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Natural Resource Management, Community Resilience and Energy Efficiency
Home to nearly 18% of the global population, India uses only 6% of the world’s primary energy resources. The country’s primary energy consumption, however, has risen significantly over the past three decades. This trend is expected to continue, driven by strong economic growth and population expansion. Ensuring adequate energy supply to satisfy these demands is a key challenge facing the country. Additionally, India’s energy sector accounts for 71% of total green house gas emissions in the country. The Government is committed to accelerate economic growth and promote sustainable development.
As the country steps up efforts to meet commitments made under the Paris Agreement and adopt a “cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at a corresponding level of economic development”, addressing climate change, both in rural and urban spaces, is an equal challenge. Developing nations are increasingly vulnerable to climate change; in 2013, India figured in the top three countries affected by climate risk. India, with only 2.4% of the world’s land area, is also home to 7-8% of all recorded species and 692,027 km of forests covering 21.05% of the geographical area of the country. Environmental degradation, climate change and disasters, unsustainable use of land and natural resources, and ineffective waste and chemical management have different and disproportionate impacts on the lives of women and children. National policymaking needs to address gender inequalities in environmental management and disaster risk management and response. Widespread losses from disasters require specific interventions at all levels to build resilience of communities and institutions, and to promote risk-informed development.
Government of India Programmes and Initiatives
Energy security, climate resilience and sustainable consumption are the three pillars of India’s approach to sustainable development. The government’s expansion plans focus on solar power (specifically off-grid) as a key element for harnesssing its renewable energy potential. Subsidised availability of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) as an alternative cooking fuel has been a major effort towards addressing indoor air pollution.
India has taken the initiative to set up the International Solar Alliance, an alliance of 121 solar-resource-rich countries which aims to encourage greater innovation in solar technologies and financing to accelerate adoption of solar technologies in these countries.
The power generation sector has also been open to private investment for some time, with a range of fiscal incentives to increase the attractiveness of related projects. The country is also working towards increasing the total forest cover in the country through targeted afforestation programmes like the Green India Mission (GIM). The National Environment Policy mainstreams the environment, including biodiversity, in development planning processes.
UNDP convenes the priority area group on natural resource management, community resilience, and energy efficiency. The group also constitutes IOM, UNEP, UNESCAP (APCTT), UNESCO, UNFPA, UN Habitat, UNICEF, UNIDO, UN Women, and WHO.
Areas of cooperation include increased access to affordable and reliable energy; enhanced energy efficiency; innovative partnerships and financial models for solar energy generation; increased used of renewable energy; support to meeting national commitments under the UNFCCC; increased institutional and community resilience; meeting Aichi and national biodiversity targets; and strengthen chemical and waste management.