Development Cooperation Handbook/Interviews/R.K.Pachauri

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Rajendra Kumar Pachauri
Director general of TERI - The Energy and Resources Institute
New Delhi, India, February 2011


Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri (born August 20, 1940) is the director general of TERI, a research and policy organization in India, the chancellor of TERI University and serves as the chair for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 2002. During his tenure the IPCC received the Nobel Peace Prize, which was shared with Al Gore, in 2007. Dr. Pachauri represented the organization and received the Nobel Price on its behalf.

He has also been the chairman of the governing council of the National Agro Foundation (NAF), as well as the chairman of the board of Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society and is now serving as the head of Yale's Climate and Energy Institute (YCEI).

Do developed and developing nations agree on the road map for global development?[edit]

Out-of-Fashion Development Assistance

Development is not confined only to provision of water, fuels, etc in a very disconnected manner. Development requires integration. This is where we need to make a difference. (Takes the example of the environment and says that the poor are dependent and interlinked with nature, so protecting the environment is an essential part to the removal of poverty.) When the MDGs were formulated we expected that there will be large scale development assistance which will take place, but that did not happen. Development assistance appears to have gone out of fashion. But what we can do through the MDGs is that the national governments are sensitized about poverty alleviation, but in an integrated approach and that there must be coordination among the various departments. Development is not confined only to provision of water, fuels, etc in a very disconnected manner. Development requires integration. This is where we need to make a difference. (Takes the example of the environment and says that the poor are dependent and interlinked with nature, so protecting the environment is an essential part to the removal of poverty.) We need a complete change in approach. What you really have to do is to create knowledge at every level of policy making and implementation, right down to the grass-root level, whereby people understand that you cannot function in cellos. Development can only be ensured provided that there is integration of all the actions. The sum of the parts (separate actions, cellos) is much lower than the sum of doing all these things together (integrated action) Even when it comes to the MDGs, we have these identified goals but they actually overlap; you cannot deal with them separately. This is where International and National governments have failed in bringing about proper integration across all the MDGs. So if we are serious about meeting the Goals it is essential for us to bring about a complete re-orientation of the way these goals are being implemented. When the MDGs were formulated we expected that there will be large scale development assistance which will take place, but that did not happen. Development assistance appears to have gone out of fashion. But what we can do through the MDGs is that the national governments are sensitized about poverty alleviation, but in an integrated approach and that there must be coordination among the various departments.

Why does development assistance appear not to be in fashion any longer? There is a certain level of selfishness. People believe that they have to consume more and more, therefore their income is meant only for consumption. Some people are also very insular, they feel they are living on an island. They don’t realize that if something goes wrong in one part of the world it affects everyone one else. We are living on a world where we are all resident of spaceship earth. The desire to see that we must help our brothers, other countries, even on the part of countries which have benefited from colonialism, has vanished. There is also a lack of leadership. There are very few leaders who say we have to help the countries which are poor, the communities which are poor. Today the distinction between rich and poor and becoming much larger and to my mind that is a dangerous situation. When I had the privilege of accepting the Nobel Peace Price on behalf of the IPCC I used the phrase “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, which is Sanskrit for saying, this universe is one family. I think that feeling has vanished.
see also on Wikipedia ⇒ 600X WIKIPEDIA LOGO.svg Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam


Media and the international communication climate[edit]

