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Modi pitches strong for UNSC reforms, outlines green goals

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New York: In an address on Friday at the UN Sustainable Development Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi insisted  for reforms in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to maintain its relevance and credibility as an international body. He underpinned the need for proper representation in the core UN body so that countries can strive to reach their goals more effectively.

credit: www.ndtv.com
credit: www.ndtv.com

Speaking in Hindi, Modi, also outlined India’s goals for fighting climate change and said he is hopeful that  developed countries would make separate provisions for fighting climate change without slotting it under the head of development.

Making a strong pitch for reforms in the UNSC and it expanded membership, Modi said, “Change is necessary in the UNSC in order to maintain its relevance and credibility, so that with proper representation countries like India can strive better for its goals”

Modi spoke of the need for reducing dependence on energy so that the world can strive towards ‘sustainable consumption’. He suggested a global education programme for preparing future generations so that they can protect the environment and make it sustainable.

“I hope that developed countries will fulfil their financial commitments towards development and climate change without in anyway putting the two under the same head,” he said.

Modi outlined India’s climate change goals saying he represents a culture that calls the Earth ‘mother’ and that India over the next seven years will create 175 GW of renewable energy capacity.

“I represent that culture that calls the earth Ma… the Vedas says that the Earth is the mother and we are its sons,” he said in Hindi at the summit.

He said that India has outlined ambitious programmes to fight climate change. Besides creating 175 GW renewable energy capacity, the country would also stress on energy efficiency, tree plantation, coal tax, clean environment, cleaning up of rivers, waste to wealth movement and sustainable development.

He outlined the government’s programmes towards financial inclusion, saying 180 million new bank accounts had been opened, which he termed as the biggest empowerment for the poor. He said the government was working towards a Pension Yojana to ensure pension reaches the poor.

Modi said earlier only the private sector or public sector were highlighted, but his government has focused on the ‘personal sector’, like individual enterprise through micro finance, innovation, start ups, creating opportunities and providing clean water, power, health, education, hygiene for all– everything that is needed to live a decent life.

He said the government has fixed a time limit for the programmes, and added that women empowerment is a major part of his government’s policy through Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao  (Save the girl child, educate the girl child), which the government has turned into a household mantra; another feature was to make agriculture more remunerative by connecting fields to markets.

Modi said his government was taking steps to mitigate the agrarian crisis, revive the manufacturing sector, improve the services sector, stress on investments in the infrastructure sector and focus on creating smart cities, which are sustainable and the centres of development.

He said India’s path is linked to sustainable development as it is linked to India’s tradition of calling the earth Ma.

He said in the UN international cooperation should be at the centre of sustainable development and to fight climate change.

“The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is the bedrock of our enterprise for a sustainable world,” he stressed.

He called for international partnership to fight climate change.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Green Groups In Brazil Prepare A Climate Change Plan

A Brazilian version would draw on linkages between about 150 civil society groups who worked closely over the last year to oppose Bolsonaro's campaign

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Brazil, rainforests
This photo released by the Brazilian Environmental and Renewable Natural Resources Institute (Ibama) shows an illegally deforested area on Pirititi indigenous lands as Ibama agents inspect Roraima state in Brazil's Amazon basin. VOA

With its wooden walls and posters on protecting forests and fauna, Brazil’s pavilion at the U.N. climate talks in Poland offers no hint of the angst at home and abroad over mixed messages on global warming from its president-elect.

But campaign promises made by Jair Bolsonaro that could weaken protection for the Amazon rainforest are a hot topic of conversation among visitors, said Caio Henrique Scarmocin, one of three hosts on the stand.

At the conference, whose outcome will be key to implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, scientists and environmental activists said they were laying the groundwork should calls for Bolsonaro to protect Brazil’s forests fail.

Campaign statements from Bolsonaro, who takes power in January, suggested indigenous lands could be opened up to economic exploitation, including agribusiness and mining, and environmental fines eased.

Brazil President, rainforest
Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro arrives for a meeting in Brasilia. VOA

The ability of Ibama, Brazil’s environmental protection agency, to fine those who break environmental laws is one of the government’s best defenses against the destruction of forests, stoking fears of a deforestation spike under the new government.

Bolsonaro, who campaigned on a far-right platform, also pushed the Brazilian government to withdraw its offer to host next year’s U.N. climate conference.

“He has a hostile approach over environmental issues,” said Paulo Barreto, a researcher with Imazon, a Brazilian institute monitoring deforestation in the Amazon.

Brazil is home to about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, considered by many as nature’s best weapon against global warming, because trees absorb and store carbon from the air.

Alfredo Sirkis, executive secretary of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change, said he thought dialogue with the incoming government was still possible.

Rainforest, Brazil
In this May 4, 2018 photo released by Ibama, the Brazilian Environmental and Renewable Natural Resources Institute, members of a specialized inspection group of Ibama walk with their weapons up through an area affected by illegal mining, after landing in helicopters in Munduruku indigenous lands in Para state in Brazil’s Amazon basin. VOA

But if environmental roll-backs proceed, there was a “contingency plan,” he told journalists.

A coalition would assemble regional governments committed to respecting Brazil’s emissions reduction goals set under the Paris pact, said Sirkis.

Governors in as many as seven Brazilian states, including Amazonas, Pernambuco, the Federal District, Espirito Santo, Parana and Rio Grande do Sul, had already expressed interest in joining, he said.

“This is for starters,” said the former congressman.

A spokesman for the presidency of Brazil at the climate talks declined to comment.

U.S. shows the way

The plan has similarities with “We Are Still In,” a U.S. group of more than 3,500 mayors, governors and business leaders who have promised they will not retreat from the Paris deal.

Brazil, cuban doctors, rainforest
Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro talks to the media, in Brasilia, Brazil. VOA

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump gave notice the United States would leave the accord — although it cannot formally withdraw until 2020 — arguing it was bad for the economy.

Mauricio Voivodic, executive director of WWF-Brazil, said his group had been in touch with the U.S. campaign through WWF-US, which is part of the “We Are Still In” secretariat.

The American coalition has its own pavilion at the U.N. climate talks.

“We are learning from ‘We Are Still In’ the importance of sub-national (governments) and companies enhancing commitments for the implementation of the Paris Agreement,” Voivodic said.

But WWF-Brazil is not yet trying to emulate the model because it wants to prioritize dialogue already under way with the transition government, he added.

“It could be an option, but we are not going in the direction of starting planning this,” said Voivodic.

Deforestation, Brazil
Brazil Surpasses 2020 Target to Cut Deforestation Emissions. Flickr

Brazil’s future environment minister told Reuters on Monday his “inclination” was not to leave the Paris Agreement, after Bolsonaro said on the campaign trail he might quit the deal, under which countries set their own targets to cut emissions.

Marcio Astrini, public policy coordinator for Greenpeace Brazil, said he also looked to the United States as a vague blueprint to build a similar “resistance movement.”

A Brazilian version would draw on linkages between about 150 civil society groups who worked closely over the last year to oppose Bolsonaro’s campaign, he said.

Also Read: Many Countries Refused To Endorse Landmark Study as Climate Conference Enters Second Week

Also mirroring tactics used in the United States, his group does not exclude filing lawsuits to push back against potential weakening of environmental and climate regulations in Brazil.

“It’s on the table,” he said, adding that it was still a last-resort option. (VOA)