India committed to energy and resource efficient development, says Minister Prakash Javadekar

Recently, Mr. Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, India, attended the Ministerial Plenary of the First United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi.

At the event Mr. Prakash commented on the ‘SDGs and Post-2015 Development Agenda, including Sustainable Consumption and Production’ 

He said that," India has its National Climate Action Plan with eight missions viz. missions on solar energy, energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, water, Himalayan eco-system, Greening India, sustainable agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change. Our new initiatives relate to integrated coastal development, forest conservation, combating desertification, island development and cleaning Ganga River.

We are committed to energy and resource efficient development. We have designed low carbon strategy and have, on our own, set up ambitious renewable energy targets. India is the Current Chair of Conference of Parties on Convention on Biodiversity. I urge upon all Member States to ratify the Nagoya protocol at the earliest so that it could come in force at the earliest.

The Outcome Document of the 2012 Rio+20 Summit ‘The Future We Want’, while acknowledging the importance of achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) focused attention on elaborating a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in coherence with the processes to develop the broader Post-2015 Development Agenda. SDGs are expected to be an important part of the Post-2015 development agenda, the successor development agenda to the MDGs.

India attaches utmost importance to the evolution of the post-2015 development agenda. We strongly believe that it must be an agenda for ‘development’, an agenda that can propel sustained and inclusive economic growth in all countries, particularly developing countries. Poverty eradication, which has been identified at Rio+20 as the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, must remain the central and overarching objective of the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda. More than 1.3 billion people in the world still live on less than US$ 1.25 a day. It is therefore all the more important that action on poverty must not be contextualized or linked with other challenges and must receive our undiluted attention and focus.

The SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda must be universal in nature and cannot remain a series of policy prescriptions from the North to the South unlike the MDGs. The Rio principles including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) continue to be relevant in the context of the ongoing discourse on SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. A universal agenda is not in contradiction to the principle of differentiation as per CBDR. On the other hand, a universal agenda means that developed countries must also take on obligations in relevant areas.

The SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda must address the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced manner, both across goals as well as within them. While the social and environmental pillars tend to gain prominence, it is important to underscore that the economic pillar is the foundation of sustainable development and must be adequately addressed and elaborated. We also need to be cautious in factoring in environmental and governance considerations otherwise the agenda becomes an environmental or a governance agenda and distracts from the core objective of promoting growth and development.

The central importance of sustainable production and consumption (SCP) as a part of SDG framework and the post-2015 development agenda cannot be overemphasized. There is sheer inequity in consumption of world’s resources. UN Secretary General’s High level panel report points out that 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty account for only one percent of world’s consumption of resources, while the richest 1 billion people consume 72 percent.

The wide difference between the average per capita consumption of energy and other resources in the developed and developing countries as also the huge wastage of food at consumer level in developed countries makes it imperative for developed countries to take lead to shift towards SCP patterns. Clearly, our efforts to put the global economy on a sustainable path must not be and cannot be on the backs of the poor. At the same time, improving energy efficiency and resource use in production processes is extremely important. Once again, the developed countries have to lead from the front and commit technology transfer to developing countries for them to achieve this.  We support a standalone goal on SCP and also it’s mainstreaming across various sectors, viz., energy, food, water, agriculture, etc.

Our ambition in substance needs to be matched with our ambition for generating the means to these objectives. The developed countries must therefore provide enhanced financial resources, technology transfer and capacity-building support to developing countries to meet the vast requirements of sustainable development. We welcome the concrete proposal on means of implementation made by G77 & China in its submission to the OWG Co-Chairs which includes a stand-alone goal on means of implementation as well as suggestions for means of implementation to be integrated under each of the proposed goal. 

In terms of global development cooperation, while it is understandable that aid alone would not perhaps suffice to meet the challenges of the SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda; this should not be an argument to dilute the importance of North-South aid. In our view, it is important that aid commitments are not only met in earnest, but that they are expanded and extended in the post-2015 period. At the same time, South-South cooperation must be allowed to grow under its own principles and not straitjacketed in terms of North-South aid.

The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF) is separately assessing the financing requirements of SDGs. We also welcome the decision to hold the third ‘Financing for Development’ Conference in the middle of next year before the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.

On the issue of technology transfer, the Rio+ 20 document mandates relevant UN agencies to identify options for a facilitation mechanism that promotes the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies. Unfortunately, so far, not much progress has been made on this issue.

India strongly feels that technology transfer is the most important means of implementation and an effective and functional Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) is a must for a meaningful Post-2015 Development Agenda.  The TFM should meet the technology transfer needs of developing countries in various sectors, viz., health, energy, food, water, sanitation, etc.  The developing countries need to be assisted in technology needs assessment, adaptation, rollout and human and institutional capacity building. 

I have a suggestion to make in this regard. It has been agreed to establish Green Climate Fund of US $ 100 billion per year by 2020. This amount should be utilized to purchase IPRs of most crucial technologies for public good and these technologies should then be freely available to the developing countries to facilitate sustainable development.

While issues of peace, security and governance are obviously important enablers of development, it would be a travesty if these are placed at the centre of the agenda, to the detriment of development itself. There can be no durable peace without economic growth and development. At the same time, it is also important to address the abiding democratic deficit in institutions of global decision-making.

As the OWG and ICESDF are still negotiating the SDGs and their financing mechanism respectively, it would not be fair on our part to prejudge the outcome of these negotiations at this stage. We would therefore suggest that the outcome of our deliberations here should be in the form of a Chair’s summary rather than a negotiated outcome. India is committed to constructive deliberations in these forums and eagerly looks forward to a meaningful Post 2015 Development Agenda." 

Policies & Regulations | News published on 27/06/2014 by Rashmi Nargundkar

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