Environment Minister’s speech at the Thematic Debate on Sustainable Development Goals in New York

Environment Minister’s speech at the Thematic Debate on Sustainable Development Goals in New York

The following is the text of the speech delivered by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar, at the Thematic Debate on Sustainable Development Goals in New York yesterday:

“2015 has been a landmark year because collective wisdom of the world decided on two important issues. First, 17 Sustainable Development Goals and second, a very ambitious balanced agreement on climate change. It was historic, because both of these provide an assurance to the 7 billion people of the world that there will be sustainable development on all fronts, and there will be justice for poorer sections of the societies and poorer countries. I congratulate the world leadership for coming out with this solution and provide reassurance to the world. We must collectively work towards building a more equitable world, as only an equitable world can be sustainable. India attaches utmost importance to the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development since the agenda articulates international development priorities and global development cooperation for the next fifteen years.

The centrality and overarching objective of poverty eradication in the New Agenda is something we consider extremely important.

We welcome the fact that all countries are expected to take measurable actions to implement the 2030 Agenda. The reaffirmation of the principle of ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’ as the underlying basis of the Agenda, amply signifies that universality does not amount to uniformity of action.

We attach more importance to the agreement which recognises role of means of implementation and a document with a standalone goal on financial, technological, and systemic support for developing countries.

We are particularly pleased with the agreement on the creation of a ‘Technology Facilitation Mechanism’ and we hope that with its creation, the transformative power of technology could be utilised for sustainable development solutions.

As mandated by the 2030 Agenda itself, the processes for follow-up and review must remain voluntary, country-led, positive in nature, and should reinforce mutual learning and exchange of best practices. The purpose of the review mechanism must be to enhance the implementation of the Agenda on the ground, and to this extent, ensure the provision of enhanced levels of financial and technological support to developing countries.

Under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has already started taking actions. Since September, we have taken 26 initiatives. This includes construction of 15 million toilets in an year, including 5 lakh toilets in schools for girl students; 50 million LPG connections to poor families free of cost for those who have been using wood as fuel; we have doubled the Clean Environment Cess to $ 6 per tonne on coal production, which is a huge taxation. We have issued biometric card to 1 billion people, who avail subsidies. This has meant that now subsidies are going directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries. I have named just five or six, but we have taken 26 initiatives. All these show our commitment in this regard.

The SDGs will have very significant resource implications world-wide. At the global level UNCTAD estimates that the total investment needs are in order of USD 5-7 trillion per annum. Total investment needed in developing countries alone could be about USD 3.9 trillion per annum, mainly for basic infrastructure (roads, rails and ports, power stations, water and sanitation), food security (agriculture and rural development), climate change mitigation and adaptation, health and education. For India, as per preliminary estimates, the average financial requirement is USD 565 billion per annum for next 15 years to achieve SDGs.

Therefore every country is on test. The developed world will be tested to adopt sustainable consumption in their countries and provide means of implementation to developing world. Developing world will be tested for planning comprehensively for achieving SDGs and utilise properly the funds provided by developed world. Both groupings will be tested on how they walk the talk and eradicate poverty!”   

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