XIAMEN, June 24, China Daily -- Environmental ministers and officials from BRICS nations called for more cooperation on air pollution and climate change to tackle pollution during rapid economic growth, according to a statement on Friday.

The ministers from China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa met in Tianjin for a two-day conference that ended on Friday. BRICS leaders will meet in Xiamen, Fujian province, in September.

"We reiterate our intention to promote cooperation within BRICS in the area of pollution prevention, in particular air pollution," said the statement.

It also demonstrated the member countries' promise to implement the Paris Agreement and urged developed countries to transfer the needed technology to developing countries, which is "one of the most critical enablers for climate action."

Climate change, ecological deterioration and frequent major natural disasters have become global environmental challenges, and countries must take joint action to tackle the issues, said Li Ganjie, Party chief of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The BRICS countries - all emerging economies - account for 23 percent of world GDP, and can play a large role in improving global environmental management, he added.

It was the first time that China chaired the meeting of BRICS environment ministers.

The inaugural BRICS environment ministers' meeting was held in Moscow, Russia, in April 2015, while the second was in Goa, India, in September 2016.

During the two-day meeting in Tianjin, the environment ministers and senior officials also approved the BRICS Partnership for Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative, which identified "water and air pollution prevention, waste management, spatial planning and mobility as priority areas for cooperation."

The initiative will promote a series of activities such as holding policy dialogues, conducting joint research and setting up websites, aiming to facilitate the best practices for urban sustainability.

"The BRICS countries have been confronted with similar environmental issues like pollution and waste management during their rapid economic growth, which makes cooperation necessary," Zhang Jieqing, a senior expert at the BRICS working group, said on Friday.

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