India should re-commit to sustainable development: Patil

June 6th, 2008 - 12:20 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) Exhorting all Indians to protect the ecology, President Pratibha Patil Thursday said the country must focus on sustainable development of health, education and clean environment. “Today is an appropriate occasion to re-commit ourselves to ensuring that the sustainable development process provides to all our people - health, nutrition, education and housing so that all can live a life of dignity in a clean and healthy atmosphere,” Patil said at a function Thursday to observe World Environment Day.

“This should be a collective global endeavour for the international community that established a global partnership to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, including by providing financial and technological support to developing countries,” she added.

Expressing concern over the climate change and its wide-ranging economic and social impact, she said the global community should work together to reduce its repercussions.

“Though all countries contribute, to some extent, to the generation of greenhouse gases, the contribution of developing countries like India is vastly different and far lower than that of developed countries.

“Global discussions on climate change must, therefore, bear in mind that the process of burden sharing should be fair and in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities,” she added.

Patil said though India has no international obligation to reduce emissions, as a responsible member of the world community it is taking action to contribute to the global efforts.

She also highlighted several measures taken by India to achieve energy efficiency like wind and solar power.

Under the Green India programme, she said the country would launch a massive afforestation project covering six million hectares of degraded forestland, which is probably the world’s largest.

The slogan adopted for this year’s World Environment Day is the importance of low carbon economy. “The carbon footprint of human activity can be reduced when each individual, each household, each industrial unit - all undertake their work and activities as energy-efficient as possible and reduce wastage,” she said.

On the occasion, she gave the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar to Sant Gadge Baba Amrawati University of Maharashtra in institutional category, and Jagadish Babla of Uttarakhand and Amrita Patel of Gujarat in the individual category.

The varsity was awarded for its outstanding contribution to environmental amelioration, conservation and creating environmental awareness in the Vidarbha region.

Babla, who has been working in the Garhwal region for 30 years, has planted nearly 320,000 saplings with help from children and youngsters.

Amrita Patel guided the national tree growers co-operative federation from a pilot project to an organisation working in seven states. Patel, who is also the chairman of the National Dairy Development Board, has brought around 33,000 hectares of land under improved vegetation cover.

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