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Dr Manmohan SinghTHMB Manmohan in Rio for Earth Summit

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SME Times News Bureau | 21 Jun, 2012
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development opened in Rio de Janerio on Wednesday with world leaders meeting to renew political commitment to tackle economic, social and environmental problems.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Rio de Janerio on Wednesday for the Earth Summit after taking part in the G20 summit in Mexico.

The high-profile event comes 20 years after Rio’s first Earth Summit, when nations vowed to roll back climate change, desertification and species loss, and act urgently in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Some 92 leaders, including the host, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and UN chief Ban Ki-moon are attending the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development.

Manmohan Singh will join world leaders to find ways of reducing poverty, advancing social equity and protecting environment in a sustainable manner.

Earlier, G20 nations ended a meeting in the Mexican resort Los Cabos endorsing the Indian stand that investment in infrastructure was critical for sustained growth, economic recovery, poverty reduction and job creation.

Manmohan Singh has been pushing for long-term access to funds for infrastructure for developing countries. India has said it needs at least USD 1 trillion in the next five years in infrastructure funding.

He also has maintained that fiscal prudence and austerity in debt-laden countries must be matched by measured fiscal expansion by surplus nations.

This was endorsed by the leaders including Presidents Barack Obama of the US, Angela Merkel of Germany and Vladimir Putin of Russia and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in a document formally called the G20 declaration.

"Investment in infrastructure is critical for sustained economic growth, poverty reduction and job creation," the declaration said, adding the recommendations made by multilateral development banks in this regard must be implemented.

"The Los Cabos Declaration fully reflects our initiative that investment on infrastructure in developing countries can play a major role in strengthening development and in stimulating global recovery," Manmohan Singh said.

"The declaration indicates that multilateral development banks should be strengthened for this purpose. We would work with G-20 countries to transform their commitment to specific action," he said.

In his address during the plenary, Manmohan Singh said with developing countries like India already facing serious problems due to the negative impact of the global economic crisis, funds for growth was getting scarce.

"Infrastructure investment in developing countries assumes special importance in this context. It lays the foundation for rapid growth in the longer term, while providing immediate stimulus for their economies and also for the global economy, by providing a robust source of demand."

But that, he added, was possible only if they can get access to long-term capital to fund such investment, which was difficult when capital flows stood disrupted.

The multilateral development banks can play a major role in this context he said, especially after the first and immediate task of expanding their war chest to support programmes in rich countries had been accomplished.

Another take away for India was a clear message from the leaders that growth cannot be ignored and while austerity was important for debt-ridden countries, surplus nations must counter it with expansion.

He is scheduled to return to New Delhi Saturday night.
 
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