The 12th meeting of the Sino-German Working Group on Environment and Climate Change (SGWG) was held virtually on 27 April 2023. The meeting was chaired by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) Deputy Director General (DG) of Climate Foreign Policy, Mr Norbert Gorißen, and the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) Director General (DG) of the Department of International Cooperation, Ms Zhou Guomei. Representatives from the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Commerce (MofCOM), Ministry of Transport (MoT) and German Ministry for Economy and Climate Action (BMWK), Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety, and Consumer Protection (BMUV), the German embassy, and GIZ also participated in the meeting. The two sides exchanged on climate policies, both domestically and internationally, discussed new cooperation ideas, and approved cooperation projects. GIZ Sino-German Cooperation on Climate Change – Climate Partnership project supported the meeting.
Mr Norbert Gorißen and Ms Zhou Guomei opened the meeting by welcoming the participants, reiterating the past and recent success of the Sino-German Cooperation on Climate Change, citing the side event at COP27, and expressing hope for an in-person exchange in the near future. Ms Zhou Guomei congratulated GIZ East Asia Regional Director, Mr Thorsten Giehler, on his receipt of the Friendship Prize from the Chinese government at the recommendation of the MEE. The prize was awarded for outstanding contributions in international cooperation of foreign experts, demonstrating the success of the SGCCC.
Ms Eva Kracht, Director General of the Department for International and European Policy at BMUV, commended the Chinese side for their successful chairmanship of the UN Biodiversity COP15 in Montreal, Canada resulting in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Ms Kracht emphasized the decisiveness of the upcoming Global Stocktake at COP28 and confirmed the Sino-German Environmental Forum planned for the end of the year. Mr Jiang Zhaoli, Deputy Director General of Department of Climate Change of MEE, praised the effective cooperation between China and Germany through GIZ SGCCC projects, including the Climate Partnership-facilitated Track II Dialogue. Mr Jiang Zhaoli called for further exchange in the fields of green development and ecological protection. Dr Philipp Behrens, Head of Division International Climate Initiative, Department for Climate Protection BMWK, stressed the urgency of decarbonization and the important role cooperations, such as this one, and federal tools, such as the IKI, play in meeting that challenge. Dr Behrens expressed optimism for the success and relevance of upcoming IKI projects.
Following the opening remarks and discussion, the two sides exchanged domestic policies on climate change and environmental protection, multilateral negotiations, and cooperation within the IKI. Both sides shared their outlooks for the UNFCCC COP 28. Mr Gorißen expressed hope for a clear roadmap and coal phase-out commitments as an outcome for COP 28. Further, Mr Gorißen reiterated Germany’s commitment to its climate finance agreements and hopes for contributions from China to the Green Climate Fund. Mr Jiang Zhaoli presented China’s expectations for COP 28 – emphasis on multilateralism, focus on the global stocktake, establishment of the loss and damage fund mechanism, and the encouragement of green and just transitions.
The ministry representatives commended the success of IKI cooperations so far and shared visions for the future, including the Cooperation on Emissions Trading Systems, Carbon Market Mechanisms, and Non-CO2 GHG Mitigation, Sino-German Cooperation on Decarbonizing Freight Transport, Low Carbon and Resilient Cities, and the Sino-German Climate Partnership.
In closing, Ms Zhou Guomei acknowledged the effectiveness of the day’s meeting and meaningful exchange and awaits new projects within the IKI framework. She thanked the attendees and participants, and said she looks forward to the next in person exchange in Germany. Mr Gorißen thanked her and the rest of the participants and described the session as productive, creating a good basis for further approval of new projects and a fruitful discussion of multilateralism.
The next working group meeting is tentatively planned to take place in person in Berlin in early 2024.