New Delhi: Friday is the last day of the Earth Summit at Rio and 191 member nations of the United Nations are expected to endorse the final draft proposal that lays down new mechanisms for eventual funding and technology transfer for sustainable development. On Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh criticised the industrialised world for not doing enough to fund efforts to cut carbon emissions.
Manmohan also made a strong plea for finding new pathways for sustainable living since the current consumption patterns in the industrialised world are unsustainable.
The Prime Minister's remarks came even as a draft statement finalised at the Summit showed developing countries' failure to get any figures in paragraphs about financing sustainable growth for poorer economies. The Group of 77 and China bloc had demanded $30 billion a year.
Manmohan enunciated India's stand in his address during the plenary session of the Rio summit, which is officially known as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. "Many countries could do more if additional finance and technology were available. Unfortunately, there is little evidence of support from the industrialised countries in these areas(reducing emissions intensity). The ongoing economic crisis has made matters worse," he said.
Describing economic development, social inclusion and environmental sustainability as all equally critical as components of sustainable development, Prime Minister said that the task before the world community is to give practical shape and content to this architecture in a manner that allows each country to develop according to its own national priorities and circumstances.
Observing that the Rio Summit was meeting at a time of serious economic crisis and political ferment in the world, Manmohan said it is timely because it focuses the world community's minds on "the future we want" and how to realise it.
"Difficult though it may seem, we have to summon the imagination to balance the costs that we will incur in the present with the benefits that will accrue to future generations," he said, who was among the 125 world leaders who participated in the deliberations.
The Prime Minister made it clear to the summit that for developing countries, inclusive growth and a rapid increase in per capita income levels are development imperatives. "Those living at the subsistence level cannot bear the costs of adjustment and their livelihood considerations are important in determining how scarce natural resources such as land, water and forests are used. The severe deterioration of land and water resources is already affecting the well- being of millions of people living on the edges of subsistence, particularly women and children," he said.
Noting that Sustainable development also mandated the efficient use of available natural resources, Singh said the world community has to be much more frugal in the way it uses natural resources. "A key area of focus is energy. We have to promote universal access to energy, while at the same time, promoting energy efficiency and a shift to cleaner energy sources by addressing various technological, financial and institutional constraints. In India, we are implementing an ambitious National Solar Mission as a critical option for our energy security," he said.
Observing that environmental sustainability is the third leg of the sustainable development architecture, Manmohan said that economic activity invariably results in negative spinoffs, either by way of local pollution, or by way of global effects such as Greenhouse Gas emissions. "We need to tackle both," he said.
With Additional Inputs from PTI