India is committed to the cause of climate change and has been leading from the front in tackling global climate change issues and will continue to do so in future as well, Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said. “India, like other developing countries, can do more, if finance and technology development and transfer and capacity building support are ensured as per the convention and its Paris Agreement”, he said while delivering the keynote address on the occasion of the signing of Accreditation Master Agreement (AMA) between Green Climate Fund (GCF) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) here today.
The Minister emphasised that climate justice demands that “we remain mindful of the needs and aspirations of the poor”.
He pointed out that despite being one of the fastest growing economies of the world, India had a significant percentage of population living below the poverty line. “We need to take cognizance of the population size and income inequality and cannot ignore the basic requirement of electricity, housing and food for the poor. We expect GCF to partner with us on these issues and prioritise their work to overcome these challenges,” the Minister said. He highlighted that India was creating a network of strong institutions that can act as enablers for scaling-up climate action through technologically sound and innovative projects.Stating that environmental consciousness was the bedrock of country’s growth aspirations, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “We are fully conscious of the need to pursue an ecologically sustainable development pathway. Our Prime Minister wants to build a new India by 2022 – riding on the demographic dividend and opportunities to use off beat solutions like solar and wind power, smart cities, incentivising forestry, creating investment openings and overall, involving all in the development process”, the Minister said. Speaking on the occasion, Executive Director of GCF, Amb Howard Bamsey said that India has been acknowledged as a strong proponent of climate change action and GCF looks forward to greater engagement with India.The GCF is one of the operating entities under financial mechanism set up under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to provide support to developing countries in combating climate change, with resources to be generated from funding by developed country parties and various other public and private sources. So far, one project from India on “Installation of Ground Water Recharge System” in Odisha has recently been approved by the GCF for $34 million. Another proposal on coastal areas has already been submitted to the GCF Secretariat and several more projects are in the pipeline. India had nominated five direct access entities for accreditation by the GCF. Two of these from the public sector and three from the private sector. The public sector entities are NABARD and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and private are YES Bank, IDFC Bank and IL&FS Environmental Services.