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Nirmala asks ADB to drop timid approach, says multilateral lender must think out-of-the-box

At ADB annual meet, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman raises the pitch on sustainable development

Issues related to sustainable development and climate change have been the thrust of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s deliberations at the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) annual meeting of the Board of Governors. In her address today in Seoul, Sitharaman said that the multilateral lender needs to adopt a transformational approach on sustainability instead of incremental changes.

“We need a robust ADB that adopts a transformational rather than incremental approach for sustainable and resilient regional development,” she said, adding that India’s growth trajectory is intact despite emerging global challenges.

India, which set a stiff target to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070, has been at the fore in spearheading global action on climate change. Sitharaman allocated Rs 35,000 crore towards energy transition in her budget presentation for the current financial year.

“India is looking to take the lead on climate issues on the global stage. It has brought up this issue on several platforms—within India as well as outside,” said a senior government official.

Urging the ADB to support India with more concessional climate finance, Sitharaman spotlighted that India’s economic and developmental progress would have a huge impact regionally and globally.

The Finance Minister in her deliberations at the ADB meetings also underlined India’s focus on the blue economy outlining the various policy measures put in place to support this crucial sector.

“The climate events we have experienced over the past 12 months will only increase in intensity and frequency, so we must take bold action now. IF-CAP is an exciting, innovative programme that will have a real impact. And it is another example of how ADB serves as the climate bank for Asia and the Pacific,” ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa said at the start of the annual meeting.

In February, ADB said it was willing to provide $20–$25 billion over five years to support India’s drive for green growth.

Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking virtually at a LiFE initiative titled ‘How Behavioral Change can Tackle Climate Change’ at the World Bank said that climate change cannot be fought from conference tables alone but must be fought from the dinner tables in every home.

The World Economic Forum earlier noted that a total of $14.5 billion was invested in renewable energy in India. This was 125 per cent higher compared to financial year 2020-21 and 72 per cent higher than in the pre-pandemic period of the 2019-20. As of August 31, 2022, renewable energy sources, including large hydropower, have a combined installed capacity of 163 GW in India.

Also read: World’s Oceans rise to record high as glaciers melt to all-time low: UN climate report