It wasn’t the planet but people and their commitment to nature that was ‘fragile,’ said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday in his inaugural address at The Energy and Resources Institute’s (TERI) World Sustainable Development Summit.
But India, Mr. Modi claimed, had “walked the talk” by ensuring that equitable energy access to the poor remained a cornerstone of its environmental policy. These included initiatives such as 90 million households getting access to clean cooking fuel under the Ujjwala Yojana scheme and farmers being encouraged to set up solar panels under the PM-KUSUM scheme where farmers could use and sell surplus power to the grid, which would promote sustainability and equity.
The Prime Minister discussed the LED bulbs distribution scheme that has been running for over seven years that had reportedly saved close to 220 billion units of electricity and prevented 180 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The National Hydrogen Mission aims to tap into ‘green hydrogen’ and it was up to the academic and research institutes such as TERI to come up with scalable solutions.
Mr. Modi also mentioned international recognition for India’s efforts by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and India now having 49 Ramsar sites (wetlands) spread over more than 1 million hectares.
Restoring degraded land has been one of the main focus areas since 2015 and more than 11.5 million hectares have been restored. “We are on track to achieve the national commitment of Land Degradation Neutrality under the Bonn Challenge. We firmly believe in fulfilling all our commitments made under the UNFCCC. We have also raised our ambitions during CoP-26 at Glasgow,” he said.
Mr. Luis Abinader, President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Ms. Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, and Union Minister Bhupender Yadav were among those present at the online summit.