Presentation of the General policy note 2023
On Monday 28 November, the Federal Minister for Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and the Green Deal, Zakia Khattabi, presented her general policy note for the year 2023. One that is presented in an emergency context.
According to the IPBES's 2019 global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services, human activity has had a significant negative impact on 75% of terrestrial environments and 40% of marine environments. Half of all coral reefs have disappeared in the last 30 years, 41% of insect species are in decline, 100 million hectares of tropical forests were cut down between 1980 and 2000, and more than 85% of wetlands have been destroyed since the beginning of the industrial age.
The sixth mass extinction of species is currently underway, according to statistics from WWF's new Living Planet report, which was released last month.Over the past fifty years, vertebrate species have declined by 69%. The report also warns that if we fail to limit global warming to 1.5°C, climate change will become the main cause of biodiversity loss in the coming decades. According to the United Nations Climate Agency (UNFCCC) report released on October 26, despitealthough countries are bending the global greenhouse gas emissions curve downwards, these efforts are still insufficient to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century.
Zakia Khattabi: "The situation demands a global, systemic and structural approach! We have to get out of the business of governing in a vacuum and create a culture of policy orientation and evaluation. I therefore mobilise all my colleagues through my policies. Whether it is through climate governance, that with its 39 roadmaps and ten priority areas of action (taxation and finance, energy, transport and mobility, etc.), supports the full achievement of our goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with BiodiversiScape's launch, a federal initiative to best manage the biodiversity of federal domains, properties and infrastructure,or with the SDG governance process under which individual policy statements are reviewed to ensure they meet the Sustainable Development Goals. It is essential for me that those objectives be the compass of federal politics."
Among the many initiatives that will be led by the Minister and her Cabinet are the following three priorities for 2023 for each competency.
1. With a view to making our production and value chains more sustainable, and in view of the new European legislation on duty of care which will have a significant impact on our companies, Minister Zakia Khattabi will continue to support the business community. By developing new instruments, creating learning networks for specific sectors and finalising the Beyond Food strategy to make our food chains more sustainable.
2. Sustainable development has become increasingly important in recent decades, especially since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite this, the department responsible for this subject has never been strengthened in this respect. In order to enable it to fully play its role in making other public services, the private sector and stakeholders more sustainable, it is important to provide for the strengthening of the SFDI (Federal Institute for Sustainable Development).
3. Following the adage "to govern is to plan", the Minister plans to set up a knowledge unit on critical raw materials at the IFDD to develop basic knowledge and formulate policy recommendations to increase the resilience of Belgian society to raw material scarcity and shortages. "Belgium has a resource intensive economy. We therefore need a strategy for critical raw materials. A solid knowledge base will allow us to take the necessary initiatives to organise our production and consumption in such a way that they are as little dependent as possible on new raw materials, and to foresee and anticipate the risks of scarcity and shortages of raw materials," said Zakia Khattabi.
1. The federal component of the National Energy-Climate Plan will be strengthened in the summer of 2023 thanks to the climate governance mechanism that I initiated, but also thanks to the conclusions of the climate round tables that took place this autumn on the themes of taxation and sustainable finance, energy, transport and mobility, public buildings and the circular economy. The last of these roundtables, organized in collaboration with the relevant federal departments and public institutions, will be held on 6 December.
2. A federal climate law will provide a legal basis for the federal climate governance mechanism set up by Zakia Khattabi.
3. The coordinating body for the analysis and evaluation of climate change will become operational in 2023. This federal centre of knowledge and multidisciplinary expertise would be under the supervision of the Minister for Climate and Environment. It would carry out its tasks independently, thus guaranteeing neutral and objective risk assessments and recommendations. The body would report to the National Safety Counciĺ to which the Minister for Climate and the Environment would now be invited.
1. In order to push for a reduction in the trade in wild animals and plants and imported deforestation, to increase marine and Antarctic protection, and to set an example in the management of federal domains, the Minister will continue the work done at the international level. For CITES and invasive exotic species, for the designation of marine and Antarctic protected areas, for production and consumption that respects global biodiversity (including imported deforestation), and to ensure that our government leads by example in the management of federal domains (BiodiversiScape, in collaboration with federal partners from the Buildings, Railways and Army).
2. With the adoption of the Federal Biocides Reduction Plan and the Third National Environment and Health Action Plan, the Minister will reduce the impact of biocides and initiate new national environment and health actions. She will propose a ban on the export of the most toxic products, which are banned on the European market, by means of a royal decree.
3. The different levers (legislation, subsidies and capacity building) will be used to accelerate the transition to the circular economy and increase the resilience and sustainability of our economic system: new proposals will be made to fight the use of single-use plastics, introduction of a reparability index, calls for projects to boost the circular economy sector, observatory on critical scarce materials...
Green Deal/ Just Transition
1. A Citizens panel will be organised to learn from citizens' experiences, to democratise and popularise the debate. The citizens will be drawn by lot and the Agora will be representative of the diversity of our society. The participation of certain groups, particularly concerned by the transition, will be encouraged. These are people in precarious situations, workers in polluting companies directly concerned by the transition, young people, minorities, etc. The Agora will focus on one question: "What conditions must the transition meet in order to be just?
2. A Just Transition Forum will be created to give civil society organisations the opportunity to gather around a common vision and to learn from their expertise. The intersectional nature of Just Transition implies broadening the traditional focus of social dialogue to a societal dialogue. The objective is that the Forum can lead to common conclusions which would then be transposed into the opinions of official advisory bodies on the subject of just transition.
3. A follow-up of the High Scientific Committee for a Just Transition will be ensured. The High Committee will draw up an interdisciplinary report on how best to organize a just transition in Belgium. The final report is expected in early April 2023.