Jan 31 2013, 2:50am CST | by Luigi Lugmayr
New Delhi, Jan 31 — Asserting that protecting the environment and promoting development need not amount to a zero sum game, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday called for transparent regulatory regimes to ensure that environmental and economic objectives were pursued in tandem.
Addressing the 13th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) organised by The Energy Research Institute (TERI), the prime minister stressed that resource efficiency was a necessary condition for sustainable development.
"Protection of the environment and promoting development need not amount to a zero sum game. What is required is regulatory regimes that are transparent, accountable and subject to oversight and monitoring," he said.
"Regulatory regimes are often the basic necessary condition to ensure that environmental and economic objectives are pursued in tandem."
The comments are important in the context of the ongoing debate over environment clearances hampering the country's development. The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has been directly involved in sorting out differences between various infrastructure based ministries and environment ministry.
Highways authorities and the coal ministry have also been at loggerheads with the environment ministry over delays in green clearances to their projects.
Manmohan Singh emphasised on resource-efficiency for sustainable development.
"The global environmental agenda and the global development agenda are now inter-linked. We in India are fully conscious of the need to conserve our resources through their utilisation in a sustainable manner," he said.
He stated that India is committed to meeting its domestic mitigation goal of reducing the emissions intensity of GDP by 20-25 percent by 2020.
"We need to re-engineer our economies in ways that are both frugal and innovative in their use of resources."
He said India has taken several major steps on the path of low carbon growth but real progress cannot be achieved if developed countries are not willing to enhance their ambition levels.
"Now is the time for the richer industrialised countries to show that they too are willing to move decisively along this path," he said.
The 13th edition of the DSDS focuses on the theme "The Global Challenge of Resource-Efficient Growth and Development". It provides an efficient platform for thought leaders and policymakers to discuss effective policy mechanisms to reduce energy and resource footprint. The summit has been held annually in New Delhi since 2001.
The three-day summit, which ends Feb 2, will see participation of three heads of state - Guyana President Donald Ramotar, Seychelles President James Alix Michel, Republic of Kiribati President Anote Tong - as well as dignitaries, Nobel laureates and ministers from several countries.
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