Underlining that environmental governance is the key factor in planning the future of any country, India today said the UN environment programme must work on integrating the green dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals.

"The world must build upon the momentum generated in Paris on Climate Change and in UN on SDGs. Environmental governance is going to be the key factor in planning the future of any country and will always remain the focal point of respective national plans," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said in his intervention at the United Nations Environment Assembly at Nairobi.

"Therefore, India suggests that United Nations Environment Assembly/ United Nations Environment Programme (UNEA/UNEP) should concentrate in environmental policy and governance issues. UNEP should work upon integrating the environmental dimensions of the SDGs," he said.

Observing that no country should "try to divert" the debate to "unrelated issues", Javadekar said that nations should not "tinker" with the gains made through collective consensus and sanctity of each forum should be maintained.

Noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed upon lifestyle issues at the Paris meeting and the agreement signed there adopted sustainable consumption in its preamble, Javadekar said that SDGs cannot be achieved unless lifestyle issues are addressed and more sustainable consumption patterns are adopted.

Each country must come out with its action plan to achieve its sustainable lifestyle and the time frame to achieve it. Developed world must also come out with concrete timetable on finance and technology support and their own actions to achieve lifestyle issues.

"The ultimate goal of global community has to be equitable per capita consumption of resources. Financial resources must be mobilised by next year. And therefore the review process must include a transparent review of progress made in the Means of Implementation," he said.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda.
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Noting that India is a key nation in achieving SDG and has already started "rigorous" action on this front, Javadekar said that the government has imposed a cess of USD 6/tonne of coal production and have already finalised the programme to achieve 40 GW of renewable energy.

He said India is well on the way of achieving its target of 100 million LED bulbs in one year and it is offering 30 per cent subsidy to electrical vehicles.

"On the pollution front, emission norms of twenty polluting industries have been made more stringent which will reduce pollution load by 20 per cent. India has revamped its waste management rules and has decided to migrate to Euro/Bharat VI norms for fuel and vehicles in next 1,000 days, with an investment of USD 10 billion.

"National Air Quality Index has been launched and 24X7 monitoring is tapping the pollution of 2400 Industries," he said.

The Indian Environment Minister said the country is investing USD 6 billion in accelerated afforestation and is incentivising tree cover outside the forest, which can help to achieve its target of creating carbon sink of 2.5 billion tonnes.

"60 million affordable housing and rapid metro expansion, along with 50 million houses to be provided with LPG connections to replace fire wood usage are some other initiatives. This is leading by example," he said.

Source: May 26, 2016, Business Standard