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ADB: 10th Meeting of Advisory Group on Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Modern Diplomacy (Online), 12 February 2019

The 10th meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) President’s Advisory Group on Climate Change and Sustainable Development was held today at ADB headquarters.

The Advisory Group’s discussions focused on the results and implications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C for developing member countries (DMCs) and ADB’s work in the Asia and Pacific region. The group also considered approaches for effectively tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability. The Advisory Group has been meeting since 2009.

The ADB President’s Advisory Group is headed by IPCC Chair Prof. Hoesung Lee and composed of the following high-level international experts: Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs (Columbia University), Prof. Leena Srivastava (TERI School of Advanced Studies in India), Mr. Andrew Steer (CEO, World Resources Institute), Prof. Dadi Zhou (National Development and Reform Commission in the People’s Republic of China), Prof. Laurence Tubiana (CEO, European Climate Foundation), Prof. Yukari Takamura (University of Tokyo), and Dame Meg Taylor (Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum). Mr. Lee, Mr. Zhou, and Ms. Takamura came to ADB headquarters for the meeting, while other members participated via video conference.

As part of ADB’s new long-term Strategy 2030, the bank has committed to ensuring that 75% of its operations support climate change mitigation and adaptation by 2030, while providing cumulative climate financing of $80 billion from ADB’s own sources between 2019 and 2030.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Nakao emphasized that the bank will scale up support for climate change mitigation by prioritizing investments for low greenhouse gas emission (GHG) energy, implementing sustainable transport and urban transportation strategies, and encouraging DMCs to shift to a low GHG emission development path. On adaptation, ADB will take a comprehensive approach to promote physical, financial, social and institutional, and eco-based resilience.

Mr. Lee explained the main findings of the IPCC report and challenges to achieving pathways consistent with limiting the increase in global warming to 1.5°C. Ms. Takamura mentioned that one encouraging sign in climate actions is the increase in voluntary involvement of nongovernment actors, such as business associations and local communities. Mr. Zhou suggested that countries should regard clear climate targets as important as gross domestic product growth. Finally, Ms. Srivastava, Mr. Steer, and Ms. Tubiana emphasized ADB’s role among multilateral development banks, increased consumer awareness, and clear messages to the public regarding realistic pathways to limit global warming.

In 2018, ADB loan and grant commitments for climate change mitigation and adaptation totaled $4.5 billion for 103 projects. The projects included green, climate-resilient, and low-carbon urban development in Mongolia; climate-resilient port infrastructure in Nauru; and supporting timely and accurate forecasting of extreme weather events in Tajikistan.

In addition, ADB is providing technical assistance in the region, including helping Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines enhance their capacity for designing and implementing investment projects that strengthen resilience of the urban poor. ADB has also been hosting regional knowledge events such as the 6th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation Forum in October 2018, which was co-organized with the governments of the Philippines and Palau. The Office of the General Counsel has hosted events on climate and environmental law by inviting judges and other law experts.
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Saurabh Chandra, Leena Srivastava join Vedanta advisory board
Business Standard (Online), 7 January 2019

Vedanta Ltd Monday announced strengthening of its advisory board with appointment of new advisors Saurabh Chandra and Leena Srivastava.

Chandra was the former secretary for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas from March 2014 to April 2015 and Srivastava is the vice-chancellor of TERI SAS.

"Vedanta Ltd has appointed new advisors for strategic counsel and guidance to help the company make even more significant contribution to India's natural resources sector and boost overall economic growth," the mining company said in a statement.

The appointment of Chandra and Srivastava will bring experience to Vedanta's advisory board, and help reinforce the company's leadership position in the global resources sector, it said.

"I am delighted to welcome Saurabh Chandra and Leena Srivastava to our advisory board, who are experts in their respective domains. As Vedanta enters a new phase of growth and expansion, I am confident that the group will immensely benefit from their deep knowledge, strategic counsel and rich experience," Vedanta Ltd Chairman Navin Agarwal said.<

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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Test all Punjab hand pumps for arsenic: Study
The Tribune, 2 January 2019

High contamination confined to flood plains of Ravi covering Tarn Taran, Amritsar and Gurdaspur

A blanket testing of hand pumps/tube wells, especially private ones, should be the first step in dealing with public health issues due to arsenic exposure in Punjab, a recent study on the Indus Basin region, covering Indian as well as Pakistani areas, has said.

Besides, the Punjab Government needs to concentrate more on northern parts which have “serious” levels of arsenic, along with traces of fluoride and nitrate, in groundwater, said Dr Chander Kumar Singh from the Department of Energy and Environment at the TERI School of Advanced Studies.

The presence of arsenic in groundwater is mostly “natural, from geogenic sources” and prevalent in Indus as well as the Bengal basin. In fact, it extends to most South Asian countries and several studies have been conducted on problem in the past three decades, including mitigation and reducing exposure. According to Dr Chander, this study, covering 13,000 water sources on the Indian side, is the “first large-scale study of this nature”. Twenty-five researchers, including 15 from India, participated in the research— conducted by Delhi-based TERI in collaboration with Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, and Columbia University of New York— on 30,000 hand pumps/ tube wells on both sides of the border.

“The issue needs immediate attention whether by the way of piped water or community RO systems. The question is whether the mitigation is targeted towards affected areas because we found that the majority of RO systems are installed in southern parts whereas high arsenic levels were found to be confined to flood plains of the Ravi river covering Tarn Taran, Amristsar and Gurdaspur districts,” Dr Chander, who is the lead researcher of the study, said. “What the government needs to do is to focus on these areas, test all hand pumps/ tube wells and not just those installed by it. Normally, the government only focuses on its facilities and private wells are not tested. But we see a ray of hope in testing each and every well, including private ones. It costs just Rs 20 per test,” he said.

The study found that 87 per cent of households that had hand pumps high in arsenic also had access to private hand pump with cleaner water within 100 m. Normally, in a village of 90 to 100 households (on an average), there would be as many tube wells/hand pumps, but the government would be testing only eight to 10 installed by it.

“Mitigation is only possible if you know the exact level and location of the problem. A similar study in the arsenic-affected region of Bihar found that approximately one-third of the population with high arsenic switched to safe wells in the vicinity as a result of blanket testing,” he said.

“Deep wells in Punjab do not look promising in terms of solution as some of these have also been found to have high arsenic levels. We foresee the centralised systems of treated water supply/centralised RO systems as a probable long-term solution, but this should be based on the blanket testing of wells along with proper maintenance.”

Indo-Pak Research

30,000 hand pumps/wells under study in India, Pakistan

13,000 water sources on the Indian side under study

25 researchers, including 15 from India, conducted the study

Health concerns

High arsenic levels in water are leading to slow poisoning, potentially causing skin lesions, damage to nervous system, stomach ailments, diabetes, renal toxicity, cardiovascular diseases and cancer
Because of high fluoride content in water, kids are facing dental and skeletal fluorosis, while high nitrate levels are causing gastric cancer, goitre and birth malformations
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