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Joint Press Release following the Fourth EU-China High Level Environment and Climate Dialogue


European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans and Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China Ding Xuexiang held the fourth EU-China High Level Dialogue on Environment and Climate (HECD) in Beijing on 4 July 2023.


The Dialogue focused on the avenues for EU-China cooperation in implementing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Paris Agreement and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Both sides fully recognized that the HECD must continue to achieve practical results.

Both sides believe that green should be the most distinctive color of EU-China cooperation, and they reiterated that the interconnected challenges of climate change, desertification, pollution and biodiversity loss are an existential threat to humanity and the planet. The discussion included key issues, including respective environmental and climate policies and actions in China and in the EU, deepening bilateral environmental and climate cooperation, and jointly promoting global multilateral processes.

Noting that the impact of climate change is a huge challenge to achieve sustainable development and that the impacts of climate change will be much lower at the temperature increase of 1.5 °C compared with 2 °C, they agreed to strengthen efforts to achieve the Paris Agreement temperature goal. In accordance with the principles and goals of the Paris Agreement, extensive international cooperation shall be carried out to advance implementation of the Agreement. Both sides commended the outcomes of UNFCCC COP27 and will provide support to the United Arab Emirates as Presidency of UNFCCC COP28 to host a successful COP. In view of COP 28, they agreed to enhance action and cooperation to advance domestic and global implementation efforts.

In this light, both sides agreed that a successful COP 28 must show comprehensive and balanced progress across all workstreams. The EU and China will undertake joint efforts to contribute to this success, starting by co-chairing the Ministerial on Climate Action in mid-July in Brussels, together with Canada.

Recognising the existential threat of biodiversity loss, including for national and global food security, both sides highly commended the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) at CBD COP15, which clearly sets out global goals for 2050 and action targets for 2030 to protect and restore nature. Both the EU and China are committed to take swift action towards implementation of the GBF both domestically and at the global level, including by submitting before COP16 updated national biodiversity strategies, and action plans or national targets in alignment with the GBF. China will continue to demonstrate leadership as COP15 Presidency and will work with the EU to actively promote the complete and effective implementation of the CBD and the GBF.

Circular economy, biodiversity, chemical management, plastic pollution, national carbon markets, climate adaptation, methane emissions management and control and the clean energy transition (renewables, stability of the grid, energy storage, hydrogen) were confirmed as key areas of cooperation. Both sides will build on and expand existing cooperation with a view to contributing to SDG 15.2 and the Glasgow declaration on forests and land use. Both sides look forward to intensifying cooperation on Emission Trading Systems. Both sides agreed to hold a dialogue on CBAM to understand and address Chinese concerns. Both sides agreed to holding the first High Level Dialogue on Circular Economy and reaffirmed the commitment to increase efforts to transition to a circular economy domestically and internationally. They also agreed to hold the Environmental Policy Dialogue and the EU-China Water Policy Dialogue.

In this spirit, both sides agreed to cooperate and work towards the adoption of a global legally binding instrument on plastic pollution by the end of 2024. Both sides are committed to marine conservation and congratulate the adoption of the Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) and will continue to strengthen communication and coordination on the ratification and implementation of the Treaty. They reaffirmed their commitment to promote the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources in accordance with the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and to continue the discussion on the establishment of a representative system of marine protected areas in the waters surrounding Antarctica.

The EVP and the Vice-Premier reaffirmed their respective commitments and efforts to fight climate change and protect the environment and resolved to work together in the areas of common interest, with a view to reporting at a forthcoming EU-China Summit. Both sides stressed the need to make full use of the HECD platform and hold regular HECD meetings, in order to strengthen communication and coordination between the two sides and deepen cooperation in key areas.

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Joint Press Release following the Fourth EU-China High Level Environment and Climate Dialogue