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Peace needed for sustainable development: PM

By Anil K Joseph in Beijing
October 25, 2008 12:10 IST
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Seeking strengthening of global cooperation to combat terrorism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said there cannot be sustainable development, a major challenge faced by the world, without peace.

"Without peace there can be no sustainable development. Terrorism, extremism, and intolerance threaten our social cohesion," Dr Singh said in his address to the 7th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in Beijing.

"We need to continuously strengthen international cooperation to combat terrorism. We must bring perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of terrorism to justice," he said at the concluding day of the two-day summit, also attended by Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani as well as over 40 other world leaders.

He said sustainable development was among the biggest challenges faced by the world and a lot of cooperative work was needed to transform it from a mere buzz word to an operational strategy for development.

"We know that Asia is home to the largest concentration of the world's poor. Poverty eradication at this scale requires a collaborative global effort to promote development and in particular to create job opportunities. If we fail, we will continue to live in a world of instability and conflict," Dr Singh, who was the first to speak at one of the main sessions, said.

"The development strategies that we adopt have to result in a fair, equitable and balanced distribution of the economic dividend," the prime minister said.

At the same time, he said, it must also preserve and protect the environment. "Only then can we make faster progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals," he said.

"We therefore need to put in place a global action plan to promote both food and energy security for managing the challenges of both accelerated growth and its environmental sustainability," Dr Singh said.

He noted that unfortunately, the international community has not lived up to its commitments for technology transfer and additional financing since the Rio Conference.

"We should pursue innovative mechanisms for raising finance for development and creating a favourable Intellectual Property Regime," he said.

Dwelling on climate change, Dr Singh said the issue threatened the environment and as well as development.

"A holistic approach is needed to tackle this problem. We cannot do so by perpetuating the poverty of the developing countries, or by preventing their industrialisation. The challenge ahead is to put in place development strategies which improve living standards, create opportunities for job creation and are also environment friendly," Dr Singh said.

"Thus, common but differentiated responsibility should be the cardinal principle of negotiations to find practical and pragmatic solutions within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change," Dr Singh said, advocating India's stance on the crucial subject.

He lamented that progress on the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol has been slow.

Dr Singh pointed out that emissions of developed countries have actually increased by 2.6 per cent from 2000 to 2005.

"We should call upon our European partners to do more in this regard. The developing world is committed to doing its share," he said, a day after India formally joined the 45-member ASEM.

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Anil K Joseph in Beijing
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