The EU has a long-standing bilateral cooperation with India. At the 5th EU-India Summit in The Hague, EU-India relations were upgraded to a “Strategic Partnership“. The 6th EU-India Summit, in 2005, endorsed the wide-ranging Joint Action Plan giving substance to the Strategic Partnership. The Joint Action Plan covers all aspects of EU-India relations, for which it proposes practical steps to be achieved.
This Action Plan, establishes an EU-India Initiative on Clean Development and Climate Change which focuses on cooperation in the area of clean technology and the CDM as well as on adaptation to climate change and the integration of adaptation concerns into sustainable development strategies. At the 2008 EU-India Summit held in Marseille, the Leaders of the European Union and the Government of India, stressed that climate change is one of the great challenges of our time and decided that clean and sustainable development should be a joint priority area of EU-India cooperation. To this aim, they agreed on a Joint Work Programme for EU-India Cooperation on Energy, Clean Development and Climate Change.
Recognising each other’s efforts to tackle climate change, as demonstrated by India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change and the EU’s emissions reduction targets of at least 20% by 2020 (and 30% in the event of a satisfactory global agreement), India and the EU agreed to work towards long term cooperative action including a long term global goal. The EU and India also reaffirmed their commitment to promoting energy security and energy efficiency as a key to stable and sustainable development.
Projects such as FOWIND- Facilitating Off-shore Wind Development in India, SCOPE BIG – Scalable CSP Optimized Power Plant Engineered with Biomass Integrated Gasification, Clean Energy Cooperation with India (CECI) and Clean development and Sustainable Cities (CDSC) to mainstream low-carbon strategies into urban development are financed, in this context, by the EU in India. On 21 February 2014, the EIB and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) signed a EUR 200 Million loan agreement for renewable energy and energy efficiency in India.
In recent years the Indian Government has shown growing awareness of the serious impact of climate change on India. Positive steps have included adoption of a National Action Plan and establishment of a National Council on Climate Change, reporting directly to the Prime Minister of India.
In 2008, the European Commission commissioned a study to determine Indian capacity to monitor atmospheric pollution from large industrial and power generation sources, develop an overview of potential win-win benefits of climate change and air quality/health policies, and design a pilot project to strengthen monitoring and reporting capacity for atmospheric emissions from those sectors inIndia.
The report concluded that EC sponsored activities in climate change should be mainstreamed into development projects and programmes. The main thrust should be implemented as long-term working relations on the ground, targeting tangible results (i.e. more than studies and traditional capacity building). An efficient means may be to partner with those EU Member States, which have profound, long-lasting and pertinent programme activities in India.
The European Commission is now seeking opportunities to implement one of the pilot projects recommended by the report.