Sustainable and climate resilient future for Odisha

Transcript of the speech by British Deputy High Commissioner Kolkata Scott Furssedonn-Wood, at the seminar on UK-Odisha partnership on tackling climate change, 27 August 2015.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

It is a real pleasure to be with you all today at this very important event, organised in partnership between the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, Department of Forest and Environment, Government of Odisha and the UK Government.

This event is part of a series of events we have organised in Bhubaneswar as part of GREAT Britain in Odisha week. Yesterday the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha, together with the UK Minister of State for International Development the Rt Hon Desmond Swayne MP inaugurated these events. They talked about the strength of the UK-Odisha partnership in a number of areas. Our joint work to address the critical issue of climate change is among the most important.

There is clear vision and strong leadership in Odisha for securing a climate resilient future. Odisha was one of the first states in India to produce its State Level Action Plan on Climate Change. It is one of the first states in India to establish sectoral low carbon committees bringing together experts and officials to design innovative climate friendly policies.

These show a level of commitment and engagement that is striking and impressive.

Climate change poses significant threats to Odisha. It is one of India’s most vulnerable states. Extreme climatic events like cyclones, floods and droughts, and coastal erosion are affecting people’s lives and livelihoods. They threaten businesses, assets and infrastructure; the availability of food and water, and literally every aspect of the economy.

That means that climate change poses a fundamental challenge as Odisha continues its remarkable journey of economic and social development. The state recognises that and has already taken innovative steps to address it. It has also seen that access to clean energy is critical to the state’s future prosperity.

I am proud that the UK Government has worked closely with Odisha on these challenges. We have worked with Parliamentarians and Legislators on comprehensive renewable energy policies that address long term development goals. We have worked together to develop models for widespread use of low carbon lighting. We have helped to develop fiscal instruments that provide the right incentives to address climate change. In all this, we have found the State Government and others in Odisha to be excellent partners.

That is why, just a few months ago, we launched yet another programme on climate change with the Government of Odisha - the Climate Change Innovation Programme (CCIP) with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The CCIP is funded by the UK Department For International Development under 12 million pounds technical assistance and is spread across six states of India, Odisha being one of them. We look forward to working closely with the Government of Odisha over the next few years to implement this programme.

Today’s seminar is an important milestone in this work. By sharing the wealth of experience, ideas, and collective knowledge in this room we have the best chance of building a sustainable and climate resilient future for Odisha.

And I hope that Odisha, and the excellent work that is done here, will establish a replicable model for the rest of the country and other vulnerable regions across the world to address climate change.

Let me thank you all once again for being here today and for all that you are doing to build a climate resilient and low carbon future for Odisha.

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