We aim to incorporate environmental concerns and climate change adaptation measures into development programmes and policies.

Low Carbon Technologies to Enhance Economic Growth

In India, three out of every four rural households rely on traditional sources of energy, and more than 40 percent of India’s households remain without electricity. UNDP works with key ministries to improve access to clean energy, especially in rural and remote areas, and build links to livelihood generation and poverty reduction initiatives. We also focus on enhancing efficiency in energy intensive sectors, including select small and medium enterprises, transport, commercial and residential sectors. Government efforts to remove market barriers to enhance dissemination of renewable energy technologies and applications are also encouraged. 

Multi Stakeholder Climate Change Strategy

UNDP assists the government in preparing and implementing Climate Change Action Plans. This is demonstrated through pilots, developing capacities and encouraging involvement of a range of stakeholders, including those most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.   The effectiveness of national policies will depend largely on action across India’s states. Governments at state level have a crucial role to play in integrating climate change considerations in day-to-day governance and developing climate-friendly policies, programmes and regulations. In partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, UNDP has developed a common framework that serves as a guide to states preparing climate change action plans. By integrating these action plans with state planning and budgets, this framework which has been adopted by the Ministry, fills a critical gap between climate change and development policies. Six states have already developed action plans on climate change, a strategic step towards helping India meet national commitments and multilateral environment agreements, and for states to meet development objectives that factor in adaptation and mitigation measures.

Protecting India’s Biodiversity

A global biodiversity hotspot, India is one of the top ten species diverse countries in the world. This rich diversity has been accompanied by a strong legacy of conservation. It is a relationship that is under threat. Close to 275 million people depend on the ecosystem for day-to-day subsistence and many of India’s poorest households derive income, food, shelter and much more from forests. Typically, ‘Protected Areas’ are the cornerstones of biodiversity conservation in India. However, a significant part of India’s biological resources lies outside formal ‘Protected Areas’ in the form of community conserved areas supported by local initiatives. Recognising the crucial link between conservation, livelihoods and community development, UNDP’s assistance to community conserved areas in two states- Madhya Pradesh and Orissa- has expanded the scope of ‘Protected Areas’ and linked conservation with community development. UNDP projects have demonstrated the potential to lower healthcare costs due to strengthened traditional healthcare systems and greater use of medicinal plants. Further, ecosystem-based micro enterprises developed under UNDP projects have significantly increased incomes of poor rural communities.

UNDP also assists in capacity development to effectively implement India’s Biological Diversity Act, the guiding framework for biodiversity conservation in the country. 

At a Glance: Energy & Environment

  • 7.8% of the world’s recorded species of plants and animals are found in India
  • 2.6% of India’s GDP is spent on measures to adapt to the impact of climate change
  • 3 in 4 rural households rely on traditional sources of energy for cooking and heating
  • 400 million people have no access to electricity
  • Health costs of environmental degradation in India have been estimated at USD 7 billion a year 
  • India is a signatory to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention to Combat Desertification and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants


The Biological Diversity Act, 2002, and Rules, 2004 Ministry of Environment and Forests, 2007; 11th  Five-Year Plan 2007-2012, Volume 1- Inclusive Growth, Planning Commission, 2008; India: Addressing Energy Security and Climate Change, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Ministry of Power, October, 2007; Integrated Energy Policy, Planning Commission, 2006.