India reiterates its commitment towards sustainable development and Climate Justice at Durban
December 9, 2018

India has called for a judicious use of resources amidst concerns over resource depletion and scarcity. Addressing the 4thBRICS Ministerial meeting in Durban, South Africa, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that a decrease in global materials, or at least stabilization at present levels, demand major reductions in metabolic rates in the Asia-Pacific region, especially India. He pointed out that this can become possible only through Resource Efficiency (RE) not only throughout the material life cycle, but also at the post-consumption stage. The Minister added that secondary resources (waste materials) need to be brought back into production, adopting a Circular Economy (CE) approach. Dr. Harsh Vardhan emphasised that Resource Efficiency (RE) and Circular Economy (CE) are key elements of Sustainable Development and impact resource efficiency and that is why there is a global commitment to achieve it.

Reiterating India’s commitment to building responsive, inclusive and collective solutions, Dr. Harsh Vardhan underlined that BRICS nations face similar environmental concerns such as air pollution, waste management, resource crunch and climate change. “BRICS countries should together emphasize on the cooperation in air pollution control through technology transfer and requisite capacity building”, Dr. Vardhan said. He urged BRICS nations to commit to cooperation and collaboration on technology transfer, capacity building and knowledge transfer at the country, regional and global levels. “BRICS countries can complement, facilitate access to and provide adequate information on existing science, technology and innovation platforms, avoiding duplications and enhancing synergies,” he averred. The Minister added that India will be pleased to contribute and provide further recommendations to the BRICS Environment Working Group on the modalities of Partnership for Urban Environmental Sustainability Initiative (PUESI). Dr. Vardhan expressed the confidence that the proposals on BRICS Environmentally Sound Technology (BEST) platform, clean river umbrella, circular economy, ocean economy, biodiversity and integrated water resources management will further strengthen the cooperation for sustainable development.

Minister of Water and Environment Affairs, South Africa, Ms. Bomo Edith Edna Molewa, Vice-Minister for Environment, Energy, Science and Technology of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brazil, Mr J. Antonio Marcondes, DG, International Cooperation Department of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, Mr. Nuritdin Imanov, Vice-Minister of Ecology and Environment, China, Mr. Huang Runqiu and representative of United Nations Environment (UNEP), Mr. Jorge Laguna-Celis were among the distinguished ones present on the occasion.

Later on, making an intervention at the 26th BASIC Ministerial Meeting of Environment Ministers in Durban, Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the world is at a critical stage in combating climate change. “We are at a very critical stage, both in our efforts to combat climate change and in the negotiations. There is an evident need for greater action and we find that the response of the developed countries is still not adequate,” Dr Harsh Vardhan pointed out. The Minister urged the developed countries need to take a leadership role in terms of mitigation and providing means of implementation to developing countries. “While we talk about our actions, it is equally important to emphasise that the ambition of the developing countries needs to be supported and sustained, predictable and adequate finance, technology and capacity-building support to be provided by the developed countries,” Dr Harsh Vardhan added.

The Minister told his counterparts from BASIC countries and Mr. Michal Kurtyka of Poland, who will take over as next COP 24 parties, that India has shown the vision and the political will to act. He said that the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s vision is to ensure sustainable development, while protecting the most vulnerable from the effects of climate change. Later, addressing a press conference, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the BASIC group has decided to preserve the integrity of Paris Agreement, including the principles of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Equity.
Dr Harsh Vardhan reiterated his appeal to make joint efforts to create a societal movement in combating climate change through “Green Good Deeds”.

The Basic countries is a bloc of four countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China, formed by an agreement on November 28, 2009. The four committed to act jointly at the Copenhagen climate summit.