India, which will ratify the landmark Paris climate deal next month, recently said it will continue to play a leading role in combating climate change but asked developed nations to fulfill their responsibilities through more contribution to finance and technology transfer. In her address to the UN General Assembly here, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said climate change is a serious challenge confronting the world as there are “enough resources on this planet to fulfill everyone’s needs but not enough to fulfill anyone’s greed since greed is limitless”. She told the 193-member UN body that India will submit its Instrument of Ratification of the Paris Agreement on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who “epitomised a lifestyle with the smallest carbon footprint”.
“I assure this Assembly that India will continue to play a leading role in combating climate change,” she said while noting that in the Paris Agreement, the principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities’ and ‘Respective Capabilities’ has been acknowledged and accepted. “This makes clear that while our responsibility is common, obligations are different. Developed nations must discharge their responsibility in the search for the common good, with finance and technology transfer,” Swaraj said as she referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call for “climate justice”. Swaraj pointed out that India has launched an ambitious domestic effort to transform its energy mix to achieve 40 per cent energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. “The massive investments required to entail a predictable and stable environment towards which we are working actively.
Apart from this, our path-breaking initiative for an International Solar Alliance is intended to make efficient solar technology available for all,” she said in her nearly 20-minute speech in Hindi. Swaraj underlined that the true challenge of the current times is to end the “curse of harsh poverty” that still lurks in so many corners of the world and to ensure that the fruits of growing prosperity reach those who need it most. Swaraj said nations must take forward the mission of gender equality and protect women where there is gender regression and ensure peace across boundaries, “because there can be no prosperity without peace”.
She noted that the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are matched by the development vision of the Modi government, which is geared towards the achievement of these same objectives through various flagship programmes such as ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’, ‘Make in India’, ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Skill India’. “These initiatives have added a new dimension to India’s growth story, making it the fastest growing major economy in the world at a time of slow global growth,” she said. Noting that 1/6th of humanity lives in India, Swaraj said global success in realising SDGs depends on the success achieved in India. “We are committed to the wholehearted implementation of the Agenda 2030 as a national effort,” she said, adding that it has been decided to dedicate one day in each session of the Parliament for discussions only on SDGs in order to constantly monitor their progress.
“However, in a globalised world, national effort needs to be supplemented by international cooperation for the successful implementation of Agenda 2030. We must curb reckless consumption, and adopt lifestyles in harmony with nature,” she said, noting that Yoga, the storehouse of India’s ancient wisdom, epitomises a sustainable lifestyle.