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Bringing about coherence in policy and action towards sustainable development in India

Natural resources are majorly used in the sectors of construction, infrastructure, transportation, industry, agriculture and energy production. An inordinate use of these resources impacts economic production, trade and the environment at large. Moreover, it also causes a scarcity, leading to an increase in prices. Thus, working towards resource security and sustainable development is of paramount importance. The need for astute policy and its immediate and effective implementation, both in India and globally has been recognized. To this end, several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, drafted a couple of years ago, aim at resource efficiency.

Policies that determine resource pricing impact the overall macroeconomic and development tactics of a country. Similarly, policies to increase GDP tend to provide more incentives to industries to conduct business, which implicitly encourages the increased use of natural resources, leading to wasteful habits. It is then attempted to solve these problems with short term solutions that sometimes compound the original problems in the long run. In the past, several policies that were well-intentioned at the time have now been recognised to be detrimental to nature and the environment. Examples of these include adopting leaded petrol for automobile efficiency, using CFCs for air conditioners and foams, DDT for malaria control, etc. Similarly, the widespread use of plastics is increasingly leading to the destruction of the seas and all it holds within.

Our thoughts and actions have a direct impact on the planetary scale. It was heartening to note that the experts conceded to an improving situation, because 50 years ago, individuals and corporations alike would not have even acknowledged, let alone accepted, that they were doing something wrong or harmful to the environment. Yet, now they not just acknowledge but apologise for the damage they are causing and several of them work towards mitigating the situation.

The need of the hour is to create a paradigm shift from policy to implementation and conferences such as these will help achieve this goal. The second day of the conference saw several experts from technology majors, in addition to activists, educators and innovators deliberate over issues such as price volatility, importance of inclusion of resource efficiency in education and curricula, and using recycling of secondary materials as a way to contribute to a circular economy. The sessions discussed ways to optimize resources, the importance of setting a framework, the use of participative management to enable people to give their views on policies and contribute to their drafting, and the urgent need for coherence in policies on land, air, energy, water, waste and carbon.

It is important that we agree on a standard of living and strive our best to provide it for all equitably today and in the future. For this, all concerned stakeholders should be able to view the larger picture, viz. how can we save resources and protect the environment for our future generations. This can be achieved by using resources as efficiently as possible and maximizing the value obtained from them, identifying policy gaps, generating awareness about making environmental jobs commercially viable careers, and finally using technology and innovations wherever possible.

Content by Natasha DLima

About the CLUB OF ROME

The Club of Rome was founded in 1968 as an informal association of independent leading personalities from politics, business and science, men and women who are long-term thinkers interested in contributing in a systemic interdisciplinary and holistic manner to a better world.

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