International climate regime should move from a ‘country-centric’ approach to ‘people-centric’ approach: Hardeep S Puri

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“The time has come for a paradigm shift in the international climate regime which has to move from a ‘country-centric’ approach to ‘people-centric’ approach to climate actions.”, said Shri Hardeep S Puri, Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas and Housing & Urban Affairs today. He was speaking at the Valedictory Session- ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Development and Climate Resilience for Collective Action’ of World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) 2023.

Mr. Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Mr. Ugo Astuto, Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union to India, Shri Nitin Desai, Chairman, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director-General, The International Solar Alliance were among other dignitaries to attend the WSDS 2023. The event was organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) from 22nd to 24th  February, 2023.

Talking about his association with the Summit and it’s evolution to its present form, Shri Hardeep S. Puri said, “My association with the Summit goes back to when it was known as the ‘Delhi Sustainable Development Summit’”.  Over 22 years, the Summit has built a distinguished legacy of promoting global sustainable development, especially in its advocacy for the Global South to strengthen commitments at all levels of governance, he said.

The Minister said that the world is recovering from a once-in-a-century pandemic; there are geopolitical conflicts in parts of the world; the three-F crisis (food, fuel, fertiliser) threatens energy security; and economic uncertainty will continue for the next couple of years. These issues are closely linked to the discussions that we are having today on sustainable development, he added.

Shri Hardeep S Puri also talked about India’s presidency of G20 and how it will play important role in shaping global response to the issues faced by world such as climate change. He said that it is imperative that we coordinate and calibrate policy response from the lowest local level to the highest global gathering. He expressed that a stronger commitment to the SDGs and the multilateral agenda are going to be fundamental to the global response. India will give resonance to the voice of the Global South and highlight the common concerns of energy security and climate justice, he said.

The Minister said that the transformational progress in water and sanitation, housing, food, energy access, digital connectivity, and financial inclusion have led to an unprecedented ‘saturation of service’. This approach to development resonates with the ‘leave no one behind’ philosophy of the SDGs, he said.

Calling India’s progress on climate action an inspiration, Shri Puri remarked that despite the pandemic, India has shown remarkable progress on numerous SDG targets without causing any negative spillovers while other countries have stagnated. The SDG Report 2022 highlights India’s particularly rapid improvement on SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

The Minister said that visionary proposals such as the Panchamrit Action Plan that Prime Minister Modi put forward at COP-26 provide the ambitious response needed to push the sustainable development agenda. India has pledged to become a net-zero country by 2070 and is on its way to cut down emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030. Shri Puri also highlighted the LiFE Mission through which Prime Minister has emphasised that environment is not just a global cause, but the personal responsibility of every individual.

Speaking about India’s path towards Green transition, the Minister said that the government is implementing many programmes for transition to a greener economy and efficient use of energy across various sectors. “We have increased ethanol blending in petrol from 1.53% in 2013-14 to 10.17% in July 2022, and have advanced our target to achieve 20% ethanol blending from 2030 to 2025-26. India is launching a Global Alliance on Biofuels, along with USA and Brazil, during India’s Presidency of G20”,  he mentioned. He also talked about the India’s Green Hydrogen policy which is a revolutionary shift which is set to make India a global hub for green hydrogen and green ammonia production. India aims to produce 5 MT Green Hydrogen annually by 2030.

Highlighting importance of multilateralism in Sustainable Development, the Minister remarked that India believes in the power of global cooperation. Multilateral processes can ensure equitable and just outcomes to all people and ecosystems.