Freedom of information, climate will be key issues for the future of democracies.

“The planet has enough for everyone’s need and not for everyone’s greed”, quoting Mahatma Gandhi, India’s Ambassador to Rome, H.E. Dr. Neena Malhotra, concluded her address at a conference organized by the Foundation Luigi Einaudi in Rome on the “Knowing for deliberating: Environment and Geopolitics”.

Ambassador Dr. Malhotra described in detail the Indian Government’s strategy to combat climate change. India today represents 17.8% of the global population however accounts for around 5% of global emissions, making it among the least polluting nations per capita. India faces huge developmental changes and in order to make the transition to a carbon zero economy, requires climate financing as well as technology from the developed world. Rich countries must make space for poor populous countries, especially when they represent one-fifth of humanity, Ambassador Malhotra said.

India is culturally attuned to living harmoniously with nature and its non-fossil energy capacity has increased by 25% in the past seven years and forms 40% of its energy mix. Not only has India stepped up its efforts at the international level by launching International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure it has inculcated LIFE or a lifestyle for environment, promoting mindful and deliberate utilization rather than mindless and destructive consumption. Reducing food waste, implementing surplus sharing and inculcating sustainable agricultural practices while summarily discouraging the arbitrary use of vehicles are some steps, when implemented by billions of people, will help in reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

Amb. Malhotra stated that India expects developed countries to make at least $1trillion available for climate financing as well as transfer of clean energy technology. It is not about aid, but about fixing what has been broken on the longer run. She underlined Italy’s cooperation and partnership with India at the highest levels in this arduous venture, when India leads the developing world. At the recently concluded G20 heads of state meeting in October, specially during the bilateral meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi climate was a topic both leaders agreed on and gave priority for mutual cooperation.

The Ambassador and Representative of Taiwan in Italy Andrea Sing-Ying Lee, began his speech by talking about how Taiwan, thanks to transparency, education of the people and strict controls, has managed to contain Covid infections and to emerge victorious from the challenge to which the whole world has been subjected due to the pandemic. He also added that in these emergency circumstances, democracies will always be better than authoritarian regimes. Although Taiwan has always been willing to help other countries, China continues to pose the greatest threat to Taiwan itself and to other democratic countries. China wants to impose its hegemony and create pressure. In the past two years, China has also intensified its hostile policy on Taiwan. In addition, China has imposed a ban on imports from Taiwan and restricted the use of the internet and social media. The international community is increasingly concerned about the Chinese threat, and alliances are being formed to show that democracies support each other. The Ambassador also thanked Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio who were giving the issue great attention and have been lobbying for the renewal of the dialogue between China and Taiwan. Ambassador Lee concluded by saying that Taiwan will strive to keep the peace as well as its commitment for freedom and its commitment to a sustainable future.

Thibault Muzergues, Program Director Europe of the International Republican Institute-IRI, started his deliberation with a declaration that the world was now at an information war. He underlined that the west was in crisis and unless the west united and woke up, it would loose this information war. Muzergues discussed the various challenges India and Taiwan face directly from China. The imposition of the narrative by Russia and China who coordinate to exploit the division between the west, the democracies and aim to use the west’s decadence and colonial past to justify their autocratic rule and aggression in order to win an economic, information and eventually political war.

Muzergues, brining up the use of deception as old as war, from the Greeks using the Trojan horse-believes that the west and democracies have made several mistakes in dealing with autocracies such as China and Russia and needs to fight back, if no risks a rise in aggressions from autocracies. China is on the edge of a huge financial crisis, which will have long term repercussions in the Indo-Pacific. He concluded quoting the famous Lation adage, Se via pacem Parabellum (“if you wish for peace, prepare for war”).

Concluding, Ambassador Giulio Maria Terzi di Sant’Agata former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy and President of the Global Committee for the Rule of Law – Marco Pannella, began his speech with a question: “What is the right to know?”. The right to know is a prerequisite for stability, for the constitutional order, for respect for the will of the people, for the management of the crisis and conflicts that may arise, he said. The right to know is a fundamental requirement for international security and the attempt to deny this right leads to enormous disasters. China prohibits this right and has the fundamental purpose of interfering in Western democracies to the point of undermining them. It is an influence that develops in political parties, in the media, in universities and in the scientific body through various techniques such as: disinformation, sabotage, defamation, provocation and destabilization of governments.

The debate on “Knowing to deliberate: Environment and Geopolitics”, was organized by the Foundation Luigi Einaudi, a leading Italian think tank under the leadership of President Giuseppe Benedetto. The first part of the conference on the importance of the freedom of information and expression had speakers who included Giuseppe Benedetto (President of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi for Political and Economic studies), Matteo Angioli (Secretary General of the Global Committee for the Rule of Law – Marco Pannella ), Senator Roberto Rampi (Senator of the Republic of Italy, Partito Democratico), noted jurist Paolo Ezechia Reale (Siracusa International Institute for International Justice and Human Rights).