Monday, October 27, 2008

India: PM's statement on Sustainable Development at the ASEM Summit

Driving Sustainable Development

(Millennium Development Goals, Energy Security and Climate Change, Social Cohesion)

Sustainable development is among the biggest challenges of our times. However, a lot of cooperative work is needed to transform it from a mere buzz word to an operational strategy for development.

We know that Asia is home to the largest concentration of the world's poor. Poverty eradication at this scale requires a collaborative global effort to promote development and in particular to create job opportunities. If we fail, we will continue to live in a world of instability and conflict.

The development strategies that we adopt have to result in a fair, equitable and balanced distribution of the economic dividend. At the same time, it must also preserve and protect the environment. Only then can we make faster progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

We therefore need to put in place a global action plan to promote both food and energy security for managing the challenges of both accelerated growth and its environmental sustainability.

Unfortunately, the international community has not lived up to its commitments for technology transfer and additional financing since the Rio Conference. We should pursue innovative mechanisms for raising finance for development and creating a favourable IPR regime.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Climate change threatens our environment and our development. A holistic approach is needed to tackle this problem. We cannot do so by perpetuating the poverty of the developing countries, or by preventing their industrialization. The challenge ahead is to put in place development strategies which improve living standards, create opportunities for job creation and are also environment friendly.

Thus, common but differentiated responsibility should be the cardinal principle of negotiations to find practical and pragmatic solutions within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Progress on the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol has been slow. Emissions of developed countries have actually increased by 2.6 % from 2000 to 2005. We should call upon our European partners to do more in this regard. The developing world is committed to doing its share.

I believe that the principle of convergence of per-capita emissions of developing countries with advanced developed countries is catching the imagination of the international community. We should recognize that each citizen of the world has equal entitlement to the global atmospheric space.

Our dependence on fossil fuels is a cause of many problems. Greater effort is needed to promote clean and renewable sources of energy, including nuclear energy.

The world therefore needs a new compact to increase efficiency in the use of available energy resources.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Without peace there can be no sustainable development. Terrorism, extremism, and intolerance threaten our social cohesion.

We need to continuously strengthen international cooperation to combat terrorism. We must bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of terrorism to justice.

Finally, globalization, if it is to succeed, must be fair and benefit the whole of humanity. Development has to be inclusive. It must reduce disparities of income and wealth. It should create ever widening circles of stake-holders. It should respect pluralism and diversity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Asia is growing rapidly and has proven capabilities as a provider of goods, services and knowledge. Europeans are world leaders in the scientific, technological and financial areas. We have therefore much to learn from each other. We seek on this historic occasion a meeting of minds and of these complementarities to bring both stability and prosperity to our two continents and to the world at large.

Thank you.

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