n his opening remarks at the meeting ofthe Council on Climate Change, the PrimeMinister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh,emphasised the importance of watersecurity and habitat sustainability in climate changeadaptation and mitigation. I am happy that we are today considering the National Water Mission and the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat. Both these Missions areextremely critical to addressing the issues of mitigationand adaptation to climate change. As far as the Water Mission is concerned, it goeswithout saying that water would be a very major area of stress in our country in the decades to come. Weneed to create a generation conscious of the need touse this life-supporting resource in the mostsustainable manner. Water has multiple uses and, therefore, itsmanagement is often fragmented. I am happy to seethat the Mission document is focusing on creating anintegrated perspective.The first step in this direction is a comprehensive waterdata base in the public domain and assessment of theimpact of climate change on our water resource. Weneed to promote citizen and state action for waterconservation, augmentation and preservation. We needto focus attention on vulnerable areas, especially theareas where ground water is over exploited. We alsoneed to promote water use efficiency, all of which callfor basin-level integrated water resource management. As far as the Mission on Sustainable Habitat isconcerned, there are clear areas of action that we need to focus on. The most important is the NEW INITIATIVES TO FOSTER HABITAT ANDWATER SUSTAINABILITY IN INDIA102G-20 MEMBERSDR MANMOHAN SINGH, PRIME MINISTER, INDIAIPhoto: UN
Above: The challenge ofmaking habitatssustainableLeft:Dr Manmohan Singhcreation of "green standards" relating to makinghabitats sustainable and having the Municipal Lawamended to make them enforceable. The second major area would be the promotion ofpublic transport in our major cities for which we madea beginning through the stimulus package. We need toreorient city development plans to make themfacilitative of sustainable habitats. We need to focus onwaste recycling and new technologies that createenergy from waste. There will also be a set of complementary actions inthe areas of capacity building, including changes inthe curriculum to create green engineeringprofessionals. I think that some of the institutionalarrangements proposed to be set up at the Central,State and District levels require some discussion.There is inadequate or no political representation inthese bodies. For the Mission to succeed at the ground level, strong political support is required and peoples'representative should be co-opted into the process of planning, implementing and monitoring the Mission activities. It is a time that we address these tasks with the urgency they deserve and I amsure that through the deliberations of this Council wecan now finalise the two Missions and begin toimplement them. nThis is an edited version of a speech Prime MinisterSingh delivered on 28 May 2010 in New Delhi at themeeting of the Council on Climate Change.