Environmental Diplomacy and Sustainable Development

Editorial

A young school of thought is gaining prominence in the global diplomatic arena as a result of the devastative effects that could be seen nearing us given the excessive use/abuse of natural resources. Environmental Diplomacy advocates responsible, amicable and shared use of space, earth, water and underwater use of natural resources. Environmental Diplomacy has come to mean to the west-  having all the benefits and using them cheaply and making the  rest of the developing world pay for the damage the developed world has done to the environment .The developed  world  now wants to bring the development  in the rest of the world to a grinding halt on the pretext that  development in the rest of the world creates green house gasses that will deplete the  ozone layer where in fact most of the depletion of the ozone layer is  done by the developed world. Now, since the developed world has innovated better alternative technologies like new refrigeration gasses that are less harmful to the environment and lighter engines that consume less fuel, it wants the entire world should switch to the use of these new technologies, thereby creating a market for its innovations.

The growing population; their ever increasing needs and inherent greed of man in addition to man’s nature and ability to grow, putting himself ahead while overlooking others is one of the prime causes for the environmental maladies of the present. Sustainable development is an extensive program of reconciliation between the environment and development. On one hand, after decades of over-exploiting nature, Global North is looking at conserving nature, as it views conservation of nature from the prism of business and economy. On the other hand, Global South views environment and the resources as the capital for development, marching onto the industrial world’s footsteps in its pursuit of getting rich. Development is imperative in the Global South, to create jobs and to improve the living standards of the people. The environmental gratification and innovation of sustainable technologies for commercial purposes by Global North makes the West to think that it has the permit to deny the developing world its chance of development. With the Global North and South coming at crossroads on environment, there is an effort to find a middle ground so as to satisfy the needs of all the interested parties. The role of environmental diplomacy is to help bring all conflicting parties on table and build consensus.

Recently a new area of focus for scientists working on climate change has been the study on the melting of ice in the Glaciers and the Permafrost are being done in the Tibet Plateau, North and North East India, which is the source of some of the world’s largest rivers, and has the third largest amount of ice after the Arctic and Antarctic areas.  Many players are taking a lot of steps to balance needs of people with the needs of the planet to limit the ill effects of climate change. Today the world is talking of geo-engineering the climate, with experiments like making the globe more shinny, so that it will absorb less heat from the sun, all this is good but still the basic need is of controlling carbon and green house emissions. It is hoped that with geo-engineering and controlling carbon and greenhouse emissions that deplete the ozone layer the world will be better environmentally.

As per the latest reports, climate change and depletion of Arctic ice is not happening as fast as it was earlier predicted, may be the earth is adapting to conditions on it. Scientists like Kelvin Trenbert and others at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research have found that the  deep ocean below 2300 ft has absorbed 30% extra heat. Oceans absorb a lot of heat, but this absorption phenomenon in the deep sea is a new phenomenon observed for the first time. As for now, the Carbon dioxide levels have reached 400 parts per million, the highest level in Earth’s history. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported 400 parts per million and Scripps Institution of Oceanography   reported 400.03 parts per million. Huge hydel dams coming up in the Amazon River basin and in Malaysia inundate thousands of acres of rain forests, submerging large tracts of land and rotting millions of trees in the Dam reservoir thereby releasing huge amounts of methane gas. This in effect makes a tropical hydel dam a huge emitter of Methane gas, a harmful green house gas into the atmosphere, an issue that requires serious attention before the dams is built.

A lot more has to be done than just the talks, as the world needs both development and the well being of our ecosystems. Governments of the world should realise that the economics of environment should be in the interest of the entire global community rather than profiteering by mortgaging the world’s future to short term national gains. India has to make a conscious choice of ensuring sustainable development in the interest of the present and future generations of India and the world.

Environmental Diplomacy and Sustainable Development


Urban Environment and Sustainability: Promoting Health and Wellbeing for Smart Cities in India
Dr. R.B.Singh and Anju Singh

The present century is known as urban century. In the last century alone, the world's urban population has grown from 220 million to almost three billion. Half of humanity, 3.5 billion people, currently lives in cities and by 2055 an estimated 75 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Cities occupy just 2 per cent of the Earth’s land, but account for over 70 per cent of both energy consumption and carbon emissions. Today, one out of two humans already lives in an urban environment.

