New Delhi, February 09, 2024: The world has already crossed the midpoint timeframe of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) implementation. However, we are significantly behind in achieving most of the SDGs by 2030. Acknowledging the challenges on the path to sustainability for creating a better tomorrow, COP29 President Designate, Mr Mukhtar Babayev, Minister, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Republic of Azerbaijan asserted that fostering cooperation and dialogue on a global scale can pave the way for impactful solutions.
Reaffirming his commitment to a better global climate on the first day of the 23rd edition of the World Sustainable Development Summit, organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), he said, “Our decision to host COP29 arises from our strong belief in the power of international collaboration to address complex global issues. We recognize the interconnected nature of climate challenges and firmly believe that by fostering cooperation and dialogue on a global scale we can collectively work out impactful solutions.”
Sharing his thoughts on the current global scenario through a video message, Mr Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, and President, Global Green Growth Institute underlined, “Science has made it clear that political will is urgently needed. I encourage major economic powers to show leadership. Industrialized countries have historical responsibilities in addressing climate change, thus they must equitably lead the charge in solving this deepening global crisis.”
Stressing on importance of advancing digital infrastructure, Dr Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme emphasized, “With key partners like India, UNDP is working to support digital public infra across the globe, which is becoming the basis of new digital solutions, could accelerate progress on 70% of the SDG targets and indicators.”
Mr Martin Raiser, Vice President for South Asia Region, The World Bank, during a session on ‘Financing Climate Action and Sustainable Development’ also complimented India’s development and said, “India’s track record puts it on a much lower carbon emissions path than other major economies. Its climate vulnerability, deep domestic capital markets and domestic innovation capacity may also position it as a leader in developing and funding smart climate adaptation.”
TERI also released a policy brief titled, “SDG Blueprint on Sustainable Agriculture” at WSDS 2024 on the first day of the three-day-long summit. The study finds that 135 out of 169 targets of SDGs have synergies with sustainable agriculture, making the sector vital to fast-tracking the sustainable development agenda.
On the second day of the summit, the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss took centre stage. Stressing the importance of innovation, Dr Vibha Dhawan, Director General, TERI said, “We are collaborating with different ports of the country and trying to look into international regulations, what timeframe is required, what kind of partnerships and collaboration are essential. Innovation is as important as partnerships. Oceans must be protected; marine pollution should be prevented.”
Appealing to accelerate action for oceans, Mr Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, European Commission said, “We need to accelerate ocean action and turn challenges into opportunities – opportunities for the ocean economy, opportunities to create jobs and support communities and all this while protecting fragile ocean ecosystem.”
Prof Jeffrey D. Sachs, University Professor; Director, Center for Sustainable Development in the Earth Institute, Columbia University in a video message put the spotlight on the fragile state of the world ecosystem and stressed the need for regional cooperation. He said, “We need systematic planning, financial models at scale that address market failures. We need regulations and financing beyond the market forces and third, we need to solve this on a regional scale rather than a national scale.”
Building on the discourses of the opening day, the summit also hosted a series of thematic tracks engaging on several pertinent issues ranging from climate action, energy transition, decarbonization, and sustainable agriculture, to building capacity on adaptation and resilience. A policy brief on ‘Benchmarking Industrial Water Use Efficiency in India: Opportunities for Water-Intensive Industries’ was also launched.