“niiti”, a Sanskrit word means, in different contexts, policy, ethics, tenets. To us, who belong here, it is our raison d’etre, our touchstone. So we constantly turn to our ethics and tenets when we re-examine the basis of what we do and how we do it over and over again. This is our space to engage with our core, with you, our readers and companions on the path towards an equitable society in the deepest meaning of the word. Over the past years, there are several social issues and organisations that we have engaged with and been enriched with both experience and knowledge along the way. We believe that in creating a conversation platform for those engaged in the field, including some of our clients, partners, all of you out there who have reached this site wanting to be the change and others who have expertise to comment and critique, we can actually crowd-source actions and solutions for some of our most pressing social issues.

Some of these stories feature organisations and people who have been the change; others highlight innovative approaches to long-entrenched social issues; yet others point to ways in which change can be facilitated, simply. If you are inspired by them as well and motivated to replicate their work, or want to share inputs on other bright examples like these, do write to us at

This is your platform. Feel free to contribute, critique, and most importantly, converse.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sea change?

There was a week in the beginning of January when Delhi was colder than London!! And in Europe, train services and airport operations came to a grinding halt because of a prolonged freezing weather. Climate change? Perhaps.
What comes as a sea of change is in the attitude of many emerging economies towards this issue, the blow-hot blow-cold opinions on Kyoto protocol notwithstanding. There is a very interesting story in a recent edition of The Economist on the seriousness with which the world's largest economy presently views this topic.
The fact that the world order is perhaps shifting from being acutely unipolar has never been more evident that at Cancun, where largely due to India’s efforts, references to “equity” and “equitable access to sustainable development” were included in the “Shared Vision for Long-term Cooperative Action” to mitigate climate change. Also, a Cancun Adaptation Framework was agreed upon. It exhorts developing countries to prepare and implement national adaptation plans and at the same time, calls upon developed countries to provide finance, technology and capacity building support for the same. The objective of the Cancun Adaptation Framework is to enhance action on adaptation, including through international cooperation and coherent consideration of matters relating to adaptation under the Convention. Ultimately enhanced action on adaptation seeks to reduce vulnerability and build resilience in developing country.
The best way any country can build resilience and reduce its carbon imprint is to find alternate energy options that are scalable that would offset the increasing energy consumption.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol draw a clear distinction between the respective obligations of developed and developing countries. Since developed countries are primarily responsible for causing climate change, the protocol lays down binding emission reduction commitments for each developed country party. Quite appropriately, developing countries are not required to accept such commitments. Their mitigation actions are of a purely voluntary nature (and rightly so) and they are not accountable to any international authority, except in regard to projects that receive financial support from such an authority.
But we have an opportunity to make a big difference through small changes. Question is how fast will these changes happen?

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