United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Dr. Prodipto Ghosh,
Secretary, Ministry of Environment Et Forests,
Government of India
at the
High-level Segment
Fourteenth Session of the
Commission on Sustainable Development
New York
11 May, 2006
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Mr. Chairman,
We associate ourselves with the statement made by the distinguished
delegate of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 . We have read with
interest the reports submitted by the Secretary-General . A difficult path lies
ahead in terms of concerted actions for the implementation of Agenda 21 and
JPOI goals, including in the thematic cluster for the current implementation
cycle, which are of particular importance for sustainable development .
Mr. Chairman,
Energy is an essential input in all processes of production and
consumption that attest to a civilized, decent human existence .
For developing countries, a rapid increase in energy use per capita is
imperative, if national development goals, and the Millennium Development
Goals, are to be realized . In our case, both energy use, and GHGs
emissions per capita, remain an order of magnitude below that of all
industrialised countries, individually or together .
Our own policies for sustainable development, by way of promotion of
energy efficiency, renewable energy, changing the fuel mix to cleaner
sources, energy pricing, pollution abatement, affoerstation, mass transport,
besides differentially higher growth rates of less energy intensive services
sectors as compared to manufacturing, have resulted in a modest level of
energy intensity of the economy, as well as a relatively benign growth path of
greenhouse gases .
Mr. Chairman,
The report of the Secretary-General observes that pervasive and
persistent poverty remains an important obstacle to greater access to
modern and cleaner energy services, including electricity, in developing
countries .
On the other hand, efforts at poverty alleviation, and redressing gender
disparities, cannot succeed without secure availability of clean, sustainable
energy, at low and stable prices . In its absence, a vicious circle ensues, with
poverty, gender disparity, ill health, and unsustainable use of natural
resources reinforcing each other.
It is essential that developing countries have the policy space to
address their energy needs in the light of their individual circumstances .
Concerns over energy security have heightened with recent sharp increase
in energy prices . This has resulted in a renewed focus on energy
diversification and efficiency . All significant energy sources - whether
conventional or advanced fossil fuels based, or renewables, or civilian
nuclear power, must remain in policy reckoning to address energy needs for
sustainable development. In particular, there needs to be a fresh
assessment of nuclear energy, as a clean and safe source of energy . Legal
and political barriers to the civilian use of nuclear energy should be
addressed to reduce the world's increasingly vulnerability to the multiple
risks of fossil fuels .
Many developing countries, including India, still rely on traditional
renewable energy for a significant part of their energy needs . The traditional
technologies are, however, insufficiently versatile, have major health,
gender, and environmental impacts, and are inefficient . Modern renewable
energy technologies remain, for the most part, expensive, except in niche
applications . Moreover, there has been insufficient R&D in key renewable
energy technologies, although the relevant basic science is well-known . We
believe that this is an important, promising but unutilized, area for
partnerships for sustainable development through collaborative R&D, with
sharing of the resulting IPRs, between institutions in industrialized and
developing countries .
Mr. Chairman,
Even though the international community has made promises of living
up to their commitments for technology transfer and additional financing
since Rio, this has not happened . Critical technologies have been out of
reach of developing countries because of prohibitive cost, due largely to
the existing IPRs regime . In addition, the international community was to
create an environment conducive to development . This highlights the need
for a non-discriminatory, open, transparent and equitable multilateral
financial, monetary and trading system, and full and effective
participation of developing countries in the international norm-setting and
rule-making processes .
A frequently stated reason for not honouring the commitments in
respect of transfer of technologies is that, under the existing IPRs regime,
the private sector has legal rights over such technologies . We need,
however, to bear in mind that all IPRs regimes are the realization of tradeoffs
between providing incentives to the innovator, and imperatives of wider
human society. The IPRs issue was successfully addressed on this basis in
respect of pharmaceuticals for addressing public health crises, such as
HIV/AIDS, in developing countries . There is a similar need for revisiting the
IPRs regime to ensure that technologies, which are necessary for pursuing
the global imperative of sustainable development, are placed in the limited
public domain for access by developing countries, for implementation of their
activities for sustainable development .
Mr. Chairman,
The primary responsibility to take action to reduce the threat of climate
change is with the industrialised countries, in accordance with the principle
of common but differentiated responsibility, as enshrined in the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The UNFCCC has also provided for cooperation among countries .
Several partnerships, including the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Energy
and Climate, the Gleneagles process, and others, including bilateral
partnerships, show promise of addressing climate change concerns, while
promoting clean energy and sustainable development .
The Kyoto Protocol has yielded the Clean Development Mechanism,
whose outcomes are encouraging, but which requires strongly enhanced
commitments for GHGs abatement by industrialized countries who seek to
rely on this mechanism for sending long-term signals to the private sector in
respect of innovation and investment.
On the other hand, air pollution, which may be salient at household,
local, national, and sometimes, the regional, but not the global, level, can be
best addressed at the relevant spatial level, through various approaches,
including the provision of information, technology, norms, and regulations .
There are numerous successful examples throughout the world of such
arrangements . An integrated approach to addressing air
pollution/atmosphere, and climate, arguing that addressing one would solve
the other, and vice versa, would not help seriously address either problem .
Unlike the former, Climate change, is a global problem, and the UNFCCC
provides the global basis for addressing the issue .
Mr. Chairman,
The world, in time, will be a different place, if the unsustainable
patterns of production and consumption in industrialized countries are
reversed .
Resource intensive practices of food production, excessive industrial
use of energy and non-renewable raw materials, energy intensive means of
transportation, buildings and urban centres which consume far more energy
and water than necessary, and insufficient recycling and reuse of the vast
quantities of waste generated, collectively leave a huge environmental
footprint on the planet. These practices must be eschewed at the earliest.
This will not threaten anyone's prosperity . Rather, it will secure it for all
our grandchildren .
Mr. Chairman,
The review of the implementation of Mauritius Strategy amply
demonstrates that long-term attention would need to be given to capacity
building in and resource transfer to SIDS so as to enable them to address
the challenges faced by them in managing compelling priorities for
development. India, in the spirit of South-South solidarity, has directed its
engagement with SIDS to focus on areas such as natural disaster
preparedness and mitigation, resilience and capacity building and adaptation
to climate change. Contribution of a fellow country like India is intended to
supplement the efforts required from the international community . It is
essential that the donor community fulfill their commitments for the provision
of adequate assistance, including financial resources, technology transfer
and capacity building, to the small island developing nations .
Mr. Chairman,
I have touched upon some issues that are relevant. What we achieve
on the ground will determine the success of this process .
Thank you, Mr. Chairman .