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Gandhi, Gita and the Idea of Sustainable Development
Prof. P. C. Joshi

Sustainable development as a concept owes a lot to the philosophical orientation originating in India.  At its core, sustainable development is closely related to the idea of spirituality which intricately binds human existence and survival to other life forms.  India with its very rich cultural heritage advocating tolerance, non-violence and inclusion suits very well to the idea of sustainability.  The core ideal of Hindu religion and the diverse manifestation of man-nature collaborations in the form of sacred grooves are the traditional mechanisms enforced through the instrument of religion. Such traditional institutions are very strong pillars of sustainable development.  The philosophy of sama darshana in Gita and Gandhi’s conceptualization of swaraj further strengthen the value of sustainability by identifying development which is humane, grounded in appreciation of locally available resources, simple in operation and above all sustainable.

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Environmental Diplomacy and Sustainable Development
G.Poyyamoli

The diplomatic environment in India and around has changed radically with new technologies, new actors, new media and new agendas. This article argues that these trends are set to continue and accelerate, even as more traditional geopolitics re-emerge. Governments (both central and state as well as global) will remain the key players in national international relations, even as they struggle to understand a world of fragmenting norms and emerging new powers. Economic realities will increase the pressure to deliver more for less, forcing radical innovations in organization, mindsets and working practices. Hence there is an urgent need to integrate change and continuity, in the context of diverse agendas and arenas, different diplomatic processes and structures and machinery of diplomacy. This article examines how environmental diplomacy must reinvent to meet the ever increasing demands of governments and citizens alike for realizing inclusive sustainable development.

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Environmental Conflict and Diplomacy
Anil Kamboj

As the global population continues to rise, and the demand for resources continues to grow, there is significant potential for conflicts over natural resources to intensify in the coming decades. At least eighteen violent conflicts have been fuelled by the exploitation of natural resources since 1990. Recent research suggests that over the last sixty years at least forty per cent of all intrastate conflicts have a link to natural resources. Civil wars such as those in Liberia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo have centred on "high-value" resources like timber, diamonds, gold, minerals and oil. Some conflicts have involved to control scarce resources such as fertile land and water.

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Environment and Sustainable Development in South Asia
Dr. SudhanshuTripathi

The problem of environmental degradation affecting ecological balance in South Asia has its roots in several factors particularly socio-economic backwardness, lack of popular participation in policy formation and lack of collective effort at national as well as regional level. Acorrective to this situation wouldbe proper utilisation of the forum of SAARC and also developing partnership among public, industry and government for achieving sustainable development assuring human well-being.

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UN Climate Summit at Lima: An Analysis
Chandra Bhushan

Hopes were pinned on the latest UN climate summit at Lima. It was supposed to prepare the ground for a new climate deal that will replace the existing Kyoto Protocol at Paris in 2015. But the Lima talks pave the way for an inconsequential Paris treaty, which will make it nearly impossible to restrict global temperature rise to below 2C.

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Sustainable Development and Protection of Wildlife: Mitigation of Human-Elephant Conflict
Dr Bharti Chhibber

Today, owing to unsustainable developmental activities of mankind, rapid urbanization, over-population and deforestation, wildlife and wildlife habitats are increasingly endangered. Global warming and pollution pose serious threats to flora and fauna. Likewise, acid rain is destroying animal and plant ecosystems.  Many animal and plant species are already on the verge of extinction.  Man-animal conflict occurs when animals damage agricultural crops and property, kill livestock or attack people because of degradation and fragmentation of wildlife habitats and the encroachment of humans into forest land. It is critical that the demarcation of elephant reserve should aim at restoration of existing natural habitats, reducing human activities in surrounding areas and strengthening of measures for protection of elephants from poachers.

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India’s awakening of Urban Age Cities: Prospects and Challenges
Dr. Saleem Ahmad

Therefore, Urban Age infrastructure needs to be strengthened across the board. Primarily:  Provision of basic amenities like safe drinking water, sewerage, waste management facilities and sanitation facilities in urban conglomerations, while also ensuring that the urban poor have access to these facilities at affordable cost. Improved water management, including recycling of waste water in large cities and new townships. Transportation in urban centres is a major constraint. Currently, public transport accounts for less than a quarter of urban transport in India.

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The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Arjuna Srinidhi

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. The objective of the treaty is to "stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system".  It entered into force on 21 March 1994.  The parties to the convention have met annually from 1995 in Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change.

