Rich nations shy from commitment at Rio Earth Summit

June 21st, 2012 - 10:54 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Rio de Janeiro, June 21 (IANS) As the Earth Summit began Wednesday, India had more than one reason to be happy, with its main concerns addressed in the draft of the declaration to be adopted by the 90 global leaders here Thursday, but felt let down by rich nations for lack of commitment in funding green programmes.

“One significant development has been the restoration of the centrality of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities,” said India’s Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, who is assisting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also here, at what is also called the Rio+20 Summit.

Her reference was to the demands of poor and developing economies that rich countries, which are seen as having been primarily responsible for the present environmental degradation, must share a greater burden in restoring the health of our planet.

“Equity and its manifestation — the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities — are at the heart of international cooperation for sustainable development. We are glad that we have collectively agreed on this key issue,” Natarajan told journalists at a briefing session.

But India felt saddened by the lack of firm commitment by the rich nations on how to fund schemes, technologies and programmes that will result in making planet Earth greener and promote growth and inclusion in a sustainable manner.
But that was not expected given the current global economic crisis.

“While we remain disappointed with the weak political will in developed countries to provide enhanced means of implementation to developing countries, we are glad we have agreed to set up two important mechanisms — one for technology transfer and another for finance,” Natarajan said.

“Both were Indian proposals and received strong support from G77 countries, including those from Africa, the least developed countries and small island-states. We now keen to collectively ensure these mechanisms are operationalised and delivered effectively for developing countries.”

At the Summit, India also sought to point out the dichotomy between the environmental concerns of the rich countries and those of the poor and developing economies, particularly since the latter were being asked to reverse the consequences of what had been done earlier by the developed world.

“The rich countries grew, developed and polluted the world. Consequently, when the environment movements came, they had the money to clean up. Our nascent growth and economy start our growth trajectory with the problems of a polluted world,” Natarajan told the summit.

But that does not mean India was seeking to shirk its role.

“India has already taken several steps to promote green growth in the context of sustainable development, including plans for emissions intensity reduction by 20-25 percent by 2020 over 2005,” Natarajan said.

She said India also is on the path to add 20,000 megawatt of solar energy and will act decisively on the Prime Minister’s National Missions for enhanced energy efficiency and sustainable habitat.

Manmohan Singh, who arrived earlier Wednesday, is scheduled to address Thursday the key event, which also marks the 20th anniversary (hence Rio+20) of the first such gathering of world leaders in Brazil’s largest city that first emphasized the concept of sustainable development.

(Arvind Padmanabhan can be reached at

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