The Prime Minister has been selected in the leadership category for his pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance and for his unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022. The annual prize is awarded to outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have had a positive impact on the environment.
Replying to the felicitations, Mr. Modi said the award is the honour to 125 core Indians who are committed to environment protection. He said, it is the honour to tribals, fishermen and framers of India. He emphasized that caring for the environment is very much a part of Indian culture from ancient times. Stating that climate and calamity are directly related to culture, he said if climate is not the focus of culture, calamity cannot be prevented. The Prime Minister also said the policy of Sabka Saath also includes the Nature in it. He said the Indian culture has always considered Nature to be alive and the environment as a living entity functioning in a balanced ecosystem.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, Prime Minister Modi is a leader who realizes the issue of climate change and understands the benefits of climate action. Mr. Modi knows the problems and also works to solve them. He said, a green economy is a good economy and the technology is on the side of those who believe in a green economy.
He said the Prime Minister recognises that climate change poses a direct existential threat to the world and also knows what needs to do to avoid a catastrophe. The UN Secretary-General said, other leaders also recognise and understand, but the difference is that Mr. Modi not only recognizes but acts.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, Mr. Modi always believed that the country can conserve the environment while moving on the path of development. She said the award is a fitting recognition of his leadership towards making the world a cleaner place. He was firm that the agreement in Paris has to stay and the world must come together.
Speaking on the ocassion, Environment Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan lauded Prime Minister’s vision for the welfare of the poor and his continued efforts for climate change in the country. He said, the schemes like Ujjwala Yojna have helped in bringing a significant change in the plight of rural women. Dr Vardhan said, the government is pacing towards renewable energy to fulfill Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a clean and green India. He said, millions of poor now have a glimpse of hope of transformation.