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Need to redefine growth and development: DSDS 2015

Feb 09, 2015

To achieve a strong agreement in the climate talks in Paris, the North and the South will have to closely work together to come up with sustainable solutions

New Delhi: On the last day of the 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2015 (DSDS), Heads of State, Nobel Laureates and thought leaders forged consensus on developing new pathways to find and replicate sustainable solutions for our common future.

DSDS, the flagship event of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), opened new gateways to meet the challenges of ‘Sustainable Development Goals and Dealing with Climate Change’, the theme this year.

The DSDS-2015 assumes significance as the post-2015 development agenda is being finalized -- the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is expected to adopt the new set of goals in September 2015 and the climate negotiations (Conference of Parties – COP21) will be held in Paris later this year.

Dr R K Pachauri, Director-General, TERI, said: “We need to redefine growth and development. The North and the South will have to work together to come up with sustainable solutions. We cannot achieve sustainable development unless we meet the aspirations of the people. To move towards a low carbon economy, we need to come up with innovative solutions. We need buildings and shopping malls that can reduce energy consumption by 50 per cent. We need clean and affordable transportation systems and learn from countries that have made cycling as an efficient mode of transport. We need a technological transition to de-carbonize the global economy. We need a strong agreement in Paris, which should be open to scrutiny and monitoring.”

Prof Jeffrey D Sachs, Director, Earth Institute & Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, said in a video message: “Though most governments have said they have accepted the 20C limit target, they are yet to implement carbon reduction measures. There is no back-up plan. Climate funds of $100 billion a year is not much, considering the scale of the global economy. We need to harness clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and nuclear energy and bring about a transformation in our energy policies to move towards a low carbon economy. We need research and demonstration of low carbon technologies. ”

At a session on ‘Climate Change: Ethics, Equity and the Poor’, Dr Rajiv Gupta, Principal Secretary (Water Supply Department), Principal Secretary (Climate Change Department) & Managing Director, Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited, said: “Sustainability is ultimately a moral issue. Our ancient scriptures have always underlined the sustainable use of our natural resources. Climate change has exposed the vulnerability of poor people. The issue of equity is at the core of the climate change debate.”

“But there are ways to overcome the crisis. For example in Gujarat, the establishment of water infrastructure provided water security to more than 11,000 villages. This was possible only due to the vision of one man – Narendra Modi, who is now the Prime Minister of India. Only a strong political leadership can overcome ‘inconvenient truths’,” added Dr Gupta.

Dr Arvid Hallén, Director General, The Research Council of Norway, said: “As we march towards a new climate agreement in Paris, we must reaffirm the issue of ethics and equity. Climate change is about social and economic justice, and we must address these issues. As Indian Minister Piyush Goyal said yesterday, developing countries cannot take the sole responsibility for climate change. Rich nations must take the lead to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this complex process, the context and interests of the poor must be reflected.”

“Access to clean water and clean energy are the core issues of climate change. Over 80 per cent of diseases are water-related and by 2020, the gap between water demand and supply will increase by 50 per cent. Therefore, collaboration is very important. Contamination of water bodies needs to be addressed by various stakeholders. Lastly, it is not important just to build toilets for access to clean sanitation; they must be used as well,” stressed Naina Lal Kidwai, Chairman, HSBC India, & Executive Director on the Board of HSBC Asia-Pacific.

“India is the ultimate laboratory for development; It is also a terrific field to analyze how development processes work.  While dealing with climate change, we must remember that we have a responsibility towards the poor,” said Dr David M Malone, UN Under-Secretary-General & Rector, United Nations University (UNU).

Ekaterina Zagladina, President, Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, said: “No one will escape from the effects of climate change. Further, there is the issue of justice – those who are suffering the most are not responsible for climate change.”

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