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Global Coalition Needed to Fight Poverty and Climate Change: Top Experts at TERI Meet

NEW DELHI, India, February 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

On the second day of the 14th edition of The 'Delhi Sustainable Development Summit' (DSDS), held in New Delhi today, world leaders and top experts called for a global coalition to fight poverty and usher in sustainable development while combating the ill effects of climate change. The event is being organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the theme of this year's Summit is "Attaining Food, Water, and Energy Security For All".

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Prof Jeffrey D Sachs, Director, Earth Institute, said that the stakes are very high as the UN Millennium Development goals are yet to be met, while at the same time, there has been a steady increase in the levels of greenhouse gas emissions and current pollution levels show no signs of abating. "There is a lot of poverty and development in the road ahead. We need to decarbonize the global economy," he said, adding that we need a fundamental change to meet the developmental challenges of tomorrow. He said that organizations such as TERI must be play an integral role in South Asia's developmental networks.

Lise Grande, UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme, said that there was bad news in store for Asia as the region is going to face even greater shortages in the areas of water, food and energy security. "Food security will eventually lead to water and energy security," she said. Two-thirds of the world is still facing food shortages, while 40 per cent of Asia is facing a severe water crisis. Large amounts of water would be needed to meet the growing needs of agriculture, and this pressure will impact global targets to overcome poverty and climate change.

The Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) has assembled the highest level of talent that an event of this nature can mobilize from across the globe on an annual basis. The Summit witnessed 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.

Prof Hironori Hamanaka, Chair, Board of Directors, Institute for Global Environment Strategies, said that a significant gap had been created between demand and supply in the areas of water and food leading to severe shortfalls in developmental planning. He said we needed a transparent system to overcome the gaps. "There is a clean nexus between energy, water and food, so the global agenda must be driven with a multi-disciplinary development approach to attain sustainable development," he said.

Expressing the need to bring local farmers in global decision making, Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj (Farmers' Forum, India), said that developing local vegetable gardens in rural areas can go a long way in ensuring food security. He added that that global research needs to pay more attention to climate change and GM crops so that the ill effects of environmental mismanagement does not worsen poverty levels in the world.

Drawing the world's attention to the state of the mountains, David Molden, Director General, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), said that the mountain environment continues to remain critical, with the acceleration of the melting of glaciers and unplanned development continuing unabated in the hills. "The exploitation of the mountains must stop," he said. He added the people who live downstream must be protected against the exploitation of people staying upstream. Leena Srivastava, Vice Chancellor, TERI University, said that while addressing the macro environment, one needs to look at the micro level and make changes wherever necessary. "Poor people in rural areas need to be sensitized on various aspects of development and the environment," she said.

 Commenting on the vast disparities that exist between the developed and developing countries, Prof. Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Deputy Director General, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, said that 85 richest people own more than the world's 3.5 billion poor people, and one billion are affected by severe food shortages. Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said that the effects of climate change are being felt by countries across the world. "Our present paradigm of development is going to lead to a severe water shortage, especially for the US and China, and our water usages are going to determine our energy proliferation," he said.

Prof. Petteri Taalas, Director General, Finnish Meteorological Institute, spoke about the various climatic events affecting the world. "The rising sea levels, the melting of glaciers and increasing natural disasters occurring in the world will have overall impacts on the environment." He added that the growth of the middle class is a cause for concern as this will lead to more consumption on one hand, and lead to increase in emissions on the other.

On the occasion, TERI and the Royal Norwegian Embassy renewed their plans to work together in the field of climate change and climate modeling to offset the effects of global warming. The climate modeling capacity building efforts started at TERI under the TERI Framework Agreement with the Embassy, and has now matured to scales that TERI has now been able to organize this Research School on an annual basis.

Among the highlights of the first day was a Special Session on the challenges that African nations face in attaining sustainable development. Mr Henri Djombo, Minister of Forestry Economy and Sustainable Development, Congo, said the African nations need to agree on a common strategy to achieve energy, water and food security. He said that these issues were clearly interlinked and governments needed to set aside 10 per cent of their budget for agriculture development. "We need greater public-private partnerships to attain developmental goals," he said, adding that more incentives needed to be provided for renewable energy to combat the threats arising out of climate change.  

Mass Axi Gai, Minister of fisheries and water resources, Gambia, called on global leaders to come up with a special package for African nations to help mitigate the effects of climate change. "Human actions have worsened the effects of climate change, and now there is a danger that climate change will jeopardize water, food and energy security," he said.

One of the significant events of the Summit was a Session on 'Communicating for Sustainability', where participants stressed the need for more effective communication on issues related to environment and development.. The speakers reiterated the need for better packaging of environment and development events so that there is greater awareness among the public on issues that are critical to the survival of the planet.  

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.

DELHI SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT (DSDS):

DSDS is a flagship event organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) every year since 2001 that seeks to facilitate enlightened debate and discussion on the discourse of global sustainable development. Over the past 13 years, it has emerged as one of the most leading forums on issues of global sustainability. Through DSDS, TERI aims to create enabling platforms for global leaders, heads of State and Central governments, scientists, academicians, policy makers, entrepreneurs, corporate entities and the youth to exchange new ideas to expand the dimensions and scope of the debate over global sustainability issues. In the past, the summit has witnessed the participation of 36 heads of states, ministerial representation from 50 countries, and has been inaugurated by Hon'ble Prime Minister of India since 2010.

ABOUT TERI:

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization deeply committed to every aspect of energy, environment, and sustainable development. From providing environment-friendly solutions to rural energy problems, to helping shape the development of the Indian oil and gas sector; from tackling global climate change issues across many continents to enhancing forest conservation efforts among local communities; from advancing solutions to growing urban transportation and air pollution problems to promoting energy efficiency in Indian industries, the emphasis has always been on finding innovative solutions to make the world a better place to live in. All activities at TERI move from formulating local and national-level strategies to suggesting global solutions tackling critical energy and environment related issues.

Headed by Dr. R.K. Pachauri, also the chairperson of the Nobel Peace Prize winning climate change body, IPCC, TERI has emerged as an institution of excellence for its path-breaking research, and is a global brand widely respected by political leaders, policy makers, corporate entities as well as the civil society at large.

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SOURCE The Energy and Resources Institute

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