By ONIKOSI ANUOLUWATOYOSI, THE TIMES OF INDIA
The United Nations Environmental Program has focused over the past few days of debates on the topic air pollution and its effects on human rights. This debate has featured countries coming to a consensus that this air pollution is a global problem that needs to be tackled and as such expressing their ideas. An interview with the delegate of India in the committee brought to light the importance of implementing four principles which the delegation presented and tagged the FAIR approach.
The FAIR approach is an acronym which basically explains the ideology of fairness between different countries in their domestic situations. The F stands for financing which is very important as this is the year of Green Financing according to the executive director of the UNEP and because technologies are available which need to be developed. Financing is all about pushing the resources to make a difference according to the Delegate of India. A is for Awareness; awareness among people, government, municipalities of the increasing problems and the effects of air pollution. Most people think air pollution is strictly related to climate change and of course it is but they do not consider the crucial aspect of air pollution in cities and the effects it has on the citizens in their lung, bloodstreams, and bodies. The I is for innovation: this would involve investing in innovation. There are a lot of technologies that are quite small but can be bigger upon development. The R is for research that is research into direct effects of health pollutants on crops on health and many other aspects.
India is working with South Africa, Indonesia, and Tanzania on one of the draft resolutions presented to the committee and they came up with the DARE approach, which was distilled from the FAIR approach and it simply stands for Development, Awareness, research and Endowment, which is basically Financing. The working paper is of course titled, Dare to be Green. It has a lot of key features to show that states are accountable for their progress, a lot of new technology innovations, as well as recommending that the new Institute of Global Environmental Research Institute raise awareness of the program.
Lastly the draft resolution plans to propose the Canaries approach which is a title found in the resolution. Canary birds are a very important symbol of air pollution and death. The coal miners always used to bring canaries with them into the coal mines and these birds very sensitive to air pollution would usually die and the coal miners would know to run for their lives. India came up with this analogy which presents a very symbolic meaning of the situation in the world today and so the Canaries approach introduces accountability of countries towards a sustainable future. This has to do with countries setting domestic milestones, communicating it with the executive director and secretaries of UNEP and then yearly the UNEP evaluation of these goals and setting new goals if they actually achieve the previous goals. With this, funding can flow towards the new goals and countries who reach their target should be rewarded and countries that haven’t should be helped.
Concerning the domestic situation in India, the delegate states that the Indian government plans to set up regional milestones and communicate it with UNEP so as to work with countries that have better policies and programs and then ascertain measures that have to be taken. The government plans to tackle the problem of diesel power generators on the rooftop of houses in India by implementing measures that have the same effect of energy and power generation but that do not use the diesel power generators
Currently two draft resolutions are being presented and amended to the committee and there will hopefully be a merger of the two proposed resolutions. The Indian delegation must live up to their proposals by curtailing the extent of air pollution in India as well as the adverse effects on the health of the citizens. We look forward to a positive change in India as well as cooperative governance in the United Nations Environmental Programs in passing their resolution and implementing global policies.