Modi Tells Ban Ki-moon that Poverty, Not Carbon Emissions, Are Primary

September 28, 2015

Arguing with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during his meeting on Sept. 25 on the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of a "trust deficit" with developed countries, who have achieved their level of growth, appear to use the climate issue to keep the developing countries from improving the living standards of their people under the pretext of controlling carbon emissions, according to India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) reported Saturday.

Modi said that developing countries should be allowed to develop, and that the developed countries' policy to impose restrictions and controls on development was not the way to go. "Positive measures like concessional financing of climate change projects and transfer of technology were needed to promote sustainable development instead of negative ones that focus on capping carbon emissions," he said, IANS reports.

Addressing a special summit of the UN later on Sept. 25, Modi pointed out that countries such as China, India and Brazil are home to millions of people living in extreme ($1.25 a day) poverty—80 million, 280 million and 10 million respectively. It is not just about fulfilling the needs of the poor and upholding their dignity, nor about assuming moral responsibility for this, but realizing that the very goal of a sustainable future cannot be accomplished without addressing the problem of poverty, he said, the BRICS Post reported. Nearly 60% of India's rural population qualify for "deprivation" estimated through the yardstick of seven socio-economic parameters, according to a new government survey earlier this year, wrote the Post.