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Dams: Development and Environment
Sudhir B. Wadekar

Environment is threatened by the development progrmmes. We should take care of our environment. Dams, particularly large dams, are considered against the ecology. For the irrigation, hydro project and domestic use dams considered vital. Water is required for the growing population. Due to the water reservoirs many problems are created. Environmental problem is important. Nation should go for large dams where they are necessary. But, before it we should attempt for other ways to meet our requirement. We should respect the demands of environmental movements, instead of suppressing them.

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Integrating Sectoral and Spatial Approaches for Strengthening Planning Processes for Natural Resource based Development Programmes
Dr. Jagdish Kumar Purohit

The inadequacies of a sectoral approach for natural resource based development programme are obvious. The distribution of resources and their utilization have proceeded over time in an integrated way which cannot be fully appraised through sectoral analysis. The analysis fails to provide an insight in to the linkages between different socio-economic groups and the way these relate to natural resources and its governance and management institutions. For sustainable use and development of natural resources, the customarily followed rules evolved historically, mediating the relation between various groups and natural resources are in regular conflict with institutions formed and backed by state agencies founded on sectoral understanding of natural resources.

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Sustainable Development and China: A Study of Environment Policy and Legal Sanctions
Abhishek Pratap Singh

China is meeting several new challenges in the new phase, which should be taken into account in the policy-making of environmental protection and sustainable development. Firstly, as a global manufacturing hub China has become producing spot for the products later to be be sold around the world. Even though recent sign show decline in economic growth rates and falling down of export led economy, the product list still continues to grow demanding more manufacturing resulting in further depletion of natural resources and higher emission of pollutants. Secondly, as a most populous developing country, China faces the problem of uneven regional development. Western China, which covers almost 70% of the country’s total landmass, is still struggling with poverty.

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Climate Change and the BASIC Stance from Copenhagen to Warsaw
Dr. Chittaranjan Mallik

Over the last five years, India and China have worked closely, as part of the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) and the Like- Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) groups. The two countries have done so despite differences in their levels of economic growth and emission. The BASIC bloc is right in claiming the North for responsibility of global warming but it is true that China is undoubtedly growing fast and today is the world’s biggest emitter of green house gases.

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Revisiting the Concept of Development in the Context of Global Climate Change
Dr. Sudheer Singh Verma

Development and climate change are explicitly interlinked to each other. Climate policy affects development process and development policy affects climate change actions. Development instincts of humans makes them special creature on the earth. Due to development instincts, humans achieved a success in creating the modern world from jungle life (pastoral life). The ultimate objective of all development is about expanding human potential and enlarging human freedom. It is about people developing the capabilities that empower them to make choices and to lead lives that they value. In recent times, climate change threatens to erode human freedoms and limit choices.

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Gender parity and Sustainable Development among Sumi Naga
Kitoholi V Zhimo

There is a dire urgency to incorporate fair gender policies and developmental programmes while overthrowing age old existing customs and traditions for the world to attain a sustainable development. Thus, gender sensitization in resource ownership and management needs a critical assessment and advancement by way of reshaping or redefining cultural norms, societal expression, and patriarchal idea of marginalization, etc. to achieve greater, if not complete sustainable development.

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China as a Hydro-Hegemon: A Perspective from India
Arnab Chakrabarty

China and India are both economic giants with immense need for energy. Water has become an important resource in the present world, and may become a reason for conflict. Currently China controls vast amount of water resources in Tibet (Tibetan Autonomous Region) and consequently the sources of the rivers that flow in India. The river Brahmaputra (known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet) that drains India’s North East region is a great source of hydro-power and China eyes it for generating hydropower and to divert it for draining its arid northern region.

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“Regulating Biodiversity Conservation and Management in India and South Africa: Common Purposes, Prospects and Problems”
Amrendra Kumar

India and South Africa both are extremely rich in terms of biodiversity, but are also developing countries where the majority of the population lives in poverty and scarcity. Hence, conservation of biodiversity sometimes comes into conflict with crucial requirements of ecological survival, population pressure and development needs, which led to the sacrifice of priceless biological resources and natural heritage. In order to ensure conservation and management of biodiversity, there is need for strong commitment and cooperation through strategic partnership between India and South Africa having conman purposes, prospects and problems in current situations.

 

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