Feb 04, 2012
MDGs should be complemented with access to energy and internet, says Heidi Hautala, the Minister for International Development to the Finnish government at DSDS 2012.
Heidi Hautala, the Minister for International Development to the Finnish government, is known globally for promoting human rights, transparency, environmental responsibility and global justice. Going forward, she talks about the need for having sustainable development goals and related issues. Excerpts from an interview with Rajiv Tikoo of OneWorld South Asia:
Q: Finland’s participation at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) is always prominent. What kind of value proportion do you see in DSDS?
A: We are old supporters of DSDS because we find TERI has a great deal of expertise in this domain and the personality of Dr Rajendra Pachauri makes it all the more tempting to cooperate with the institute. Besides, we find this forum very useful because it serves as a discussion base for many international processes like the climate change negotiations. At this particular time, it now has the responsibility to coordinate with the Rio+20 conference.
Q: Did you find anything exciting this time?
A: There is this one issue about the new welfare indicators that I discussed with the minister of Bhutan. I am very happy with their gross national happiness index. Finland has decided to promote new welfare indicators, new ways to measure welfare, beyond GDP through Rio+20.
Q: So are you going to promote it globally or just in Finland?
A: Globally. I think there should be a wide agreement. The nations and cultures are different, but by and large I think the global community must be prepared to discuss a set of new indicators. The Bhutanese model is a very inspiring one.
Q: How would you like to take it forward?
A: The idea would be to use excellent forums like this DSDS to interact with different people and then explore if these welfare indicators could be a part of post Rio+20 agenda on the road towards new sustainable development goals. At the same time, we still need to work and complete the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We should not reject MDGs, but should complement them with newer goals/ indicators like access to energy. Access to internet may be also considered.
Q: What kind of a role do you see for internet or mobiles in development?
A: I have seen that some companies like Nokia are excellent in promoting mobile technologies for development. They have developed a mobile game, which helps kids to learn how to count and these have been successfully used in South Africa. In Finland we think that we need to import them from Africa. So, we are converging more and learning from each other.
Q: How should India balance its need to increase growth and reduce emissions?
A: It is also time for India to think about smart solutions that make it economically more sensible to reduce emissions, which is not necessarily burdensome. We heard Dr Pachauri proposing that there should be a national action plan for utilizing biomass. I don’t think these are billion dollar programmes. It’s is a question of better utilisation of resources.
Q: What would you like to take home from India?
A: I very much like the Indian way of thinking. I like to hear Gandhian quotes in every speech. I like the idea of climate justice, which has been brought into my consciousness from India. I will take the idea of climate justice to Finland and Europe.