Allow Policy Space to Define Sustainable Development Strategies as Per National Priorities: Jayanthi Natrajan


Integration of Social, Economic and Environmental Pillars will bring Sustainable Development: Sha Zukang

NEW DELHI: Smt Jayanthi Natarajan appealed to allow policy space for the countries to define their sustainable development strategies as per their national priorities and respective stages of development. Addressing the Delhi Ministerial dialogue on ‘Green Economy and Inclusive Growth’ here on Monday, Smt Natarajan mentions few other guiding principles, which could be followed towards achieving global consensus and action.

They are to reaffirm the Rio Principles, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, strike a balance between the three pillars of sustainable development, build institutional capacities at all levels – global, regional and local, prioritize programmes for the inclusion and upliftment of socio-economically weaker sections of the society, women and youth, promote access to green technologies at affordable cost and also including through greater financial assistance for R&D in the public domain.

The Union Minister also suggested to strengthen global partnership for sustainable development, including for access of developing countries to additional financing and avoid green protectionism in the name of green economy.

Smt Natarajan said, “We have a platform for free and frank deliberations on the theme, ‘Green Economy and Inclusive Growth’ in the next two days as part of the preparatory process for the Rio+20 Conference next year. we must work together collectively. Rio+20 Summit must succeed.”

Sharing India’s progress in Green Economy and growth Smt Natarajan said there are three dimensions of our development process namely rapid economic growth with emphasis on infrastructure and livelihoods, focus on plurality and reduction of disparities and the mainstreaming of environmental concerns in the Sectoral Policies and Programmes.

Giving information about a series of legislative, policy and institutional measures India has taken, she referred to Right to Information Act, 2005 which ensures greater transparency and access to public information, the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 which provides a specialized green tribunal to promote access to environmental justice and the National Action Plan on Climate Change with eight thematic Missions covering areas such as solar energy, energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture and strategic knowledge.

Showing concern at few areas Smt Natarajan said, “Considerable challenges remain in the area of poverty eradication. 55% of population of rural India today does not have access to electricity. The challenge of scale up of cleaner energy solutions gets further compounded by limited access to green technologies at affordable cost.

These continue to remain major concerns for India.A renewed political commitment on green economy has to be viewed in this Delhi Ministerial Dialogue and a shared vision on basic issues is expected to be the main outcome of this Dialogue.”

Mr Sha Zukang Under-Secretary Genral for Economic and Social Affairs Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development expressed a hope that today’s dialogue will be an important contribution to preparations for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

Mr Zukang said, “Today’s world faces multiple Challenges which includes high unemployment in many countries, risk of a new global recession , increasing food prices and worsening hunger, climate –related stresses, increased frequency and severity of disasters and their impacts ion vital ecosystems, infrastructure, and poor people’s livelihoods.

Each of these threatens to undermine progress towards poverty eradication and social and economic development.As an international community we need to refocus Rio+20 must be about three things – integration, implementation and coherence.”

He said, “By definition, sustainable development is about integration among the three pillars: social, economic and environmental and ensuring their coherence. In Practice, this is not easy. This partly explains why progress has been slow.

Our problems and challenges do not specialize. Therefore, we must talk and think holistically, and plan and act accordingly. Only special focus area with specialization will not help. We need an institutional framework to ensure this happens routinely and systematically.Rio +20 is meant to mobilize renewed political commitment for sustainable development. If it cannot do this , it would be hard to call Rio+20 a success.”

“Though significant social and economic progress over the past 20 years happened and many success stories took place, poverty persists”, Shri Zukang said. He insisted that we have to practically bring these three pillar together, so countries are confident that the social agenda, the environmental agenda, and economic agenda are mutually reinforcing.

India has been actively engaged in the Rio+20 process. As part of preparations, four Inter-Ministerial Working Groups in specific domains to look at the question of sustainable development as a whole have been constituted. These Working Groups are being facilitated by renowned technical organizations, which have provided researched inputs.

In addition, consultations with the corporate sector and civil society representatives have also been undertaken. The Dialogue has brought together ministers, policy-makers, representatives from UN bodies and eminent experts from various fields.The themes of the individual Plenary Sessions in the Dialogue relate to integration of Green Economy with key concerns of Inclusive Growth like Poverty Eradication, Food Security and Energy Security.

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