Delivered by H.E. Mr. Rahul Chhabra, Head of Delegation
High Level Country Statement at United Nations Environment Assembly-4 on 14th March, 2019
“Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production”
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
1. At the outset, we stand with colleagues of the World community in expressing our condolences and thoughts for those who have lost their lives in the very tragic accident before the start of this meeting. The Indian team also lost a very dynamic colleague, Ms. Shikha Garg who was intimately involved in the preparations of UNEA – 4.
2. For any country, sustainable development is not a destination, but a dynamic process of adaptation, learning and action with greater synergies between the economy, society and the natural environment. Progress has been made in this direction, in India and also globally, but we need to fast pace the response to be commensurate with challenges at hand.
3. Friends, studies have shown that that efficient resource management, and sustainable patterns of consumption and production could be game changers for any economy. India is blessed with traditional sustainable practices, which are now coming as a great boon to us. What is now being promoted as in circular, green and low-carbon economy, have been routine practices in India. We have to further
advance these practices in the new areas of consumption and production.
4. Friends, we resolve to continue our commitments of UNEA-3 and the World Environment Day, 2018 towards Beating Plastic Pollution. India launched a host of pan-India activities including mass public participation & awareness programmes. Our Prime Minister has given a call for eliminating single use plastic by 2022 in the country, a very ambitious target for a country of India’s size, but reflective of the commitment of the Government.
5. Resource efficiency, secondary resource management & green economy are priorities of Government of India. We have recently worked on material flow studies and resource efficiency strategies in 4 key sectors: mobility, construction, Photovoltaic cells, including Extended Producer Responsibility for e waste & plastic waste. India is the first country to set up Indian Resource Panel on the lines of International resource panel. A national policy statement on material recycling, resource recovery and waste reduction is also in the offing.
6. It is important to highlight here that the path for ensuring environmental protection while addressing pressing issues related to poverty, development and unemployment is not very smooth but the focus of the Government has been steadfast.
7. At the national level, India has come up with strong policy decisions on various environmental issues, in the form of National Clean Air
Programme, India Cooling Action Plan, E-vehicle policy, National Action Plan on Climate Change, Waste management rules, waste to energy, and extended producer responsibility for e waste & plastic waste etc.
8. India is moving towards sustainable consumption and production through policy interventions such as energy efficient star labeling and eco-labeling of product categories. These have already led to a decrease in emission intensity of India’s GDP by over 21% during 2005-2014. .
9. Innovation and collaboration is the key to success for impacts at a scale. “Mission Innovation” and “International Solar Alliance” launched in Paris 2015 are two important examples in this direction.
10. I thank member states who participated in the deliberations on the two resolutions piloted by India and painstakingly worked to achieve consensus on important global environmental challenges viz. phasing out of single use plastics and sustainable nitrogen management.
11. At the end, I reiterate - India on its part would continue to lead by example – never flinch on its part to live up to its environmental responsibilities.