Press Releases

Text of Prime Minister’s speech at World Sustainable Development Summit

February 10, 2021

Excellency, Doctor Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,
Excellency, Honourable James Marape Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea,
Excellency, my friend, Mohamed Nasheed, Speaker of the People's Majlis Republic of Maldives
Excellency, Miss Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations
Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India,
Distinguished guests,

I am happy to be speaking at the World Sustainable Development Summit. This forum completes twenty years. My congratulations to TERI for sustaining this momentum Global platforms like this are important for our present and future.


Two things will define how the progress journey of humanity will unfold in the times to come. First is the health of our people. Second is the health of our planet. Both are inter-linked. There are already many ongoing discussions on improving people's health. We have gathered here to talk about the health of the planet. The scale of the challenge we face is widely known. But, conventional approaches cannot solve the problems we face. The need of the hour is to think out of the box invest in our youngsters and work towards sustainable development.


The road to fighting climate change is through climate justice. At the route of climate justice is the principle of being large-hearted. Climate justice is also about thinking of the bigger and long term picture. The sad reality is-changes in the environment and natural disasters impact the poor the most. Climate justice is inspired by a vision of trusteeship- where growth comes with greater compassion to the poorest. Climate justice also means giving the developing countries enough space to grow. When each and every one of us understands our individual and collective duties, climate justice will be achieved.


India's intent is supported by concrete action. Powered by spirited public efforts, we are on track to exceed our commitments and targets from Paris. We committed to reduce emissions intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 percent from 2005 levels. You would be happy to know that a drop of 24 percent in the emission intensity has already been achieved.

There was a commitment to achieving about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based resources. And the share of non-fossil sources in installed capacity of electricity today has grown to 38 percent. This includes nuclear and large hydro projects. I am delighted to share that we are making steady progress on our commitment to Land Degradation Neutrality Renewable energy is picking speed in India. We are well on track to setting up 450 giga watts of Renewable Energy generating capacity by 2030. Here, I would like to applaud our private sector and several individuals who are contributing to this. India is also increasing usage of ethanol.


Sustainable development is incomplete without equitable access. In this direction too, India has made good progress. In march 2019, India achieved nearly hundred percent electrification. This was done through sustainable technologies and innovative models. India invested in LED bulbs long before they became the norm globally. Through the Ujala program, three 67 million LED bulbs became a part of people's lives. This reduced over 38 million tonnes carbon dioxide per year. The Jal Jeevan Mission has connected over 34 million house-holds with tap connections in just about 18 months. Through the PM Ujjwala Yojna more than 80 million house-holds below poverty line have access to clean cooking fuel. We are working to increase the share of natural gas in India's energy basket from 6 percent to 15 percent.

An estimated investment of 60 billion dollars is lined up in developing domestic gas infrastructure. Work is under way to expand city gas distribution networks. Another 100 districts would be added to the network in the next three years. Through the PM- KUSUM scheme, over 30 giga watts of solar capacity will be developed in the agriculture sector by 2022.


Often, discussions on sustainability become too focused on green energy. But green energy is only the means. The destination we seek is a greener planet. Our culture's deep respect for forests and green cover is translating into out-standing results. According to the FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020: India is among the top 3 countries to have gained in forest areas in the last decade.

The forest cover in the country has reached almost one fourth of the geographic area. Conventional thinking may make some people think that when a country pursues development, then forest cover goes down. But, India is one of the countries showing this need not be the case.

Our mission to achieve sustainable development also includes special attention towards animal protection. Across India, people feel proud that: Over the last five to seven years, the population of lions, tigers, leopards and Gangetic river dolphin has gone up.


This gathering brings together the best and brightest minds working on sustainable development. I would like to draw attention to two aspects: Togetherness and Innovation. Sustainable development will only be achieved by collective efforts.

When every individual thinks of national good, when every nation thinks of global good, that is when sustainable development will become a reality. India has made an effort in this direction Through the International Solar Alliance. Let us always keep our minds and nations open to best practices from all over. In the same spirit, let us always share our own best practices with others. The second is innovation. There are many start-ups working on renewable energy, environment friendly technology and more. As policy makers, we should support as many of these efforts. The energy of our youth will certainly lead to outstanding results.


Through this forum I would also like to mention one more area which needs thought That is the- enhancing our disaster management capabilities. This requires focus on human resource development and technology. As part of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, we are working in this direction.


India is ready to do whatever possible to further sustainable development. Our human centric approach could be a force multiplier for global good. The support of research of institutions like TERI are important in these efforts.

I wish this Summit, and you all, the very best.
Thank you!

Thank you
very much.

New Delhi
February 10, 2021