Published: 11:19, February 23, 2023 | Updated: 13:03, February 23, 2023
Sustainable development summit kicks off in New Delhi
By Aparajit Chakraborty in New Delhi

This photo taken from the official Twitter account of TERI shows Sultan Al Jaber (left), COP28 President-Designate, giving remarks during the inaugural session at the World Sustainable Development Summit 2023 in New Delhi, India, Feb 22, 2023. (PHOTO / TWITTER@TERIIN)

The 22nd edition of the World Sustainable Development Summit, or WSDS, which began on Feb 22 in New Delhi, stresses joint approach to green growth and climate justice among others.

The three-day summit, hosted by the Energy and Resources Institute, or TERI, has started with the focus of "Mainstreaming Sustainable Development and Climate Resilience for Collective Action."

It is one of the largest summits taking place in New Delhi and TERI has been talking about sustainability since the beginning of its first summit. This time the summit has critical importance as India is holding the G20 summit this year.

Ministers from across the world, top government representatives, political leaders and chiefs of international organizations attended in New Delhi the summit at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

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They have deliberated on critical themes of G20 leadership and green development pact; equity and climate justice; driving and financing sustainable development; inclusive green growth; energy transitions and sustainable lifestyles, according to a press statement.

The summit serves as a focal point for discussions on the crucial issues of G20 leadership and the green development pact, equity and climate justice, promoting and financing sustainable development, inclusive green growth, energy transitions and LiFE

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that development and nature can go hand-in-hand, reported the online portal of Economic Times, an English-language newspaper.

“With the objective of making sustainable development an integral part of everyday life, we launched Mission LIFE. The objective of this Mission is to adopt a lifestyle for the environment. Environment is today not just a global cause, but also a personal as well as collective responsibility for every individual," he said.

In a message read out at the summit, Modi said, "Extolling the Earth as Mother, our scriptures say, 'The Earth is our Mother and we are her children'. The sentiment of universal brotherhood has constantly guided the nation and its people. With such a glorious culture and philosophy of lofty traditions of living in harmony with nature, it is only natural for India to remain at the forefront of global efforts for environment protection.”

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COP28 President designate Sultan Al Jaber highlighted the priority areas of engagement across mitigation and adaptation at the climate conference, according to WAM, the Emirates News Agency.

“On mitigation, we need to rapidly build the clean energy systems of tomorrow, while making the energy systems of today much cleaner,” he said.

On adaptation, he noted COP28 must conclude the Global Goal on Adaptation, and finalize agreement around doubling adaptation finance. “TERI has been at the forefront of pushing for this goal, which will help protect vulnerable communities across the Global South.”

The pivotal Global Stocktake set to conclude later this year in what is touted to be a high-stakes negotiations at COP28 in the UAE. 

A solar power plant works in the Pavagada Tumkur district, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, India, Sept 15, 2022. (PHOTO / AP)

“The UAE takes on the role of COP28 with humility, a deep sense of responsibility and great sense of urgency,” he said at the summit.

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Jaber also mentioned the importance of India in the global arena, as the country, which assumes the Presidency of the G20 this year, is soon to become the world’s third largest economy, the Mint also reported.

He said that the sustainable development of India has significance beyond the country. 

“India’s sustainable development is critical, not just for India, but for the whole world. India’s goal of adding 500GW of clean energy in the next seven years is a powerful statement of intent,” Jaber noted, adding that as one of the largest investors in renewables, the UAE will explore all opportunities for partnership with India to contribute to its high growth, low carbon pathway.

Jaber, Special Envoy on Climate Change for the UAE, reaffirmed UAE’s commitment to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

He emphasized that keeping 1.5 alive is non-negotiable. “It is clear that business as usual won’t get us there. We need a paradigm shift in our approach to mitigation, adaptation, finance, and loss and damage."

Highlighting about the importance of the summit, Director General, TERI Vibha Dhawan said earlier, "The WSDS inaugural brings together on one platform global voices that will have a significant say in how the planet's path to healing and resilience will evolve. As the host of COP28, the UAE remains a critical player in steering climate negotiations to a place where the concerns of the Global South are addressed, be it climate finance or loss and damage. Guyana is a torchbearer for the planet when it comes to nature-centered approach to conservation."

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India had announced its 2030 targets and 2070 net-zero goals at COP26 at Glasgow.

TERI, based in India, is an independent, multidimensional research organization that has been working in the area of energy, environment, climate change, and sustainability for nearly five decades.

The summit serves as a focal point for discussions on the crucial issues of G20 leadership and the green development pact, equity and climate justice, promoting and financing sustainable development, inclusive green growth, energy transitions and LiFE. India is currently holding the G20 Presidency and the crucial Global Stocktake is scheduled to conclude at COP28 later this year.

Apart from a host of plenary and thematic sessions, key speakers at this event discuss topics including sustainable ocean management. High-level discussions on COP28, women leadership, the CEO Forum, the youth plenary, and G20 leadership are an important part of the summit. 

Aparajit Chakraborty is a freelance journalist for China Daily.

Xu Weiwei in Hong Kong contributed to the report.