"Sustainable development is among the biggest challenges of our times. However, a lot of cooperative work is needed to transform it from a mere buzz word to an operational strategy for development, " he said at the session in 'the Great Hall of the People' as the dignitaries from 44 countries listened to him in rapt attention.
Pointing out that Asia was home to the largest concentration of the world's poor, Dr Singh said poverty eradication at this scale required 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," he said.
He added that the development strategies should have to result in a fair, equitable and balanced distribution of the economic dividend. "At the same time, it must also preserve and protect the environment. Only then can we make faster progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals." In this context, the Prime Minister suggested that a global action plan was put in place to promote both food and energy security for managing the challenges of both accelerated growth and its environmental sustainability.
Dr Singh regretted that the international community had 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 IPR regime. "
Expressing concern over climate change threatening global environment and development, he said a holistic approach was 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,"he 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," he added.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the slow progress on the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, he said emissions of developed countries had 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. " Asserting that each citizen of the world had equal entitlement to the global atmospheric space, Dr Singh said the principle of convergence of per-capita emissions of developing countries with advanced developed countries was catching the imagination of the international community..
Asking the Asian and European nations to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, he said greater effort was needed to promote clean and renewable sources of energy, including nuclear energy.
"The world therefore needs a new compact to increase efficiency in the use of available energy resources,'' he said.
Referring to globalisation, Dr Singh said," if it is to succeed, it must be fair and benefit the whole of humanity. Development has to be inclusive. It must reduce disparities of income and wealth.
It should create ever widening circles of stake-holders. It should respect pluralism and diversity. "