several important contributions at the meeting, including information from the meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) held in Montreal, Canada, where there was agreement on the first sectoral instrument for reducing emissions in aviation, and from the recent meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda, where the participants approved an international agreement on reducing emissions with a heavy impact on the climate.