Short Communications

Asia's self interest : Protecting the global commons

Publication Date: 4 July 2011

Author(s): Rajendra K Pachauri


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has brought out a thought-provoking publication called Asia 2050. Last week a meeting was held in Manila to discuss this publication in a forum called the “Asia Wise Persons’ Group”. With the rapid growth taking place in Asia and the prospects of this century being identified as the Asian Century, this continent has major challenges. These would include the need for inclusive growth involving the elimination of poverty, and evolving a pattern of development that ensures protection of the global commons. I was particularly impressed with the prevailing spirit among the ‘Asia Wise Persons’ Group’, which consists of former Heads of Government and a few other distinguished leaders from the Asian region (who of course are no longer in power).  One would have expected them to voice the usual desire for rapid economic growth and catching up with the developed countries. But in actual fact all of them felt that Asia has to develop in a very different way, maintaining its cultural roots, protecting the environment and most importantly taking care of the global commons. There was also a strong emphasis on Asia not waiting for the rest of the world to take the initiative in protecting the global commons, but rather emerging as a model which others could follow. I was happy to hear this refrain, because I have been saying this for some time in the context of India’s development paradigm. However, our bureaucracy and political leadership still has a hang-up about catching up with North America. That would be India’s and the world’s nightmare coming true. I feel deeply convinced that TERI has to bring about a change in the thinking of our policymakers, and one means to do that would be to display renewed vigour with our ‘GREEN India 2047’ project. After all it was in 1997 that we launched that initiative, and its relevance if anything, is much higher today. 2012 marks 20 years since Rio and 15 years since ‘GREEN India 2047’ was launched.

Publisher/Organisation: TERI

Source: TERI Intranet