Indian Environment Minister calls for rich-poor partnerships to boost sustainable development

By John Parnell
RTCC in Hyderabad

Rich-poor partnerships will be required to advance sustainable development with developed countries reviewing their consumption patterns, according to Indian Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) COP11 summit in Hyderabad, where she was made chair of the conference, she said for India the challenge remained balancing development with environmental concerns.

“India foresaw environmental dangers before the phrase sustainable development was coined and climate change and biodiversity became buzzwords,” said Natarajan.

“Indira Ghandi set the stage for India to become a leader in balancing the development imperative with ecological security.”

“The decisions COP11 takes will lay the foundations to ensure that by 2020 ecosystems are resilient and continue to provide essential services therefore securing the planets variety of life, contributing to human well being and poverty eradication providing focused and sustained efforts are made by all stakeholders.”

Natarajan said this meant the developed world would need to play its part too by facing its own unique challenge.

“The developed world must figure out how to change its consumption patterns. Resource efficiency alone will not be enough,” she said.

“Despite the progress of the CBD in 20 years, biodiversity remains in a precarious position. I assure you that during our presidency India will give its leadership. We now have to look at implementation,” she added.

She called on countries to use the fortnight of discussions in Hyderabad to to set out a clear roadmap for the Strategic Plan on Biodiversity and the Nagoya Protocol agreed at COP10, saying the world was at a “critical crossroads” for biodiversity, and that countries had to ensure they did not relive past mistakes.

“None of us want to announce in 2020 that which we had to announce in 2010; that the biodiversity targets had not been met,” she said. “We have to remember we have not inherited our planet from our parents but we have borrowed it from our children.”

The CBD COP11 meeting runs until October 19.

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