United Nations: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday lauded India's efforts to scale-up solar power and clean the Ganga river through?an ambitious rejuvenation project and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "leadership and vision" in the field of sustainable development has "impressed and inspired" him.
In his remarks through a video-link from here to the 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit in New Delhi, Ban said renewable energy can mean cleaner air and better health and climate-smart agriculture offers better water and food security.
"Climate change threatens to undermine hard-earned development gains. But combatting climate change is an opportunity for low-carbon growth that will benefit people and the planet," he said in his remarks for the summit, organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
Ban pointed to Modi's vision of "development without destruction" and said he had "very good talks" with the Indian leadership when he visited New Delhi and Gujarat last month.
"...I was very much impressed and inspired by the Prime Minister's leadership and vision. We see it in India's rapid scale-up of solar power, the Ganga Rejuvenation project and the creation of smart cities, 100 smart cities," he said.
"These solutions can reduce poverty, catalyse clean, sustainable growth, and increase resilience to climate change," he said.?? ????
Ban added that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg would be his Special Envoy to the renewable energy global investors meet 'RE-Invest' in New Delhi from February 15 to 17.
Ban noted that addressing climate change and embracing sustainable development are complementary and interdependent.
"These are just two sides of one coin. Investing in climate is investing in growth, and investing in growth will end in investing in climate change," he said.
The UN Chief underscored that now is the "time for action ? time for a global agreement".
"We need all hands on deck to meet the climate challenge. Now, Governments must create the policy frameworks. But the private sector also has an important role to play, as does civil society, the scientific community, and think-tanks such as TERI," he said.
The world will make massive investments in new infrastructure for cities, energy and agriculture over the next 15 years and if this spending is directed towards low-carbon goods, technologies and services, nations will be on their way towards a more sustainable, equitable future, he said.
"But if we ignore the low-carbon pathway, we may fail to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We will put ourselves and our future generations at grave risk from dangerous climate disruptions," he said, adding that TERI's focus this year on 'Sustainable Development Goals and Dealing with Climate Change' is particularly relevant as the UN is set to convene a Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September marking the creation of new Sustainable Development Goals that will apply to all nations.