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Summit bulletin
Special Events
Steering Committee

22 January 2007 (Monday)
Summit bulletin
Inaugural Session
Keynote Address: Meeting Asia's Challenge of Sustainable Development
MDGs: The distance yet to be traversed
Keynote Address: Turning challenge into opportunity - the business role in sustainable development
Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Launch of the India Council for Sustainable Development
Dinner Session

Inaugural Session

Since its commencement in 2001, the DSDS has emerged as an important annual event, inspiring leaders and mobilizing public opinion on the objectives of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals). In the opening session of DSDS 2007, speakers noted that policy formulations are already beginning to stress the tenuous links between environmental concerns, economic development, and social justice. Since climate change is an ongoing process and there are multi-dimensional impacts associated with it, there is need to develop adequate and appropriate coping strategies. This, it was felt, will help civilizations adapt better to climate change.

Speakers also pointed out that reduction in the ecological footprints is an important step towards sustainable development and should not be construed as a reduction in the standard of life. The mobilization of science and technology would have an important role to play in this context; a case in point being the need to bridge the divide between the developed and the developing countries.

The panel discussion, which followed the addresses by the speakers, continued the focus on issues of sustainable development and climate change. It was acknowledged that policy and technology combine to create markets where even the deprived can participate.

It also emerged during the course of discussion that forms of governance also impact the sustainability of climate change policies. A democratic set-up is best suited to further the sustainable development agenda, as a clear division of roles between legislation, regulation, and implementation generates mutual trust and respect between political structure and people. The session concluded with the opinion that regardless of the system of governance, political leaders on the whole need to initiate sustainable dialogues at the national and international levels for translating climate change policies into visible impacts on the lives of people.

Session Panelists

Welcome address
Dr Arcot Ramachandran
Chairman, TERI, New Delhi

Presidential address
Smt. Sheila Dikshit
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Delhi, India

Inaugural address
Mr A Raja
Hon'ble Minister for Environment & Forests, Ministry of Environment & Forests, India

Vote of thanks
Dr R K Pachauri
Director-General, TERI

Introduction by
Prof. Ralph J Begleiter
Rosenberg Professor of Communication, University of Delaware and Distinguished Journalist in Residence, USA

Special address
One planet living: G8 Gleneagles dialogue by
Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK

Prof. Jeffrey D Sachs
Director – The Earth Institute & Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, USA

Panel Discussion
Creating a global resolve Statements by heads of governments / heads of states

• Rt. Hon. David Miliband MP
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK

• HE Mr Kjell Magne Bondevik
Former Prime Minister of Norway

• HE Mr Olafur Ragnar Grimsson
President of Iceland

• HE Ms Tarja Halonen
President of Finland

• HE Mr Mamadou Lamine Loum
former Prime Minister of Senegal

• Prof. Jeffrey D Sachs
Director – The Earth Institute & Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, USA

• HE Prof. Ruud F M Lubbers
Former Prime Minister of the Netherlands

Keynote Address: Meeting Asia's Challenge of Sustainable Development
Emphasizing that economic development should be considered a long-term objective even for the poorest of the poor, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs expressed concern over half of the population in Tropical Asia being below the poverty line. Hunger, malnutrition, non-availability of safe drinking water, and other basic needs are the major challenges in Asian countries. These problems demand low-cost solutions like availability of schools, rural health care, agricultural inputs, access to water, and safe technologies.

Prof. Sachs also focused on the current economic era of great convergence where the gap between the rich and the poor is narrowed. The only concern was that while the Asian countries account for 60% of the world’s population, they make up for a mere 20% of the GNP (gross national product), which would increase up to 50% by 2050.

He urged that all countries should join hands to solve the problem of emissions and proposed a policy framework for a post-Kyoto UNFCCC that would include agreeing on a mid-century target of 500 PPM (parts per million); rebate for the poor; standards for power plants, industries, and automobiles; avoiding deforestation; better technologies and their judicious transfer; price on carbon sequestration projects; and a global adaptation fund for low-income countries. Prof. Sachs identified water as the primary challenge for the Asian countries. He proposed the setting up of an IPCC-like body for water.

