United Nations: India firmly believes in fulfilling all its commitments made under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani has said, underlining that women are and will continue to be an indispensable part of the country’s sustainable growth journey.
“On one hand, there is a growing recognition of the disproportionate impact that climate change will have on women, while on the other hand, there is rising awareness of the tremendous social, economic and climate resilient benefits that gender equality and women’s empowerment can bring to this segment,” she said on Monday.
Irani was addressing the 66th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) side event: ‘A world we women and girls want: Lifestyle for the environment’.
The minister told the virtual event that “India firmly believes in fulfilling all our commitments made under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change” and is proud that the country’s per capita carbon footprint is 60% lower than the global average.
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Noting that India has raised its ambition during COP26 at Glasgow, Irani said environmental sustainability can only be achieved through climate justice, and ”we would all agree that successful climate action also needs adequate financing”.
She stressed the need to work towards the aim of “one Sun one World one Grid” to ensure availability of clean energy from a worldwide grid everywhere at all times. “This is the whole of the world holistic approach that India values and stands for.” “Women are and will continue to be an indispensable part of India’s sustainable growth journey, a journey which enables a world we women and our girls want, a lifetime commitment to sustainability, an Indian journey which ensures life becomes a global priority,” she said.
Irani said the ecosystem of female entrepreneurship and participation in the energy value chain is also being strengthened by the government of India.
“From sustainable and biodegradable menstrual hygiene products to sustainable fashion and circular economy, female entrepreneurs are leading the innovation for sustainable solutions,” she said.
She underlined that at the Glasgow COP26, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed a one-word movement, LIFE, a mass movement that influences ‘Lifestyle for Environment’, promoting mindful and deliberate utilisation of resources instead of mindless and destructive consumption, and set goals that could revolutionise many segments like fishing, agriculture, wellness, dietary choices, packaging, housing, hospitality, tourism, clothing, fashion, water management, and energy.
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 held at Glasgow in November last year, Modi had announced that India will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070.
Modi said India will take its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030. He also said that India will meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030 and will reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now till 2030.
By 2030, India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by more than 45 per cent, the prime minister had said at the Glasgow event.
The CSW side event, focusing on the concept of lifestyle for environment in relation to women and young girls, was organised in partnership with the Permanent Mission of India to the UN in New York and the All India Women’s Education Fund Association (AIWEFA).
UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Ambassador Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Guyana to the UN Ambassador Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and Bhutan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Doma Tshering also addressed the session.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said Modi’s call for ‘Lifestyle For Environment’ is a vision of a “resilient and sustainable lifestyle which will be the most effective tool for us to combat climate change”.
He said this is not a slogan but a commitment by India and the government has focused on formulating and implementing significant policies and initiatives which aim at promoting a holistic approach towards environmentally-conscious lifestyle. “These actions have become even more relevant as we combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” the envoy said.
Tirumurti noted that India is second to none when it comes to climate action and climate justice.
Irani added that India will continue to act in favour of climate resilient policies and practices, as has been a civilisational endeavour. She said little has been done for women in correlation to the environment but in India, “we have walked the talk”.
She told the event that through the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, more than 90 million households have been provided access to clean cooking fuel, safeguarding women’s health by providing them with clean, smokeless cooking fuel, while reducing the burden from drudgery of collecting firewood.
Under the Pradhan Mantri KUSUM scheme, farmers are being encouraged to set up solar panels and sell surplus power to the grid. India is investing over USD 6.67 billion in this financial year alone under the flagship scheme JAL Jeevan Mission, a bold ambition to provide safe and adequate drinking water by the year 2024 to all households in rural India, Irani said.