After recording GDP growth of around 7-8 percent for several years, India has started to witness an economic slowdown. The country is also facing acute environmental challenges, including climate variability, poor air quality, over-exploitation of groundwater, water scarcity, increasing inland and coast salinity, land degradation, and increased intensity of climate extreme events. These have adversely affected economic performance and resulted in increased poverty, unemployment and poor health.
India has made significant efforts to tackle this through several policies and programmes, including, the National Policy on Biofuels, the National Clean Environment Fund, the Smart Cities Mission and concerted efforts to achieve NDCs and SDGs. It has also embraced integrated economy-wide approaches, including circular economy and sustainable consumption and production.
India joined PAGE in 2018 to catalyse action and enhance cooperation on existing initiatives on national and sub-national levels. The government’s focus on increasing resource efficiency through the National Resource Efficiency Programme - currently under finalisation - provides a specific entry point for PAGE support.
Possible support areas being explored include:
1) Enhancing national initiatives on resource efficiency;
2) Providing support for the implementation of India’s resource efficiency roadmap;
3) Supporting national priorities pertaining to sustainable public procurement and eco-labelling;
4) Supporting modernization of the micro-small- and medium-sized enterprise, particularly in the manufacturing sectors; and
5) Building synergies with other green economy-aligned initiatives.
- India joins PAGE
- Joint PAGE inception mission and two-day workshop held in New Delhi
- Policy Brief on Resource Efficiency launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC)
- National coordinator hired to support PAGE work
- Three sub-national workshops related to the stocktaking held to identify sub-national priorities
- National workshop conducted in New Delhi to further refine the priorities identified in the sub-national consultations
- A draft green economy stocktaking study developed
- “Task Force on Environmental Sustainability” formed with PAGE assistance, to support green transition of Indian Railways
- National Steering Committee for PAGE India established
- PAGE invited to lead a thematic session at the Green Economy Coalition’s annual global meeting in India
Progress in 2019: A snapshot
Completing stocktaking and facilitating national dialogue
PAGE India has undertaken an initial stocktaking study to establish a baseline and identify and elaborate priority areas for PAGE support. One national and three sub-national consultation workshops were held for Southern and Western (combined), Northern, and Eastern states of India throughout July and August 2019 to complement this study and feed regional priorities and perspectives into it. The national workshop was conducted in New Delhi in August 2019 to further refine the priorities identified in the sub-national consultations and discuss thematic areas, specifically around SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and synergies with SDG 8 (Employment and Economic Growth). These workshops were successful in bringing together several stakeholders and decision makers on a single platform.
Establishing country ownership to drive IGE
A National Steering Committee was established in January 2020 by the MoEFCC to direct and supervise PAGE work in line with national priorities and international commitments. Comprised of membership from key ministries and departments, UN PAGE agencies, and research and development organizations, the Steering Committee will amongst other responsibilities:
- Serve as an inter-departmental and inter-agency mechanism for overall planning, execution, monitoring, supervision and guidance of PAGE activities;
- Provide consultative inputs and guidance for PAGE engagement relating to IGE transition, considering the needs and priorities of national policies and programmes;
- Provide guidance on a roadmap for long-term sustainability of IGE interventions beyond PAGE by building on government priorities; and
- Serve as a platform for exchange of idea and forging partnerships and synergies.
Supporting the green transition of Indian Railways
The Indian Railways is one of the largest railway networks in the world, employing more than 1.27 million people and having a huge carbon footprint in terms of energy and material consumption, fossil fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emission, waste generation and water consumption. PAGE, in 2019, has supported the formation of a high level “Task Force on Environmental Sustainability”, preparing its terms of reference. The Task Force will be chaired by the Chairman of the Railway Board, co-chaired by UNEP and will work as an inter-ministerial, inter-agency and inter-department guidance mechanism for overall planning and supervision of a sustainability roadmap of Indian Railways to achieve its green transition.
Participating in global outreach
In March 2019, the MoEFCC hosted a side event at the UNEA-4 called “Global Partnerships: Keys to Unlocking Resource Efficiency and Inclusive Green Economies”, celebrating partnerships as a fundamental platform to break the logic of business as usual and move towards IGE.