Session Panelists

Mr S Sundar
Distinguished Fellow, TERI

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs
Director - The Earth Institute & Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, USA


MDGs: The distance yet to be traversed
The session began with a report on the CEO Forum 2007, the curtain raiser event to DSDS 2007. While presenting the report, Mr Björn Stigson, co-chair of the Forum, noted that the overriding sentiment that emerged from CEO Forum 2007 was that ‘business and society’ was yesterday’s paradigm. Today, it has changed to ‘business in society’.

Speakers at the session touched upon many aspects of the MDGs, discussing on the prospects of meeting these on time. One such aspect is the race to effectively combat and contain the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This is much more complex in India than in other regions of the world, because of the stigma associated with the disease. The possibilities to overcome the disease can be broadened, if it is fought with classic management principles upheld, keeping affected communities central to social and economic activities.

Speakers also focused on MDG 1: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. It was argued that poverty reduction could not be achieved if development continued to shirk sustainable pathways. The world required perspective and understanding on sustainable development. The role of the media in bringing about this perspective was stressed.

Critical issues relating to water were also a dominating topic of the discussion, especially since more than one-third of the MDGs can be achieved by solving the water and sanitation problem. To tackle the water challenges of the day, it was suggested that businesses, governments, and the civil society work in tandem at all levels.

Other subjects that were discussed included the urgent need to move towards sustainable energy choices, greater support for R&D to monitor the planet’s changing climate, and the importance of global networking to form a consensus on sustainable development.

Session Panelists

Dr Prodipto Ghosh
Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India

A report on CEO Forum 2007 - Business and Society: Partnering for a Sustainable Future

Mr Björn Stigson
President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Switzerland

Mr Ashok Alexander
Director – India, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Dr James Baker
Former Administrator, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration & Consultant, UNESCO & The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and Environment, USA

Mr Ashok Jaitly
Distinguished Fellow, TERI

Mr James Leape
Director-General, WWF International, Switzerland

Mr Herman Mulder
Senior Advisor to the UN Global Compact and WBCSD

Mr Hideaki Oda
Councillor to the President, Japan Water Forum & Member of the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation

Mr Michael P Schulhof
Chairman, Global Technology Investments, LLC, USA

Keynote Address: Turning challenge into opportunity – the business role in sustainable development

The highlight of the session was an analysis of the inherent strengths of the corporate sector that could be effectively harnessed to achieve sustainable development. Businesses can make, and in many cases have already made, significant contributions to sustainable development, but there still remains untapped potential. Speakers were of the opinion that the energy and power sectors need to accelerate R&D to bring cleaner technologies into the production process. Technologies, such as biofuels, and carbon capture and storage that have shown promise need to be supported by business. While costs of such new technologies remain high, it is hoped that their increased use would have the positive effect of decreasing the incremental cost of deploying them.

Speakers were also keen to argue that business support for sustainable development strategies must be, in turn, aided by a policy environment that encourages innovation and facilitates corporate involvement in tackling development challenges. Likewise, the civil society too must form partnerships with businesses to advance the sustainable development agenda.

The session concluded with the consensus that the corporate sector needs to look at sustainable development challenges not as a component of corporate social responsibility practices, but as a business opportunity. Like in all business opportunities, first movers will hold the advantage in the coming business model in which social and environmental sustainability are integral to the bottom line.

Session Panelists

Mr Anil Razdan
Additional Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India

Mr John A Manzoni
Group Managing Director, BP Plc, UK

Climate Change and Sustainable Development

Discussions in the session revolved around the vexing issue of climate change, which is posing a hurdle to sustainable development. Climate change reflects a threat that can no longer be ignored or understated. With a slew of scientific evidence pointing out that the adverse impacts of climate change are not far away but are already manifesting themselves, the issue has become too urgent to be postponed further. Speakers in the session were unanimous in this assessment, and elaborated on the grave consequences of climate change that are being observed currently. The rapid melting of snow, the rise in sea levels, and inconsistent weather patterns are directly impacting human productive activity in agriculture and allied sectors. The global scale of climate change poses huge challenges to every country in the world, especially those in the developing world, hence impeding the achievement of the MDGs.

