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Hope SDGs achieve what MDGs could not: DSDS-2014

Feb 18, 2014

Water needs to be priced to reflect its scarcity, said, Montek Singh, Deputy Chairperson, Planning Commission of India, during his valedictory address at DSDS-2014.

New Delhi: The world needs to increase food production for feeding its teeming billions but the same should not be achieved at the cost of dwindling water resources or high energy consumption.

The 14th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) in New Delhi, which focussed on attaining energy, water and food security for allconcluded that international coordination can help the world to ward off threats to its life supporting ecosystem.

Leaders from all over the world including former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, SeychellesVice President Danny Faure, Indian ministers Salman Khurshid and Farooq Abdullah, Indian Planning Commission’s  Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia and TERI Director General R K Pachauri called for global cooperation with a sense of responsibility towards nature at the local levels.

Stating that the world was still far away from its goal of decent way of life, Annan cautioned that by the year 2030, the world would need 30% more water, 40% more energy and 50% more food.“Unfortunately, our existing model does not value fresh water and biodiversity. The challenges are growing,” he said.

While the experts lauded Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) achievements, they regretted that the gap between the rich and poor could not be bridged to the satisfactory level. Experts hoped thatSustainable development goals (SDGs) will go a long way in accomplishing the remaining tasks including the provision for energy, water and food for all.They said SDGs wouldbe another transformative step for humanity.

Warning of the catastrophic results if the planet gets warmer by 4°C, Jeffrey D Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute,urged for massive deployment of renewable energy from different sources like the solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal.

Delivering the valedictory address, Ahluwalia called for focussed attention while dealing with scarce resources like energy and water.

Singh lamented that a large part of the population in India does not have energy resources. “Don’t worry too much about food security. If we take care of energy and water, food security would not be a problem. I do not worry as much about food security as I do about its proper distribution,” he said.

Singh said that the water issue was even more challenging than energy as it could not be imported like energy. “Eighty per cent of water usage in agriculture is absurd. Water needs to be priced to reflect its scarcity and the Centre should take charge of inter-state rivers. Technology should be used to make sure that water is consumed judiciously,” he said.

The real issue is that India does not have enough domestic energy. Singh urged for combining energy price control with energy regulations. “There is no way through which a reasonable outcome is possible without energy pricing control. The technology needed for energy efficiency has to develop in the whole world. India cannot do it if the world isn’t doing it,” he said.

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