16 Feb, New Delhi (IPR) : The Sikkim Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling joined the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who inaugurated the 2nd World Sustainable Development Summit 2018 here at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. While delivering his inaugural address, the Hon’ble Prime Minister said that the Summit is reinforcement of India’s commitment to sustainable planet for ourselves and for future generations. He further said that as a nation we are proud of our long history and tradition of harmonious coexistence between man and nature. Over the years, the world sustainable development summit has spread consciousness about our action to preserve the purity of mother earth to all parts of the world. India believes in growth but it is also committed to protecting the environment, the Prime Minister said. He also recounted various initiatives at the national and international levels for climate change mitigations.
In the evening, the Chief Minister was invited to address the Plenary Session at the India Habitat Centre. While dwelling on the theme of Partnering to create a green, clean and prosperous world, the Chief Minister said that we are passing through a very critical juncture in earth’s history when our use of resources has outpaced the ability for its regeneration. The Chief Minister recounted the many environmental measures undertaken by the Sikkim Government over the years and shared about the many positives outcomes at the state level.
Calling upon the world to the need of bringing about drastic changes in perception, behavior, habits, cultural adaptations and societal ways, the Chief Minister prescribed actions involving (a) continuous course corrections of our process based on the assessment of outcomes (b) aggressive policy formulation and enforcement to support the required climate change adaptations (c) formulation of guiding principles and practices for creating changes in individual and societal behaviour (d) building capacity to guide future generations and developing expertise to undertake and implement required changes in communities.
Calling upon the world community to make the earth total organic by 2050, the Chief Minister said that it is possible if we all work together.
Offering his service to address the global challenges, the Chief Minister said that he is
open to developing partnerships for creating a clean, green and prosperous world for all, based on experimentations in Sikkim for building a greener, healthier and sustainable future. (Attached below text of Speech)
Sharing the dais for the Plenary Session with the Hon’ble Chief Minister were HE Mr Laurent Fabius, Former President of COP21 and UN Environment Patron on Environmental Governance, Constitutional Council of France, Mr. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications, Government of Republic of Fiji, Ms Christine St-Pierre, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Government of Quebec, Mr. Lyonpo Lekey Dorji, Hon’ble Minister of Economic Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan and other distinguished participants. The session was chaired and moderated by Ambassador AjaiMalhotra, Distinguished Fellow, TERI.
Speech of CM
2nd World Sustainable Development Summit
India Habitat Centre
February 16, 2018
Theme: Partnering to create a green, clean and prosperous world
In the chair, respected Dr. Ajai Malhotra ji, and distinguished fellow participants in the panel.
It is an honour to be a part of the 2nd World Sustainable Development Summit and to represent Sikkim at this esteemed global forum. As we stand at a very critical juncture in earth’s history when our use of resources has outpaced the ability for its regeneration, it is timely to ask what should our global approach be towards green and sustainable development? I have been serving the people of Sikkim, trying to see how sensitive and eco-friendly governance, along with the active involvement of people, can make a difference insociety while keeping our environment sustainable, clean and green and I am happy to share our story with you today.
In Sikkim, we have tried to address the many challenges to the earth’s health, such as global warming and depleting natural resources, in our own way. We have innovative andenvironment-friendly development programs that keep in mind our fragile Himalayan ecosystem. For example, we placed a ban on the use of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials in 1997. Smoking in public places is also outlawed since 1997 and in 1998, we stopped the grazing of animals in reserve forest areas. In 1999, we launched the Smriti Banprogram and in 2001, we banned the killing of wildlife and felling of trees. In 2005, we introduced compulsory environmental education in schools and launched the Green Mission in Sikkim in 2006. We constituted the Glacier and Climate Change Commission in 2007 and in 2009, welaunched the program called Ten Minutes to Earth. This is a mass afforestation program during which citizens spend 10 minutes on 25th of June of each year, planting tree saplings.We banned the bursting of fire crackers in 2014 and the burning of agricultural wastes in 2015. The use of diclofenachas also been banned since 2015. We have recently launched the Sikkim Climate Inventory and Monitoring System aimed to put in place a system that will determine reduction in CO2 emissions as a result of our green actions.
In Sikkim, we have standing regulation to plant 10 tree saplings compulsorily instead of the 1 tree felled for bonafidepurposes. We have yet another unique and culturally absorbing initiative based on the age-old tradition of ‘mith’ or ‘mitini’ in Sikkimese society, which is a bond to forge fraternalrelationship between two persons, whether as sisters or asbrother & sister. The same concept is being extended to enter into this bond with trees and forests. And this is only a fraction among the many eco-initiatives launched in the State.
Trees being the main entity to absorb CO2 emissions, we consider their protection to be a cornerstone in our program towards nature conservation. Because of this, our forest cover has increased by over 4 percent from 43.95% in 1993 to 47.80 % today within the last 20 years.
Sustainable development for quality of living and for economic development largely depends on clean and green environment. Addressing to achieve 100% sanitation goal in both urban and rural habitation, Sikkim earned the distinction of becoming the first Nirmal Rajya of India in 2008. In 2015-16, Sikkim was awarded for being the First Open Defecation Free State and the Cleanest state of India.
