In the current scenario of triple planetary crises, environmental stewardship and visionary leadership are indispensable elements for fostering collective action and propelling global efforts to address shared environmental challenges. With the above backdrop, speaking at the inaugural session of the 23rd edition of the World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS), the Hon'ble Vice President of India Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar emphasized that sustainable development and containing climate change are quintessential to a secure future. "We must recognise that challenges we face know no borders," said the Hon'ble Vice President of India.

Hon'ble Vice President of India emphasizes urgent need for visionary leadership

Highlighting the need for integration, he further added, "The integration of sustainability into national planning, the allocation of budgets for green initiatives, and the launch of flagship schemes that prioritize environmental protection showcase Indias leadership in embracing a holistic and inclusive approach to development."

The Hon'ble Vice President underscored, "The challenges we face are daunting, but they are not insurmountable. By joining forces, embracing innovation, and fostering international cooperation, we can pave the way for a sustainable and secure future for all. Let this Summit be a catalyst for action, inspiring us to redouble our efforts and work towards a world where the principles of sustainable development guide our every decision."

Extending his warm wishes and congratulating TERI on successfully organising the Summit for over two decades, Shri Bhupender Yadav, Honble Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, shared, "The deliberations that take place at the Summit continues to be essential in determining the path of our sustainable future. We must come together in our shared commitment to promote sustainability and equity in society pledged by catastrophic concern of global warming."

He further added, "WSDS offers the vital forum for deliberating on issues, solutions and initiatives for conserving our environment. The theme 'Leadership for Sustainable Development and Climate Justice' is specially needed to address climate crisis.."

The Hon'ble Minister, noted, "India is one of the nations that has revised its NDCs upward indicating deep commitment to enhanced climate action and further submitted our long-term law emission development strategy at COP27 in Egypt." He concluded on the thought, "we believe in fighting climate change and ensuring climate justice."

Speaking about India and Guyana partnership, H E Brigadier (Retd) Mark Phillips, Prime Minister of Guyana, said, "I take this opportunity to congratulate you on completing 50 years. We look forward to supporting you for years to come." He further added, "In the spirit of fostering the climate actions the Government of India and Guyana have been focusing on building the resilient and sustainable future."

Prioritizing the well-being of youngest citizens, the Prime Minister of Guyana, remarked, "Guyana stands committed to addressing the impact on childrens health, ensuring access to safe water, nutrition, and robust infrastructure. Our pledge is fortified by signing the UNICEF Declaration of Children, Youth, and Climate Action, shaping a future where every child thrives."

At the Welcome Address of the Summit, Mr Nitin Desai, Chairman - Governing Council, TERI, underscored, "The 23rd edition of the WSDS aims to bring together people involved in decision making on environment and development that will shape the link between the two. We need to move beyond awareness to advance things on the actions to be taken to protect the environment."

The occasion was presided by international ministers, namely H.E. Ms Teresa Ribera Rodrguez Minister, Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Spain, H.E. Mr Vatimi Rayalu Minister, Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways, Fiji, and H.E. Mr Willie Tokataake (Minister, Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy, Kiribati. They stressed on the importance of innovative approaches to ensure resilience and sustainability in other Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Speaking at an earlier session on finance, H.E. Ms Teresa Ribera Rodrguez, Minister, Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Spain, underscored, "The challenge in mobilizing climate finance is about finding the right instruments to do so, the right incentives, the right signals, to ensure that we dedicate our efforts where they are needed. For instance, we cannot expect climate vulnerable, fiscally constrained developing countries to have recourse to credit instruments that can accelerate mitigation and adaptation actions." Counting on TERI's Act4Earth initiative, she emphasized, "Development strategy and climate policy cannot operate in silos. They need to draw linkages and tap on synergies for global prosperity."

H.E. Mr Willie Tokataake, Minister, Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy, Kiribati, shared the unique challenges faced by the small island developing states. He highlighted, "For any holistic discussion on the looming climate crisis, it is pertinent to hear the voices of the most vulnerable countries. The efforts by small island nations to mitigate the climate change impacts are very minimal given our insignificant emissions compared to the developed countries' emissions, yet we are the most impacted nations from climate change impacts. I am glad to be here today to represent the concerns my country faces and deliberate on effective global solutions."

In the context of multiple crises faced by vulnerable island nations, H.E. Mr Vatimi Rayalu, Minister, Ministry of Agriculture and Waterways, Fiji emphasized, "Creating an enabling environment that fosters economic opportunities, climate resilience, food and nutrition security and sustainable development through better collaboration and coordination in the region and world stage."

The launch of 'TERI's solutions for sustainable development' marked the occasion of TERI celebrating its 50 years.

Following the inaugural ceremony was the fireside chat on 'High-level opening session on Leadership in the time of polycrisis'.

The three-day Summit will see ministers, leaders and subject experts from across the globe deliberate on addressing the escalating climate crises and sliding back of SDGs. As geopolitical realities take precedence, leadership at all levels become instrumental in ensuring that the world remains on track to achieve the climate targets would be the core of the discussions.

About TERI

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in India, is an independent, multi-dimensional research organization with capabilities in policy research, technology development, and implementation. An innovator and agent of change in the energy, environment, climate change and sustainability space, TERI has pioneered conversations and action in these areas for nearly five decades. Headquartered in New Delhi, it has centres in six Indian cities, and is supported by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, sociologists, economists, engineers, administrative professional and state-of-the-art infrastructure.