Bijoy Basant Patro/OneWorld South Asia
New Delhi: Delhi-based research organization, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), that works on sustainable development issues in the fields of energy and environment at a global level, held a press conference on Monday to highlight its international summit on sustainable development. Addressing the press conference, Dr RK Pachauri, director general, TERI said: “The Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) is now a significant global event bringing together people of eminence from a spectrum of fields such as polity, economy and society from across the globe to discuss challenges to sustainable development. The discussions centre on issues of concern to members of human society.”
Pachauri underlined the import of the theme of the twelfth DSDS summit, ‘Protecting the Global Commons: 20 Years Post Rio’, saying that it is time to assess the progress made in protecting our planet and examine what has been achieved since the first earth summit in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. Global commons is defined as those natural resources like the air, the forests and the oceans that are not owned by anyone but belong to everyone.
“The DSDS will provide information to the official Rio+20 process,” Pachauri said. He placed this in the context of the dichotomy between private and personal as against interests of society as a whole. This, he said, should be understood in the light of the situation of the global commons which beg heed to whether “the commons are being protected for the coming generations, or even for this generation, given the questions of ethics and equity that arise on the issue of the commons.”
This year’s edition of DSDS will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, along with three heads of states, dignitaries, Nobel Laureates and ministers from 15 countries.
The curtain raiser to the summit will be the World CEO Sustainability Summit which will witness an impressive congregation of business leaders and discuss targeted business and sustainability issues under an overarching theme: “Doing Business – While Protecting the Global Commons.”
Linking the issue of the protection of the global commons with climate change, Pachauri alluded to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international organisation that he heads, saying that the report scientifically brings forth the issue of heat-waves and precipitation becoming more often extreme. “In certain areas we have not done enough,” he regretted, hoping that Rio+20 would provide new directions and strategies. Asked for his view on possible new strategic directions, he said, “Place a price on carbon if you want to reduce emission of carbon-di-oxide. There are a number of issues to be covered, as it raises institutional issues and issues of equity and ethics.”
Dr Pachauri answered a range of questions, including on the recently mooted sustainable development goals. “These will get a lot of attention. These goals will also need a degree of alignment with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” he said, expressing a need for attention on how MDGs can mesh in with whatever goals are going to be set.
In the same breath, he raised the issue of sustainable energy for all. “Energy access apart from adequacy and energy supply is an issue,” he said, drawing attention to TERI’s programme, light a billion lives, wherein the organisation is providing solar lanterns and energy-efficient cooking stoves. “People deserve access to modern and clean forms of energy,” he qualified. TERI’s solar lanterns programme has so far covered 12,000 households in India, apart from a similar programme in Ethiopia, Indonesia and Myanmar. Much remained to be done, he argued, considering that in India alone, 400 million people had no access to electricity.