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G20 environment ministers’ summit kicks off in Italy

A meeting of the environment and energy ministers of the Group of 20 rich nations began Thursday in Naples hosted by Italy, the rotating president of the G20.

The ministers, along with representatives of relevant organizations, met at the historic Royal Palace of Naples to hold discussions and seek solutions on the issues of biodiversity loss and pollution, degradation of agricultural land, desertification, and unsustainable use of water and other natural resources.

Italy’s Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani welcomed the ministers.

The summit is being held in unprecedented circumstances that require heartfelt, joint and urgent global action, he said in his opening speech.

Noting that it is impossible to ignore scientific reports on climate change indicators, he stressed that the tragic weather events the world has witnessed in recent months and days show the climate system is experiencing serious problems.

Cingolani said the same applies to ecosystems and biodiversity.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic is also disrupting societies and economies, noting they must fight together against these two tests, both the impact from the outbreak and the climate crisis.

Following him, the environment ministers of Saudi Arabia and Indonesia also gave speeches.

At the two-day summit, participants will evaluate international developments and discuss sustainable policies on nature conservation.

Protests

Due to the G20 meeting, security measures were increased in Naples and about 2,200 security guards were deployed.

Some environmental groups were expected to hold protests at different points throughout the day in the city.

In the morning, a group of environmental activists blocked an intersection on the A3 highway in the east of the city to traffic, Italian media reported.

The protesters argue that the G20 is acting “hypocritically” on the issue of the environment and only protects the interests of multinationals.

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