Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
04-March-2015 19:18 IST
Speech of Hon’ble Minister for the Fifteenth Session of African Ministerial Conference on Environment, Cairo, 4-6 March 2015

His Excellency Prime Minister of Egypt, Ibrahim Mehleb, Chairman of AMCEN-15, Dr


His Excellency Prime Minister of Egypt, Ibrahim Mehleb, Chairman of AMCEN-15, Dr. Binilette Mehenge, Dr. Khaled Fahmy, Minister of Environment of the Arab Republic of Egypt,  Ministers from various African nations, Mr. Acheim Steiner , Executive Director of UNEP, delegates from various countries and organisations, media persons and colleagues.


It is a great honour for me to be able to attend this very important African Ministerial Conference on Environment. This conference has become an institute and this is its 15th edition. First time, you have invited India and we have responded. India will always echo African aspirations and partner in our effort to fight the challenge presented by climate change. India has always stood with Africa since the days of the African struggle against colonial rule and apartheid, and we will take this cooperation to a new level as the new Government in India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi values African continent as an important ally. Many of us have bright sunshine . We have tremendous solar potential. Let us work together on the path of clean energy.


Mr. President,


It is interesting to note that many of the sustainable development goals resonate our own national priorities.  For example, our Honble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has initiated a campaign for Swachch Bharat in order to improve sanitation across the country, which has direct bearing on the proposed sustainable development goal no.6: Ensure availability and sustainable water and sanitation for all.


You will also be happy to learn that our Honble Prime Minister has initiated a project of setting up of 100 smart cities.  We also have National Mission on Sustainable Habitat which is in line with SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainableAs a matter of fact our slogan for development is Sab ka saath sab ka vikas which implies inclusive development for all.  Very recently we started the Jandhan Yojana aiming at financial inclusion of the poorer sections of society, and in 100 days, we opened 13.5 million bank accounts of the poorer sections of the society. Its a unique record of its kind. This is a big step in our fight againt poverty, which we want to eradicate.  Gender equality is one of the most important issues which we are addressing and we have initiated the campaign Beti Bachao and Beti Padao to encourage parents to educate the girl child. All these goals that we have set for ourselves gel closely with proposed SDGs.  


The proposed SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all is very significant to countries like India and other developing nations in Africa.  Our own electricity consumption is way below the average of developed nations.  We intend ambitious addition to our power generation capacity over the next few years to meet our development goals.  We are giving priority to solar power.   Our National Solar Mission is being scaled up five-fold from 20,000 megawatts to 100,000 megawatts. WInd energy targets are set to generare 60,000 megawatts of power. We will generate 10,000 MW with biomass, 5,000 megawatts of small hydel power, and 10,000 MW of nuclear energy in next five-seven years. This will change our energy mix. This is a huge contribution of India.   This will mean an additional investment of nearly 150 billion dollars and savings of about 300 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.  In this context, I shall like to emphasise the difference between green business and green action.  Green business is business.   Green action is a contribution that we look forward to. 


Mr. President,


Another milestone event scheduled this year will be the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC.  Lima Climate Call  has recognized that any negotiations under UNFCCC are based on the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities. The Convention lays down certain principles for global cooperation which need to be respected. Food security and poverty eradication have to be top most in our agenda. Any negotiations must be based on the principles of equity and fairness.  There has to be equitable sharing of the carbon space. The developed world which has occupied large carbon space today must vacate the space to accomodate developing and emerging economies. We need to understand that ultimately the per capita emission of both developed and developing countries need to move towards a convergent path. We must also respect the equilibrium of commitments under the convention between developed and developing countries. The right to development has to be respected while collectively moving towards greener growth trajectory.   


The developed countries have to take lead in this regard.  The emission reduction targets that developed countries agree to for pre 2020 period must be ambitious and reflective of their commitment to the cause.  We on our part shall do our actions on our own commitment for inter-generational equity and in our fight against climate change though we are not required to such actions  as per Kyoto Protocol.


However, as we formulate Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), certain issues need immediate attention.  One of those is technology transfer along with know how at an affordable cost, so that we are able to move expeditiously towards lowering of the energy intensity of our economic growth and improving energy efficiency in various sectors.  


As we all prepare ourselves for the Paris meeting of the Conference of the Parties, we need to recognise that both adaptation and mitigation must be accorded equal importance.  Developing countries like African countries and India are particularly impacted by adverse impacts of climate change.


The pledges for Green Climate Fund are inadequate. The issue of critical technology is still unresolved. Time is short. The world must act fast. If we want Paris Convention to happen smoothly, we need to sort out these issues well in time. Let us welcome that every country is ready for some kind of action. We should appreciate this global effort and allow it to work as per the INDCs to be presented by each country.


Before I conclude, I shall like to extend greetings to people of Egypt and to the nations present here. I am sure that deliberation here shall prove extremely useful and our exchange of ideas shall provide us with a constructive way forward.  I shall like to express my gratitude for the hospitality extended to me by the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt, particularly to His Excellency Dr. Khaled Fahmy.


Thank you.