`Environment ministers have a hard time`

`Environment ministers have a hard time` What are India's strong points at environment negotiations?
Our main strength is credibility -- our record of conservation of natural resources. We have $600 billion worth of forests and forest products, but we do not use them to raise revenue.

Indian negotiators at environmental talks still speak of transfer of money and technology. How is this different from what we have talked about for the past two decades?
Merely saying that we want money is not enough; we have to back up our demands. Examine any statement or multilateral agreement and environmental issues will definitely be mentioned. I think international diplomacy in the future will be largely environmentally driven.

Green diplomacy demands a consensus within the government. Does it exist?
There are always irritants between officials over procedural matters. Over macro policies, the political leadership has complete consensus.

At the Global Environment Facility meeting in Beijing, all nations, including India, were running around for small disbursements. Why?
Donor countries -- USA, Japan and UK -- are beset with recession and Germany, with the problem of its unification. When times are bad we still get something. When things improve, we will get much more.

You raise questions of entitlements and liability. How far have you got?
The West's participation in environmental conventions is enough indication that they acknowledge their responsibilities. If you insist that they stand up and say, "Yes, yes, we are criminals, punish us", they will stay at the G-7 meet and take decisions from there.

How are environment ministers with their moralistic sounding stands viewed in their governments?
I think environment ministers the world over have a hard time. Their perceptions are different because they have to take decisions keeping in mind the present and the future. But these differences aren't permanent; they do get resolved.

Related Content

blog comments powered by Disqus