India on Friday called upon the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to jointly build a social movement that can be emulated by the rest of the world to ensure efficient use of available resources through waste management and recycling of materials.

“A decrease in global materials, or at least stabilisation at present levels, demand major reductions in metabolic rates in the Asia-Pacific region, especially India,” Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said, addressing the 4th BRICS Ministerial meeting in Durban, South Africa. “This can become possible only through Resource Efficiency not only throughout the material life cycle, but also at the post-consumption stage.”

Addressing concerns over depleting resources and scarcity, Vardhan called for a judicious use of resources. He said secondary resources (waste materials) need to be brought back into production, adopting a Circular Economy approach. Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy, he added, are key elements of Sustainable Development and impact resource efficiency.

Reiterating India’s commitment to build responsive, inclusive and collective solutions, Vardhan underlined that BRICS nations face similar environmental concerns such as air pollution, waste management, resource crunch and climate change.

“BRICS countries should together emphasise on cooperation in air pollution control through technology transfer and requisite capacity building and knowledge transfer at the country, regional and global levels,” he said.

“BRICS countries can complement, facilitate access to and provide adequate information on existing science, technology and innovation platforms, avoiding duplications and enhancing synergies.”

The minister said India would contribute and provide further recommendations to the BRICS Environment Working Group on the modalities of Partnership for Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative.

He was confident that the proposals on BRICS Environmentally Sound Technology platform, clean river umbrella, circular economy, ocean economy, biodiversity and integrated water resources management will further strengthen the cooperation for sustainable development.

Outlining the contours of the Green Good Deeds movement in India, Vardhan said, “We are asking people to alter their behaviour to Green Good behaviour to fulfil their Green Social Responsibility.”

The meeting was attended by South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environment affairs, Bomo Edith Edna Molewa; Brazil’s Vice-Minister for Environment, Energy, Science and Technology of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, J Antonio Marcondes; DG, International Cooperation Department of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, Nuritdin Imanov; China’s Vice-Minister of Ecology and Environment, Huang Runqiu; and representative of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Jorge Laguna-Celis.