Sikkim also has the cleanest city of India with Gangtok city as a model. All other towns in Sikkim are also emerging as environment-friendly towns and cities. Under every development program in Sikkim, we have earmarked minimum of 1 % of the total project cost as green fund to support plantation initiatives and develop green avenues through afforestation and make up for the possible loss of green cover in the proposed areas. This initiative of provisioning green fund in every development scheme could be taken up by all the governments across regions and nations in the world.
I am also happy that there is no extreme poverty in Sikkimtoday. In fact, Sikkim is a zero-hunger state. Sikkim recorded the highest annual growth rate of upto 22 percent in the Country. The Sikkimese people enjoy good health and wellbeing. The life expectancy in Sikkim has increased by 10 years during the last 2 decades.
In contemporary Sikkim, there is not a single case of a person marginalized or suppressed on account of his birth or caste. There is no gender discrimination in Sikkim and we have made it a priority to provide equal representation, irrespective of gender. For example, we have 50% reservation for women in the Panchayati raj system. The government provides justice based on inclusive policies. The government’s inclusive approaches encompass every citizen through recognition, reservation, representation and redistribution.
Sikkim has also earned the rare distinction of becoming the first fully Organic State in India and the world after a long and protracted campaign. The total cultivable land of Sikkim has been converted into certified organic farms over the years following the guidelines as prescribed by National Programme for Organic Production. Sikkim today contributes around 80,000 million tonnes of organic production out of the total 1.24 million tonnes of organic production recorded in India.
Unfortunately today, the world has become a dumping ground for chemical contaminants. Global communities have woken up to the dire consequences of this overwhelming poisoning of the entire biodiversity of the land, sea and the atmosphere. Huge subsidy on chemical fertilizers is being pumped in,which is putting living beings to great risk. If the available subsidy is diverted to encourage organic farming, it will help change the entire world into an organic world. We do not need any additional resources for organic farming.
Personally, I have made my fervent appeal to the world communities to create an organic, pollution free, chemical freeand clean world and that if we want to protect our planet, we must go for organic farming. Organic farming is the only answer, the only life-saving occupation. I am happy to share with you my basic perception about organic farming that guided our mission successfully in Sikkim:1. The basic need for the survival of mankind is clean air, clean water and healthy food grains. Only organic farming ensures clean air, clean water and clean food grains to the people ensuring good health and well being of man and nature.2. Organic farming ensures economic viability, environmental sustainability and generates the feeling of social responsiveness amongst the people.3. Organic farming is the holistic approach of protecting the environment, living beings and also ensure responsible consumption and production patterns as envisaged under the Sustainable Development Goals envisioned by the United Nations.4. Organic Farming will greatly contribute towards climate change mitigation and will arrest further degradation of our environment and ecology.5. With organic farming, human health and also the environment will improve and we will arrest further damage to our environment and other living creatures in water and on land. This is for the same reason that organic farming is also often referred to as a non-violent farming practice as well as a life-saving and also earth saving occupation.6. We must promote organic agriculture as a fashionable profession to attract all classes and all age groups of people across nations.7. Available data suggests that if we convert this earth into an organic world, we can contain carbon emissions by 50 percent in the future.
We call air as our ‘pran vayu’, as the life-giving element in our nature. If the air is polluted, how can it create or sustain life on earth? Everywhere in the world, people are dying due to pollution and pollution related ailments. We the humans alone are polluting our environment for our personal greed and self-interest. Therefore, we must also do everything in our power to correct and rejuvenate earth’s wealth.
We also say ‘jal hi jiwan hai’. But how can water give us life if it is polluted in the way it is being exploited at present? Therefore, we have to realize that we have harmed our earth enough times. We must realize it now and work towards its preservation and safeguarding.
This would require drastic changes in perception, behavior, habits, cultural adaptations and societal ways. The resolutions we need to adopt and actions we need to take will involve (a) continuous course corrections of our process based on theassessment of outcomes (b) aggressive policy formulation and enforcement to support the required climate change adaptations (c) formulation of guiding principles and practices for creating changes in individual and societal behaviour (d) building capacity to guide future generations and developing expertise to undertake and implement required changes in communities.
If we want to protect our planet, we must go for sustainable development. And for that to happen, the first condition is to stop the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and go for only organic farming to make this world wholly organic. Let us take up organic farming on mission mode to change our earth into a fully organic world by 2050. It is possible if we all work together!
Let us adopt eco-sensitive and eco-friendly policies for a sustainable future. Together we must stand against strong interest groups at the local, regional, national and world levels who may seek to derail our mission. Everyone should be part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.
I am sure, we have enough of leaders, policy makers, civil society members, scientists and academicians who share this determination and resolve to work for the better future of ourearth and full safety of all its inhabitants – from human beings to trees, butterflies and the tiniest living organisms with whomwe share our world.
I am open to developing partnerships for creating a clean, green and prosperous world for all, based on our own experimentations in Sikkim. It is a critical time to think together for the sustainability of our world and I am sure thattogether, we can build solutions for a greener, healthier and sustainable future.