Role of Media to Spread Knowledge of the Unsustainable Current Path

Lack of capacity in the media and political leaders to communicate to the public the importance of long-term effects in policy implementations in a short-term electorate period. The media has an essential role to spread knowledge on what will happen if we pursue the “current path”, and the “current-path” is not sustainable. The current path is leading to serious problems, like climate change, and this is not going to affect only the next generation, but also this generation. There is also a role for the educational system, where children are taught about these things right from their childhood. If a child understands that the burning of fossil fuels is going to affect the climate of the earth, then the child will be brought up with values that he can practice, and also teach the parents. In democratic societies the only way you bring about change if people want change. Take the case of Egypt; we’ve had a change in government because people realized that they are not going to continue with the current system. Why can’t we do the same when it comes to development and growth? If we realize that growth and development are going to be harmful for us, then we have to change things. Why don’t we do that? I think the only reason is because people are not informed; people do not have the education to understand what we are doing? There is also a role for the educational system, where children are taught about these things right from their childhood. If a child understands that the burning of fossil fuels is going to affect the climate of the earth, then the child will be brought up with values that he can practice, and also teach the parents. In democratic societies the only way you bring about change if people want change. Take the case of Egypt; we’ve had a change in government because people realized that they are not going to continue with the current system. Why can’t we do the same when it comes to development and growth? If we realize that growth and development are going to be harmful for us, then we have to change things. Why don’t we do that? I think the only reason is because people are not informed; people do not have the education to understand what we are doing?

Media Communication on the MDGs, the Role of the Youth and CSR

What do you think media professionals can do in order to support the activities aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals? The media has an essential role. It has to spread knowledge on what will happen if we pursue the “current path”, and the “current-path” is not sustainable. The current path is leading to serious problems, like climate change, and this is not going to affect only the next generation, but also this generation. (Example of environmental events today which are harmful) and if all this is happening then we have to change the path on which we are developing, or what we call development. This is where the media has a very important role to play in this. If we are concerned about the next generation then we must be concerned about bringing about change. n democratic societies the only way you bring about change if people want change. Take the case of Egypt; we’ve had a change in government because people realized that they are not going to continue with the current system. Why can’t we do the same when it comes to development and growth? If we realize that growth and development are going to be harmful for us, then we have to change things. Why don’t we do that? I think the only reason is because people are not informed; people do not have the education to understand what we are doing.

We must bring out the importance of this integration of action and the media must bring out this. People believe that we have come up with the MGDs, money is being spent on it… there will be no poverty in the world, everything is fine. No. There is a big gap between money being spent, good intention being put in place and satisfactory results being achieved and that gap has to be closed, through insights, through information and through understanding what realities of meeting these MDGs really is.

Your suggestions for the people in the media on how to communicate activities and achievements of the MDGs We must bring out the importance of this integration of action and the media must bring out this. People believe that we have come up with the MGDs, money is being spent on it… there will be no poverty in the world, everything is fine. No. There is a big gap between money being spent, good intention being put in place and satisfactory results being achieved and that gap has to be closed, through insights, through information and through understanding what realities of meeting these MDGs really is.

We need to look for a different kind of knowledge, which is not just technical but also involves the human element. It is social challenge and I think we have to communicate the scientific and technical problems in term of their social challenge; and that I think is the role of the media.



Corporate are made for profit making. Is Corporate Social Responsibility just an activity made for a better image or is there an other logical reasoning behind it? There is a very good economic reason for working on longer time horizons. If you work only for short term profits you may be clearly making wrong choices. If you make a house which is not energy efficient and in 40-50 years the price of energy goes very high, then you will incur high expenses. But if you invest a little more today for a more energy efficient house, then you will be benefiting in the future. Companies have to lift their vision and not focus only on short term profits. We have seen what happened with the economic downturn. That was driven only by short term profits. If they had long-term vision then we would not have had the problem. And it used to be so in the past but unfortunately in recent years the pressure from the stock market and only look at the profits you make in the next quarter has had a major impact on making decision making only short term, and that is harmful.

How can the youth approach studies and work for and inclusive development? Is joining the NGO the only way? Development is not just government, is not just civil society… it involves also the corporate sector. If a young person who is socially conscious is getting an MBA program, then in the course of studying for that MBA program then that person must also understand how he can be responsible towards society in business decision making. In each of our profession there is a great deal we can do, we don’t necessarily have to join an NGO to do good to society, we can do it in whatever profession we are in. Today companies are becoming much more sensitive towards these issues.