Swedish Deputy Minister on Climate visits Mumbai
Swedish Deputy Minister on Climate, Eva Svedling, visited Mumbai to further build up the warm relations with India and strengthen collaboration between the two countries. Svedling met with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Minister for Environment Ramdas Kadam. The main aim of her visit was to discuss climate policy and potential collaboration with Maharashtra on climate change and sustainable environmental solutions.
Sweden is introducing a new climate law promising zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and a 70 % cut to emissions in the domestic transport sector by 2030, effective 1 January 2018. With a strong commitment to the Paris Agreement (COP 21), Sweden is already one of the most climate change-conscious and sustainable countries in the world. India, the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has committed itself to an increased clean energy share of 40 % by 2022 and thus this visit is not only timely - but also necessary.
The Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai facilitated various meetings and organised field visits including a visit to Deonar, where the Deputy Minister met with female workers and volunteers of Stree Mukti Sanghatana (SMS), a nongovernmental organization engaged in creating awareness among local housing society residents about segregation of waste at source and producing manure from this process. This procedure of decentralised processing of waste saves a lot of energy, which is otherwise utilised in transporting waste to central dumping yards.
Further to this, Svedling also visited the biogas plant at Welingkar Institute of Management, which is installed by a Swedish company Cleantech - FOV biogas. The unit uses wet waste generated in the cafeteria to produce clean energy, which cater to a part of its energy requirement.
Svedling also got the opportunity to ride on a Volvo hybrid city bus, which operates in NaviMumbai and is environment friendly and has given fuel savings of up to 40 % in real operating conditions. She later attended a networking
dinner hosted by the Consulate General to build contacts and strengthen existing relationships between Indian government officials, NGO’s and the Swedish delegation.
Speaking about her Mumbai visit, Deputy Minister Eva Svedling said, “I have learnt and seen first-hand the potential and opportunities as well as challenges faced by India, Maharashtra and Mumbai, in relation to climate change and environmental sustainability. Climate change is a top priority for the Swedish government and includes setting intermediate goals like reducing emissions from transport by 70% by 2030, as compared to 2010, as well as long-term goals like becoming one of the first fossil fuel-free country in the world by 2040 and net zero CO2 emissions by 2045, at the latest. I exchanged views with both the Government of India as well as the Government of Maharashtra on global climate change efforts, ongoing international negotiations and the potential for bilateral cooperation. Sweden and Swedish business are ready to work with India on the important transformation taking place, when it comes to Smart and healthy Cities, Renewable Energy and more. Swedish companies attach great importance and are well advanced on sustainability and have attractive solutions for example in smart energy, urban transportation, waste management and air quality.”
She added, “Sweden and India have excellent relations, visible through the important number of exchanges on a political level in the last years. Sweden is in the front line of efficient energy use, protection of the environment and climate change. Back home in Sweden we are in the process of phasing out fossil fuels completely by 2040 in an attempt to run wholly off renewable energy. My visit to Mumbai is a bid to give a boost to existing collaboration under Memorandum of Understanding on sustainable urban development, balancing the three dimensions: The economic, social and environmental; as well as the Memorandum of Understanding Sweden-India Renewable Energy Cooperation and the MoU on environment for the well-being of present and future generations. I expect this visit will also further partnerships in areas of sustainable environment solutions and climate change- an area of mutual interest for both the countries and a very important part of the joint statement between PM Stefan Löfvén and PM Narendra Modi.”
Speaking about the collaboration between India and Sweden, Consul General of Sweden Ulrika Sundberg said, “It is inspiring to see the broad range of engagement between Sweden and Maharashtra stretching from business and infrastructure to environment, education, health and culture. As the Indian economy grows rapidly, one of the country’s most urgent needs is how to handle the expanding industries energy needs and harmful impact on the environment and combating climate change. Addressing climate change and promoting secure, affordable and sustainable supplies of energy are shared strategic priorities for India and Sweden and I truly hope this visit enhances cooperation in tackling the same for a sustainable and healthy future.”
Apart from Mumbai, the Deputy Minister also visited New Delhi, where she met high ranking government officials and participated in the India Trilateral Forum (ITF) conference. The ITF is an initiative by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and Observer Research Foundation, supported by the Swedish Foreign Ministry. The purpose of the conference is to discuss global and Indian challenges today among officials, academia, think-tanks and business representatives from India, the US and Europe (hence “Trilateral”).
Established in September 2012, jurisdiction of the Swedish Consulate General covers Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa – an area comprising of 173 million people. The consulate works closely with the Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi, Business Sweden and Swedish Chamber of Commerce as Team Sweden to help liaise and increase business contacts between Swedish and Indian companies within certain strategic sectors, such as energy and environmental technology, health care and life science and ICT.