Terming as “stark” the wide gap in per capita incomes of developed and developing nations, India has asked the West to pledge “additional and predictable” funding to developing nations for eradication of poverty.
Speaking at the first UN Environment Assembly, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar also said that the developed countries need to “urgently” fulfill their commitment of providing a certain percentage of gross national income (GNI) as official development assistance (ODA) for developing countries.
“Sustained and inclusive economic growth is a key enabler for achieving poverty eradication. The developing countries requiring assistance to implement poverty eradication policies and programmes have to be assured of predictable, additional and adequate international financing,” he said.
“The developed countries need to not only urgently fulfill their commitment to provide 0.7 per cent of GNI as ODA for developing countries but also pledge additional and predictable funding considering the ambition levels for post- 2015 development agenda,” he said.
Noting that eradication of poverty requires much more “proactive and concerted” action, the Environment minister reiterated his earlier remarks that efforts to put the global economy on a sustainable path “cannot be and must not” be on the backs of the poor.
Javadekar, who also interacted with key principals and stakeholders on the sidelines of the First United Nations Environment Assembly at Nairobi, said that India will remain committed to energy and resource efficient development.
Javadekar had bilateral meetings with European Commissioner for Environment Janez Potocnik and Executive Director, UNEP Achim Steiner. Javadekar also met with BRICS Environment Ministers during an informal dialogue hosted by the Chinese Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian.
The minister emphasised that the developing countries ought to be assisted in technology needs assessment, adaptation, rollout and human and institutional capacity building in order to meet the vast requirements of sustainable development.
Javadekar said that eradicating poverty and reducing inequality has to be the overarching priority for achieving sustainable development.
Giving out figures, he said that an estimated 1.3 billion people, living mostly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan African countries, survive on per capita income of less that USD 1.25 a day.
“The wide gap between the per capita income of people living in developed and developing countries is stark,” he said.
Noting that there is a wide variation in the per capita energy consumption level in the world, Javadekar said that all this points towards unsustainable and wasteful consumption patterns in developed countries.
“It makes it imperative for them (developed nations) to take lead to shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns,” he said.
He said that the principles of “common but differentiated responsibilities” and “equity” must continue to be the bedrock of the ongoing and future global discourse on sustainable development.
Giving further data, the environment minister said 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced is wasted every year, amounting to over one-third of all food produced.
He said that the wastage of food at consumer level alone in industrialized countries is nearly as much as the total food production in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Food waste has been often clubbed with the issue of post-harvest losses in developing countries, which is a flawed approach,” he said.
He expressed his satisfaction that out of various focus areas being considered for developing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the Open Working Group (OWG) established by the UNGA, the first proposed goal relates to ending poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Javadekar also had comprehensive discussions with Assistant Secretary for Environment and leader of delegation of USA to UNEA, Daniel A Reifsnyder, Robert D Pickersgill Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Jamaica and Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President of Iran.
Javadekar specifically outlined the new initiatives related to integrated coastal development, forest conservation, combating desertification, island development and cleaning Ganga River.
He also apprised the officials regarding India’s National Climate Action Plan with eight missions – missions on solar energy, energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, water, Himalayan eco-system, Greening India, sustainable agriculture and strategic knowledge for climate change.