Feb 16, 2012
TERI Director-General R.K. Pachauri applauds the exchange of knowledge and ideas at DSDS 2012 and hopes to transform them into action at the Rio+20 summit.
TERI’s Delhi Sustainable Development Summit or DSDS is getting bigger and better each year. There is continued increase not only in the number of participants, but also in the quality of discourse. This year’s event, DSDS 2012, focused on Protecting the Global Commons: 20 Years Post Rio. As the three-day event inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on February 2 drew to a close, TERI’s Director-General Rajendra K. Pachauri spoke to Rajiv Tikoo of OneWorld South Asia. Excerpts:
Q: How would you sum up the outcome of DSDS 2012?
A: Well, it’s very difficult to measure. We are going to bring out a detailed summary on what were the kinds of directions, perspectives and strategies that came out of the discussions. I think people who came here, around thousands of them, went back with a lot of information and excitement and I suppose that in their own respective spheres they will be able to do significant work themselves. We had presidents, heads of states, and around 30 ministers joining us. When all these people pick up new ideas and new perceptions, hopefully, they will implement them. Though the outcomes are very difficult to measure, clearly these will be rich and diverse. One measure of the outcomes will be in terms of the interest DSDS arouses and how much we will be able to tap that interest next year in DSDS 2013.
Q: How do you intend to feed into the Rio+20 process?
A: Well, we will certainly prepare a detailed write-up and send it to the secretariat of the Rio+20 system and a number of other people who are involved in this exercise such as heads of government, heads of state and ministers. So, we will disseminate it over a global scale and also feed into the official processes and then hope for the best.
Q: A number of environment events are being organised this year. So, do you see the focus coming back to the environment after a relative lull following the recession and lack of much progress in the global climate change negotiations?
A: Undoubtedly. I see a perceptible change in people’s attitude and they are now certainly expressing greater interests on issues such as climate change. So, I hope that all of this will transform into a greater interest.
Q: Would you say we are better prepared to tackle environmental challenges today?
A: We are certainly better in terms of awareness. I hope increased awareness will lead to concrete actions. I suppose it’s becoming too apparent to a number of people around the world that if you neglect the ecosystems of this planet, sooner or later, it’s going to impact even your economic interests adversely.
Q: Businesses seem to be more seized of environmental issues today. Do you see a time in the near future when the environment would be on top of their agenda?
A: I think so. We had anticipated this. TERI University’s entire set of programmes, including the MBA, has very clear orientation in terms of environmental responsibility on the part of businesses and their awareness about the impacts if they neglect subjects like climate change. So, I expect businesses will come up with a much stronger agenda in the coming years.
Q: You have been holding this CEO summit along with the DSDS for years. How has it evolved over the years?
A: It has helped significantly because I think businesses and industries are now much more focused on these issues. They are better informed and they also have a high level of realisation that it is in their interest to do something about these issues. So, I would say, there has been a qualitative improvement in the content of this event and we are attracting top most business leaders.