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Maldives as a nation aims to become a biosphere reserve

Jan 31, 2013

Climate change cannot be fought in isolation and environmental problems do not stop at national borders, therefore, the global community should bury their differences and develop policy interventions to address its negative impacts.

This was the unanimous message by global leaders at a conference organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), as part of its annual global conclave, the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS), taking place in New Delhi.

Mariyam Shakeela, Minister of Environment and Energy, Maldives, said that climate change is a universal problem which requires a universal solution. She called upon business leaders and policy makers to begin research to seek global solutions to the problem of climate change.

She regretted that despite being among the least contributors to climate change, Maldives is badly impacted by the phenomenon, even as she assured that Maldives as a whole is aiming to become a biosphere reserve.

Arvinn Eikeland Gadgil, Deputy Minister for International Development, Norway, said that a summit like the DSDS will help bridge the long existing gap between theory and practice, something which has become very crucial for implementing ideas for sustainable growth at the ground level.

Citing the need for levying a tax for development, Gadgil said, “We don’t just need good governance but ‘fair governance’ to address the challenges of climate change. Good governance is not enough to fight climate change. We need fair governance to fight the myopia or short-sightedness of politicians,” he emphasised.

The Polish Minister of Environment, Marcin Korolec, warned that the services and goods provided by the environment are not for free and that we need to adapt to climate change by reducing energy consumption at the global level. “We can attain sustainable growth through innovations, wisdom and good governance,” Korolec said.

Jean-Francois Lisee, Minister of International Relations, La Francophonie and External Trade, Qubec, said that relentless efforts have to be carried out to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change.

The dire tone related to not only he adverse impacts of climate change but also a burgeoning population that has to be sustained were not lost on Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UAE. “Of the seven billion people living on the planet, around one billion live without water while another over a billion remain hungry every day,” Ahmed said, adding that by 2030, the planet will need 20 per cent more water, 40 per cent more energy and 50 per cent more food compared to the present requirement.

Dr Robert D. Hormats, Under Secretary, Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, the United States, said that high environmental standards are required immediately. “Post-harvest food loss is not just the loss of food but also of water and energy, thus leading to scarcity of water. This water scarcity will again lead to a vicious cycle as more energy would be required to pump more water from deeper levels,” Hormats said.

The former under-secretary general of the UN and Distinguished Fellow, TERI, Nitin Desai, brought the session to a close agreeing with the policy-makers that food security is central to the goals of sustainability and that energy and water has to be looked as strategic resources and hence preserved.

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