Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Prime Minister of India, New Delhi
Poverty: the global challenge for governments, industry, scientists, and civil society 1518
I am happy to be with all of you at this important summit on sustainable development. I am gratified by the presence of many eminent participants representing both developed and developing countries, besides senior representatives of key international organizations and NGOs (non-governmental organizations). I congratulate TERI for three praiseworthy features of the summit. First, the DSDS (Delhi Sustainable Development Summit) seeks to amplify the voice of developing countries in the worldwide debate on sustainability. Second, the main theme is poverty eradication, which is also the core issue that globalization must address. Third, the organizers recognize that poverty is a global challenge not only for governments but also for industry, scientists, and civil society as a whole. The past decade was marked by two landmark events. The Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 placed sustainable development on top of the global agenda. Never before had the world community acknowledged so powerfully that development must either be sustainable or should not be called development at all. Three years later, in 1995, the World Trade Organization came into being, formalizing the advent of a global market. Ever since, the debate on globalization and sustainable development has grown both in dimension and dynamism. There is an increasing awareness that only concerted and coordinated global action can meet the challenges of poverty alleviation, environment protection, and balanced development. For meaningful and effective global action, we must first recognize the magnitude of global inequities. The World Bank indicates that one-sixth of the worlds population receives 78% of the worlds income, which amounts to 70 dollars a day. Simultaneously, three-fifths of the worlds people, living in the poorest 61 countries, receive only six per cent of the worlds income, which is less than two dollars a day. As the age of globalization dawns upon us, several stark facts about global poverty stare at us in the face. The percentage of people living below the poverty line may have come down in several countries as it has in India. However, the relative gap between the rich and the poor has widened, both within and amongst nations. The benefits of technology, trade, and other
At the same time. Both the magnitude and the changing meaning of poverty have made one thing clearpoverty cannot be removed by the traditional strategy of income enhancement of all in the simplistic hope that higher incomes will naturally buy all the necessary entitlements. An increasing number of people around the world are wondering whether we are losing sight of man and his deeper aspirations in the one-dimensional race for economic growth. it has also brought about the unprecedented imbalance between material and psychological affluence. we cannot belittle the importance of restructuring the economic relations between and within countries. For example. and lack of opportunities to advance ones own cultural life. Just as we have become more aware of the meaning of poverty.16
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
opportunities presented by globalization have spread unevenly. in the new century. Deprivation of normal family and community relationships. The world community cannot be blind to the implications of this imbalance. What we need is a comprehensive and holistic global strategy. which involves the fullest mobilization of all economic. an urban migrant worker living in an inhuman and impersonal slum may earn more than what he was when living in a village in a harmonious social and cultural milieu but he cannot be considered to be living a better and more fulfilling life. It is impossible for the lifestyles of rich nations to be replicated all over the world without putting enormous pressure on the earths limited resources. There is a need to substantially increase the resources of governments in developing countries to pursue developmental projects and programmes aimed specifically at poverty eradication. the rate at which poverty is being eradicated has not kept pace with the rate at which the rich are getting richer. care of the environment. Consumerism of the super-rich has become a curse for the global environment. We can hardly hope to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by globalizing this course. cooperation. It is equally clear that poverty can no longer be seen exclusively in static income terms. to entitlements and opportunities for a happy life. This calls for a far higher level of political will in industrialized countries than is manifest today. The resources of multilateral and bilateral development agencies also need to be significantly enhanced. so too have we become more sensitive to the meaning of development. Consequently. Yet. sociocultural. have also become important features of poverty in modern times. what matters more than income levels is the access. Therefore. All of us are aware that a narrowly-focused economic model can neither remove global poverty nor yield sustainable development. Industrial civilization has led to unprecedented levels of material wealth. and technological resources. and joy of living. or lack of it. in
Poverty: the global challenge for governments. the world needs to put more emphasis on the realization of new lifestyles driven by a set of values that prioritize compassion. Developed countries. and civil society 1518
. industry. scientists.
especially IT (information technology) has created a massive growth in productivity. civil society. generate renewable energy for rural areas. In natural calamities. It has also proved to be a revolutionary tool for education. The proceeds may be credited to a global poverty alleviation fund. scientists. which focuses on green technologies. India is ready to offer expertise to others. unequal access to IT has given rise to legitimate fears of a digital divide. We are also willing to learn from successful experiences elsewhere. must cooperate in speedy conclusions of the international agreements on climate change. health care. There is also a need for greater global cooperation to deal with natural calamities. We need collective global action to speedily bridge the gap between IT-haves and have-nots. in all aspects of sustainable development whether it is in community-run water harvesting. industry. and all capital repatriations from developing countries. However. It is high time that we considered imposing an international levy on capital flows between developed countries. and help in better management of relief. the poor always lose much more proportionately than the rich. Information and critical technologies that can prevent disasters. contain their damage. increase food yields. and facilitate adoption of clean production in the public domain for use by the developing countries Technology. TERI has brought out an excellent publication called DISHA (Directions. 1 The accelerated liquidation of all public external debts of low-income countries 2 Poverty alleviation programmes specifically targeted at those who have lost their livelihoods in economic crises brought about by reversal of external capital flows in developing countries 3 Enhancement of skills and increased access to finance needed by the poor to compete effectively in the global economy 4 Placing technologies that save lives. research institutions. and sustainable development. and effective governance at all levels. a new code of ethics for the corporate sector. Innovations. and civil society 1518
. government. In this context. In this context. the use of market-based instruments. rehabilitation. especially in developing countries. As the book persuasively argues. in replacing older transport vehicles with newer pollution-free vehicles run on
Poverty: the global challenge for governments.Inaugural address
particular. We need the participation of the people particularly. and reconstruction should be available to all countries. and Strategies for Harnessing Action) for Sustainable Development. and the corporate sector will have to work in partnership to reach the goals that we set ourselves for the future. which could have the following objectives. I gratefully acknowledge the generous help that India has received from the international community after the recent devastating earthquake in Gujarat.
and civil society
. scientists. For instance. the Gujarat governments Sardar Patel participatory water conservation programme. or in removing polluting industries from residential areas. I have great pleasure in inaugurating this summit. launched in January 2000. Governments and NGOs have to work in close cooperation with each other.
Poverty: the global challenge for governments. too. The media. The participants from India can learn much from the international experience. The delegates at this summit will deliberate on many important issues relating to sustainable development. With these words. The distinguished foreign delegates will also get a better appreciation of Indias experience in poverty eradication and sustainable development. has an important role to play in highlighting the imperative need of such constructive partnership.18
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clean fuels. industry. has successfully led to the creation of nearly 10 500 check dams built with peoples participation.