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Lack of Clean Water, Food and Energy is Affecting the Growth of Developing Countries: Kofi Annan

LONDON, WASHINGTON, TOKYO, UTRECHT, The Netherlands and NEW DELHI, February 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Global think tank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) launched the 14th edition of its annual flagship event, The 'Delhi Sustainable Development Summit' (DSDS) in New Delhi today.

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The course of three days will witness an array of speakers voicing their opinion on the theme of the conference: 'Attaining Energy, Water and Food Security For All'. Sustainable growth and development was stressed by various speakers, especially in the context of developing countries facing a crisis in midst of climate change and scarcity of natural resources.

Delivering the keynote address, Mr Kofi Annan, Nobel Laureate and Former Secretary-General, United Nations, said: "Asia is a major driver of the global economy, where most of the developing countries are struggling to overcome various kinds of disparities. We cannot continue to exploit the resources of the world like the developed countries have done. Lack of access to clean water, energy and food is impeding the growth of developing countries." He said that climate change continues to affect the poor countries more than the developed countries, adding that a fundamental shift would be needed to integrate policy making and reverse this trend.

"We need the right kind of incentives and support to counter the effects of climate change. Richer countries need to take up global commitments to reduce the amount of the emissions greenhouse gases." He added that sustainability must be at the core of global policy planning. "Governments and the Corporate must come up with incentives and innovations to make development truly sustainable."

Mr. Salman Khurshid, Hon'ble Minister of External Affairs, Govt. of India, said: "The theme of the DSDS is topical and critical. We need a new global awakening where the needs of the poor are addressed adequately." He said that the problems of food, water and energy have become acute and urgent steps would be needed by all stakeholders to reverse this trend. Conservation and preservation have become the keys to environmental sustainability and global policy making, adding that the global community must be at the fore-front to usher in a fundamental change in the way we address sustainable development.

Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Hon'ble Minister of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India, said: "To achieve sustainable development for all, it is important that we need to think and act together. We have been thinking separately and individually for a long time. It is time we put our narrow differences aside and work together, because only if we work together, we can survive together." In India, more than 40 per cent of people do not have access to clean energy, he said. We need to use harness all sources of energy, even nuclear energy, till the time renewable energy is able to achieve its targets, he added.

Mr. Danny Faure, Vice- President of Seychelles said: "It is the oceans that drive the global climate, but the world is paying far less attention to the oceans, and our understanding of the oceans is still very sparse." He said that small and island states of the world are the worst affected by climate change and the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and its effects. He added that the global agenda needs to move towards a blue economy, where the survival of the small and island nations are taken into consideration.

Dr. R.K. Pachauri, Director General, TERI said: "The Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) assembles the highest level of talent that an event of this nature can mobilize from across the globe on an annual basis. The theme for this year's Summit which is "Attaining Energy, Water, Food Security for All", focuses on a problem which is growing towards serious proportions in several parts of the world. The Summit will address strategies and challenges through the presence and involvement of world leaders, Nobel Prize winners, ministers from several countries and leaders from business, academia and civil society. The proceedings of the Summit would be disseminated on a wide scale so that the collective wisdom generated in DSDS 2014 benefits global society at large.

One of the significant outcomes of the Summit was the Tenth Sustainable Development Leadership Award, which was given to Mr Anand Mahindra, who is the Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra, a top Indian corporate.The Award felicitates global leaders for their contributions in the field of sustainable development. It is presented during the Summit as TERI's tribute to eminent individuals engaged in encouraging global initiatives that can lead the world towards a sustainable future. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mahindra said we must work towards ways to make sustainability a profitable buzzword in business.

Press Meet between Kofi Annan and Dr R K Pachauri

Among the highlights of the first day was a press meet between Mr Kofi Annan, Nobel Laureate and Former Secretary-General, United Nations and Dr. R.K.Pachauri, Director General, TERI. Answering a question on the UN Millennium Development goals, Mr Kofi Annan said that these goals must be achieved to launch a frontal attack against poverty. "India means a lot to me. The South-South cooperation must be strengthened in times to come," he said.

Referring to the recent smog in India and China, Mr Annan said that India and China must work together to curb the high pollution load emanating from vehicular pollution, adding that developed countries need to take a lead in responding to climate change. Dr. Pachauri added that the present climate change crisis is due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere for the last 150 years, which is largely the responsibility of the developed nations. Mr Annan added that developing countries should not shy away from their own responsibilities to curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Answering another question, Mr Annan said that governments need to play a pro-active role in countering the impacts of climate change, but added that we must not leave it to politicians to do the job. "Governments need to push for greater responsibilities among the corporate and civil society organizations to meeting emission targets," he said. Dr. Pachauri gave the example of California, which had achieved huge targets in emissions reduction, without any drop in economic growth. He said it was important for governments to create the right environment to achieve tangible overall developmental results.

Mr Annan also spoke of the growing urbanization the world-over and its effects on the environment and the social impacts of this unplanned growth. "About 50 per cent of with world is now living in cities. This has created huge problems for adequate infrastructure and sanitation among many other problems. He laid special emphasis on small and island nations, which are worst affected by climate change, so that they can forge an alliance during global events so that they can place their problems in the international arena.

Replying to a question on the importance of Gram Swaraj in achieving sustainable development, Mr Annan said that governments need to come up with the right incentives and policy initiatives to protect the life and livelihood of local communities and poor people. Dr. Pachauri added that the right kind of fiscal instruments, including agricultural incentives need to be given to realize Mahatma Gandhi's dream of Swaraj possible. He gave the example of solar energy campaign of TERI, adding that more than 3,000 villages had been lit up due to innovation policies of TERI.

Lord John Prescott, former Deputy Prime Minister and Member of Parliament, House of Lords, the UK, argued that the idea that sustainability can be triggered by environmental growth alone is highly questionable. He said: "Access to food and water is a human right. If we merely stopped the waste of food, we could feed 870 million more people. "The Market on its own cannot come up with equitable solutions."

During the discussion on the role of water management in addressing the Water-Food-Energy nexus, Mr Takehiko Nakao, President, Asian Development Bank, said, "In advanced societies, we should teach children the culture of not wasting food." "Industrialization and Urbanization are reducing water for agriculture."

The three-day Summit will witness participation from a galaxy of eminent speakers which includes Mr Kofi Annan, Nobel Laureate and Former Secretary-General, United Nations; HE Mr James Alix Michel, President, Seychelles; H.E. Mr Bharrat Jagdeo, Former President, Guyana; Rt Hon'ble Lord John Prescott, Former Deputy Prime Minister & Member of Parliament, House of Lords, UK; Mr Lance Ignon, Director, San Francisco Office, Sitrick And Company, USA; Rt Hon'ble Lord Deben John Gummer, Former Member of Parliament, UK; Rt Hon'ble Gregory Barker, Minister of State for Climate Change, UK; Mr Lance Ignon, Director, San Francisco Office, Sitrick And Company, USA; Mr. Takehiko Nakao, President, Asian Development Bank, the Philippines and Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank, U.S.A among others.

SOURCE The Energy and Resources Institute

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