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World leaders Stressed on Polycentric Leadership to achieve Sustainability and Climate Justice during WSDS 2024

New Delhi, February 09, 2024: Amid the deepening climate crisis, the world today is looking up to leaders who can accelerate the implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs). A multitude of environmental, social, and economic challenges confront us. The SDGs are the blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future. However, the success of SDGs and climate justice significantly depends on leadership action at all levels.

The 23rd edition of the World Sustainable Development Summit captured diverse thoughts, and opinions that could play a pivotal role in shaping environmental policies and initiatives in the coming years. The three-day Summit became a melting pot for world’s leading professionals, changemakers, climate negotiators, policymakers, women leaders, youth leaders and media persons to deliberate on various issues such as energy trilemma, climate solutions, sustainable development, nature, and ecosystem-based approaches as well as sustainable lifestyles and consumption.

The final day of the Summit also saw a landmark announcement from the Ministry of Power which expressed its intentions to collaborate with TERI to set up an Institute for Energy Transitions.

The experts during the Summit advocated for collective and collaborative leadership to translate policies into actionable solutions. The message was clear: The world needs polycentric leadership to ensure the integration of climate-sensitive objectives into initiatives and decision-making processes.

Speaking on global warming exceeding 1.5degrees for the first time in 2023, Prof Jim Skea, Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said, “Human caused climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region of the world. But as humans we do have the agent to avoid greater risks if we are prepared to put in place ambitious measures to both mitigate and adapt climate change.”

Mr Eric Garcetti, United States Ambassador to the Republic of India found India’s progress in renewable energy exemplary. “While national leaders must negotiate, make ambitious, bold goals, pass the necessary legislation, they should see what India has done by being now the fastest implementer of renewable energy anywhere on the face of the earth. These things are critical, but they only work when we work — where we live, where we study, where we pray, in the local communities that make this happen.

That is why we are very proud here in this country, not telling India what to do but listening. The leadership coming from India and then joining hands where we find opportunities. For instance, to help India reach its goal of making zero carbon rural transportation a reality through funds for some technical work.”

Mr Shombi Sharp, United Nations Resident Coordinator in India put it out bluntly, “The cruel irony is that some half of the world’s most climate vulnerable countries, those who have done the least to create this problem, are not only facing the greatest impacts but they are also on debt row. They are increasingly forced to make a decision between paying the interest on debt and putting food on the table for their people while investing in resilience in the face of the crisis that is killing lives already”.
Mr Amit Raj, Director, Climate Change Division, Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, said for counties like India climate action is closely linked with development. “Sustainable development requires optimum utilization of resources while keeping the future generations in mind. For the Global South and the developing countries like India climate action is intrinsically linked to development. While tackling climate change it is imperative to remind ourselves of the responsibilities towards climate justice,” he said.

“To me the development needs of the country are important so that our development priorities including energy security is not compromised while at the same time emission intensity is also kept under control.”

Summarizing the Summit, Dr Shailly Kedia, curator, WSDS 2024, said, “We deliberated through 16 plenaries, 31 thematic tracks and the deliberations saw contributions from the Hon’ble Vice-President of India, from the Prime Minister of Guyana and we also saw a written message by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi. We saw contributions through 10 ministerial level dignitaries as well as more than 800 participants. We will work on key issues that emerged throughout the last three days through the knowledge initiative Act4Earth which comprises the SDG Charter and COP29 Compass”.

The session was followed by the release of the Act4Earth Manifesto, which summarized the pertinent takeaways emerging from various sessions held at the 3-day Summit.

The discussions were concluded with a vote of thanks from Dr Vibha Dhawan, Director General, TERI

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