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Ideas and practice vie for space as ministers talk

Feb 01, 2013

There was philosophy and practical talk. But, to top it all, there was food for thought as political leaders and diplomats took stage at DSDS 2013.

Ministers from across the globe gathered together at The Energy and Resources Institute’s annual flagship initiative, the Delhi Sustainable Summit (DSDS) 2013, to deliberate on the importance of good governance to tackle the dilemma of rapidly depleting natural resources while showing the way for replicating best practices and policies for future.

Lyonpo Dr Pema Gyamtsho, Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan, gave a glimpse into Bhutan’s progress in environmental conservation and the Druk nation’s philosophy to tackling climate change. “Rivers know no boundaries; animals know no political boundaries, so coalition is the only way to move forward,” said Dr Gyamtsho.

Marie-Helene Aubert, Adviser to the President of the French Republic for International Negotiations on Climate and Environment, advocated keeping the poor in mind while creating global awareness on environmental issues and pushing for collaborative efforts for a ‘green revolution’.

The French negotiator said she supported the idea of water pricing to prevent wastage and mis-management of water but added caveat. “Surely, water pricing will be helpful, but at the same time we don’t want a world in which people don’t get water just because they have to pay for it,” she said. A corollary to this, she said, would be that global leaders reach some agreement on sustainability.

If solutions need innovative ideas, can the Japanese be far behind? An air of zen enveloped the hall as Dr Ryutaro Yatsu, Vice-Minister for Global Environment Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, Japan, surmised his nation’s approach. “We have been carrying out a series of national-level campaigns to reduce carbon emissions,” he said. “It’s called ‘Cool Breeze’ in summer and ‘Warm Breeze’ in winter.”

Dr Ryutaro Yatsu also took the forum as an opportunity to lobby for Japan’s proposal for a Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) to facilitate diffusion of low carbon technologies.

But low carbon technologies for energy or water would not sustain the world without ensuring every citizen is provided for and food security was the subject Sweden’s Environment Ambassador Annika Markovic dwelled upon. The Scandinavian envoy showed exactly the part of the world she comes from believes in equity when she said: “I believe that a lot can be done to ensure food security through capacity building, experience sharing and looking for solutions in the agriculture and fishery sector.”

In an environment that gave space of philosophers, there had to be someone volunteering to provide for the world.

“When we are small, we can do things quicker,” Seychelles’ Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, proffered. “Small islands can act as laboratories for best practices in terms of sustainability that can be replicated by rest of the world.”

The pragmatist from the small island was practical when he spoke of the need to create business opportunities that allow for using resources in a sustainable way.

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