After recording GDP growth of around 7-8 percent for several years, India has started to witness an economic slowdown. The country is also facing acute environmental challenges, including climate variability, poor air quality, over-exploitation of groundwater, water scarcity, increasing inland and coast salinity, land degradation, and increased intensity of climate extreme events. These have adversely affected economic performance and resulted in increased poverty, unemployment and poor health. 

India has made significant efforts to tackle this through several policies and programmes, including, the National Policy on Biofuels, the National Clean Environment Fund, the Smart Cities Mission and concerted efforts to achieve NDCs and SDGs. It has also embraced integrated economy-wide approaches, including circular economy and sustainable consumption and production. 

 India joined PAGE in 2018 to catalyse action and enhance cooperation on existing initiatives on national and sub-national levels. The government’s focus on increasing resource efficiency through the National Resource Efficiency Programme - currently under finalisation - provides a specific entry point for PAGE support. 

Support areas being explored include:

  1. Enhancing national initiatives on resource efficiency;
  2. Providing support for the implementation of India’s resource efficiency roadmap;
  3. Supporting national priorities pertaining to sustainable public procurement and eco-labelling;
  4. Supporting the modernization of micro-small- and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in the manufacturing sectors; and
  5. Building synergies with other green economy-aligned initiatives.

This has contributed to several Sustainable Development Goals, including:

LOOKING FORWARD

With India hard-hit by COVID-19 and associated extended lockdown in 2020, PAGE India has been active in promoting green economic recovery. PAGE co-hosted a webinar on 'Building Back Better’ which brought together eminent speakers to discuss the ways in which the Economic Package released by the Government of India can be made greener and more inclusive. 

Additionally, based on India's COVID-19 recovery package, a comprehensive document on analysis of the package on sustainability and green parameters and PAGE's entry point in different recovery measures has been developed, paving the way for future PAGE work.

Learn more about PAGE work in India in our 2020 Annual Report

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KEY THEMATIC & SECTORAL AREAS

  • Resource efficiency 
  • Sustainable railways 
  • Sustainable public procurement 
  • Green entrepreneurship 

CAPACITY BUILDING

  • Mainstreaming of environmental sustainability into railway training procedures 
  • Raising awareness of green economy 

INDIA & PAGE BY NUMBERS

Assessments: 1 

Consultations & workshops: 5

National institutions & ministries partnering: 2

Initiatives providing co-financing: 1

Learn more

National Policymaking

National Policymaking

Establishing the foundation for PAGE support

PAGE in India started with a green economy stocktaking study, done jointly with TERI and MoEFCC, which established a baseline and identified priority areas for PAGE support. The study was complemented by comprehensive stakeholder consultations held in 2019 at national and regional levels (including Southern, Western, Northern, and Eastern states). Based on the findings from the stocktaking, shared at the first meeting of the National Steering Committee in November 2020, a PAGE engagement plan was developed to prioritise areas for PAGE engagement with regards to multisectoral, sectoral and thematic, and capacity-building activities. PAGE support focuses on SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and synergies with SDG 8 (Employment and Economic Growth), with key areas moving forward captured below:

  • Development of a framework and institutional structure for eco-labelling;
  • Appraisal of key macro drivers for growth of the economy and employment creation;
  • Operationalize and initiate IGE transformative roadmaps for high impact industrial sectors;
  • Development of sustainable purchasing criteria for selected product categories;
  • Scoping exercise and feasibility study to inform the selection of a possible host entity for Centre of Excellence on SDG 12;
  • Development and rollout of course modules and strengthening of training capacity of national civil service institutions in the domain of SDGs and IGE; and
  • Assessment of select SDGs for mainstreaming and integrating IGE principles at the national and state levels.

