India bats for banning single-use plastics at UN

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global environmental issues, finance, sustainability, Environment Assembly, financial institutions, eco-systems, civil society organisations,

Taking a significant lead, India has piloted resolutions on two important global environmental issues related to single-use plastics and sustainable nitrogen management at the UN Environment Assembly.

Both resolutions were adopted with consensus on Friday evening.

The global nitrogen use efficiency is low, resulting in pollution by reactive nitrogen which threatens human health, ecosystem services, contributes to climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion.

Only a small proportion of the plastics produced globally are recycled with most of it damaging the environment and aquatic biodiversity.

Both of these are global challenges and the resolutions piloted by India at the Assembly are vital first steps towards addressing these issues and attracting the focus of the global community.

After five days of negotiations at the Fourth UN Environment Assembly in this Kenyan capital, ministers from more than 170 UN member states delivered a bold blueprint for change, saying the world needed to speed up moves towards a new model of development in order to respect the vision laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

“We will address the damage to our eco-systems caused by the unsustainable use and disposal of plastic products, including by significantly reducing single-use plastic products by 2030, and we will work with the private sector to find affordable and environmentally friendly products,” the ministers said in a final declaration at the UN Assembly, the world’s top environmental body whose decisions will set the global agenda, notably ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in September.

India also hosted, in the high-level segment of the Assembly a session on “Global partnerships: Key to unlocking resource efficiency and inclusive green economies”.

The side event was well attended by representatives of member states, civil society organisations, private sector organisations, including leading financial institutions.

It had a panel discussion which had high-level diplomatic participation from Germany, Brazil, South Africa and senior management of international financial institutions.

The mainstreaming of resource efficiency and the use of secondary raw materials through partnerships and action at scale is critical for moving towards a green economy.

It emerged that collaborations and action at scale is key to success. The actions should be oriented towards having an inclusive green economy.

Blended finance will help in implementation. Public finance should be provided to de-risk private finance in transformational projects.

Need for additional commitments of public finance and the ways to maximise mobilisation of climate finance.

The Indian delegation, led by the High Commissioner of India Rahul Chhabra, also participated in the panel discussion in high-level segment on a need for additional commitments of public finance and the ways to maximise mobilization of climate finance.

It was highlighted that climate finance is an important lever for climate action related to both mitigation and adoption in developing countries.

The contributions to climate finance need to be in consonance with the basic principles of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.

Climate finance is more of an obligation of the developed countries, based on their historical emissions. The availability of sufficient, additional and predictable climate finance is a key for activation.

Importantly, the lack of pledged funds in the Green Climate Fund and the potential reliance on the private sector has been highlighted by many developing countries.

India has been initiating domestic climate actions, both related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, primarily through its own financial resources.

There is a sense of urgency for financial support to developing countries, which have not been so responsible for these global environmental concerns.

On the sidelines of the UN Environment Assembly, Observer Research Foundation organised an event with the theme ‘India and Africa partnership for sustainability’.

Chhabra delivered closing remarks at the event.