Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said that balancing environment and growth was not a “zero sum” game and there was a need for “transparent, accountable and subject to oversight and monitoring” regulatory framework to purse the two goals in tandem.
The PM made these observations while inaugurating the annual Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) amid the Prime Minister’s Office pressing for diluting environmental norms for faster project clearance without an adequate and transparent monitoring mechanism.
Former environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s proposal to set up a specialised body for the same is gathering dust in the corridors of the ministry since his transfer to rural development.
The ministry’s regional offices are ill-equipped to monitor the large number of projects cleared.
He invoked the doctrine of former prime minister Indira Gandhi to state that unless development pathways address the concerns of all, rather than the interests of a select few, the objective of global sustainable development will remain elusive.
PM Singh stressed for a need for innovation for success in sustainable development and said adequate attention should be given to the importance and economic value of ecosystem services in development strategies.
“Concepts like Green National Accounting are useful tools that could help us ensure that goods and services are produced with minimal ecological and social impact,” he said.
Seeing resource efficiency, the Prime Minister said that in an “unequal world” resource scarcity would affect poor more than the rich, who would be able to afford them.
“A global growth model, which is both inclusive and sustainable, would also assist developing countries to pursue their national development objectives, he said, while hailing the Doha climate summit for reaffirming the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities as pillars for post 2020 climate agreement.
In the same vein, he also asked the rich nations to jack up their pledges for emissions cuts under the existing climate treaty -- Kyoto Protocol -- or else it would become difficult to persuade people in countries like India to step up the pace on sustainable development.