Speakers suggested a dual approach to tackle climate change, with emphasis on strategies for mitigation and adaptation. For instance, development aspirations often reflect increase in energy consumption. Yet, instead of old solutions, governments and corporations have an opportunity to develop and try new alternative modes of low-carbon energy technologies. Technologies such as carbon capture and storage can likewise be tapped for this purpose. To access financial resources and technologies to think beyond conventional energy, speakers cited opportunities presented by international arrangements such as the CDM (clean development mechanism). Similarly, recent efforts like the Asia–Pacific Partnership also offer prospects, especially to the private sector, to play a key role in climate change mitigation.

Discussions also focused on the role of governments in bringing about international consensus on climate change and sustainable development. With climate change dialogue often marked by disagreements and expectations, countries could partner each other and foster global cooperation to arrive at common solutions to a threat that does not distinguish between the rich and the poor. Speakers called for commitment at the highest political level to achieve global cooperation. Developing countries must be provided an appropriate incentive structure to encourage participation in climate change mitigation.

Broadly, speakers identified integrating action on mitigation and adaptation into the policy-planning process as the focus for long-term, country-level strategies to deal effectively with climate change. Internationally, buttressing long-term cooperative programmes that seek to strengthen the protections on the global environment must be given a priority.

Session Panelists

Mr Roger Harrabin
Senior Environment Analyst, BBC, UK

Setting the theme

Mr Yvo de Boer
Executive Secretary, UNFCCC

Mr Howard Bamsey
Deputy Secretary, Australian Department of Environment and Heritage, Australia

Ms Preety Bhandari
Director, Policy Analysis Division, TERI

Dr Klaus S Lackner
Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics, Earth & Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, USA

Prof. Akio Morishima
Chair of the Board of Directors, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan

Dr Pal Prestrud
Director, Center for International Climate and Environmental Research-Oslo, Norway

Dr Camilla Toulmin
International Institute for Environment and Development, UK

Launch of the India Council for Sustainable Development
The ICSD (India Council for Sustainable Development) is a newly formed platform that seeks to perform an advisory function as a non-governmental entity and contribute analysis and guidance to usher in sustainable development in India. The ICSD was launched at the sidelines of DSDS 2007 by Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Hon’ble Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Government of India. Dr R K Pachauri, Director-General of TERI and the co-chair of the ICSD, introduced assembled delegates to the members of the body, and gave a broad overview of the ICSD. Prof. Jeffrey D Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute and co-chair of the ICSD, spoke about the need for India to plan for its environmental challenges in terms of decades, and not centuries, and expressed confidence that the ICSD would be able to make a contribution in this regard.
For more information on the ICSD, please visit www.icsusdev.org


Dinner Session
Mr Achim Steiner, in the dinner address, pointed out two separate worlds in India today: the traditional India steeped in natural riches and heritage but lacking in economic power and the new emerging nation that is globally recognized as a powerhouse in science, technology, and innovation. He said that the key to a sustainable future for India lies in bridging the gap between these ‘two Indias’. He expressed confidence that India would be able to harness the enormous potential of its poorer communities and emerge as the ‘hope of the world’ for sustainable development.

A revolution of sorts is occurring in India, Mr Steiner said, and it is leading to positive outcomes for the nation’s environment. Through television, magazines, and the Internet, the concept of environment conservation and sustainable development is now understood and appreciated by many ordinary Indians. Returning to his contention that India is now a source of hope for the world, he also said that India today has the potential to shape the future through subtle changes in development trajectories that reflect the desire to restore a balance between human progress and the planet’s health. India could take a leading role in tackling climate change, which requires all the nations of the world to take collective decisions grounded in united thought. Mr Steiner concluded by hoping that the year 2007 would be a year of increased momentum in India on issues of sustainable development.

HE Mr Ahmed Abdullah, Minister of Environment, Energy and Water, Republic of Maldives, said that Maldives has taken inspiration from India’s example in sustainable development. He said that urgent international efforts are needed to save vulnerable countries like the Maldives. The world must engage in peace, not war, for sustainable development.

Session Panelists

Mr A Raja
Hon'ble Minister for Environment & Forests, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India

Guests of Honour
HE Mr Ahmed Abdullah
Minister of Environment, Energy and Water, Republic of Maldives

Mr Murli S Deora
Hon'ble Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India

Dinner Speaker
Mr Achim Steiner
Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme, Kenya