National ownership to drive IGE

A National Steering Committee was established in January 2020 by the MoEFCC to direct and supervise PAGE work in line with national priorities and international commitments. Comprised of membership from key ministries and departments, UN PAGE agencies, and research and development organizations, the Steering Committee will among other responsibilities:

  • Serve as an inter-departmental and inter-agency mechanism for overall planning, execution, monitoring, supervision and guidance of PAGE activities;
  • Provide consultative inputs and guidance for PAGE engagement relating to IGE transition, considering the needs and priorities of national policies and programmes;
  • Provide guidance on a roadmap for long-term sustainability of IGE interventions beyond PAGE by building on government priorities; and
  • Serve as a platform for the exchange of ideas and forging partnerships and synergies.

Sectoral and thematic reform

Sectoral and thematic reform

Sustainable railways

Indian Railways employ more than 1.27 million people and have a huge carbon footprint in terms of energy and material consumption, fossil fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emission, waste generation and water consumption. PAGE in 2019 supported the formation of a high-level “Task Force on Environmental Sustainability” for the Indian Railways, one of the largest railway networks in the world. In 2020, PAGE, via UNEP, continued its work to support the National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) with capacity development (see Strengthening Capacity, below).

Green Manufacturing

Building on the stocktaking study, in 2020, PAGE, led by UNIDO, commenced a deep dive study with a particular focus on India’s manufacturing sector. This study will include an appraisal of key macro drivers for economic growth and employment creation and map high impact opportunities, to initiate the transition towards inclusive green growth.

Biodiversity financing

Supported by PAGE, a UNDP-led project was initiated in 2019 relating to the development of a methodology for sharing benefits/disbursing funds accrued through the access and benefits sharing (ABS) mechanism by the National Biodiversity Authority and State Biodiversity Boards. The project aims to enable the ABS mechanism to become more effective in achieving its objective of conservation and green economic development involving a range of stakeholders, including local communities.

Sustainable Public Procurement

Building up Sustainable Public Procurement in India, Green Room Air Conditioners (RACs) were launched on World Environment Day 2021 on the Government-e-Marketplace (GeM), an online procurement portal of the Government of India for commonly used goods and services. This was supported by a preliminary market assessment report conducted by PAGE that recommends SPP criteria for the procurement of Writing and Printing Paper and RACs, the two prioritized product categories. Eventually, the study will feed into a longer-term action plan that will be implemented by the Government. This activity contributes towards SDG 9, targets 9.3 and 9.4, by upgrading infrastructure to make it sustainable and SDG 12, target 12.7, by promoting sustainable procurement practices. 

Strengthening capacity

Strengthening capacity

Sustainable railways training

In 2020, PAGE developed comprehensive training modules and organized a pilot training programme from 10 to 17 July on environmental sustainability for Indian Railways officials, attended by 60 participants. The programme strengthened the capacities in Indian Railways in the area of environmental sustainability across the ranks of decision makers and implementers and also supported the mainstreaming of environmental sustainability into NAIR training procedures by training the faculty staff. This initial pilot training will be built upon for the delivery of similar capacity-building activities by PAGE targeting different national institutions. This supports SDG 4, target 4.7 by ensuring all learners acquire the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development.

Global and south-south collaboration

In March 2019, the MoEFCC hosted a side event at the UNEA-4 called “Global ‘Partnerships: Keys to Unlocking Resource Efficiency and Inclusive Green Economies”, celebrating partnerships as a fundamental platform to break the logic of business as usual and move towards IGE. Members of the India delegation also attended the Global Green Academy held in October 2019 in Turin. Following the academy, representatives from India held discussions with representatives from the Women Environmental Programme (WEP) in Burkina Faso regarding the availability of solar pumps for women workers and established contact with the India-based Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). Additionally, PAGE led the half-day session on Inclusive Green Economy at Green Economy Coalition’s 2020 annual global event focused on supporting local green enterprises to drive the transition to green economies.

COUNTRY FOCAL POINTS

Coordinating Agency Focal PointDivya Datt (UNEP)
PAGE Project CoordinatorManisha Choudhary (UNEP)
Government Focal PointsBhawna Singh, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
Kushal Vashist, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change