India calls for reformed multilateralism in post-COVID-19 world


Stating that the path to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity is through multilateralism, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said called for a ‘reformed multilateralism’ in a post-COVID-19 world, which reflects the realities of the contemporary world.

Modi  said this while delivering a keynote address virtually at this year’s High-Level Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) session on Friday, July 17, at the United Nations in New York.

“As children of planet Earth, we must join hands to address our common challenges and achieve our common goals.   However, multilateralism needs to represent  the reality of the contemporary  world. Only reformed multilateralism   with a reformed United Nations at its center can meet the aspirations of humanity. Today, while celebrating 75 years  of the  United Nations,   let us pledge  to reform the global multilateral  system.  The United Nations   was originally born from the furies of the Second World War.  Today,   the fury  of the pandemic  provides the context   for its rebirth and reform. Let us not lose this chance,” he said.      

The theme of the High-Level Segment of the ECOSOC this year is “Multilateralism after COVID19: What kind of UN do we need at the 75th anniversary”.

In his address, Modi recalled India’s long association with the ECOSOC and the UN’s developmental work, including for the Sustainable Development Goals. He noted that India’s developmental motto of ‘’Sabka Saath,  Sabka Vikaas,  Sabka Vishwas’  – meaning   ‘Together,  for everyone’s growth,   with everyone’s trust’ resonates  with the core SDG principle of  leaving no one behind.   “Be it access to  nutrition ,   health   education,    electricity    or housing  – we are making great progress  through our inclusive programmes,” he said.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that India’s success in improving the socio-economic indicators of its vast population has a significant impact on global SDG targets. He spoke about India’s commitment to also support other developing countries in meeting their SDG targets.

He also mentioned about India’s ongoing development efforts, including for improving access to sanitation through the “Swacch Bharat Abhiyan”, empowering women, ensuring financial inclusion, and expanding availability of housing and healthcare through flagship schemes such as the “Housing for All” programme and the “Ayushman Bharat” scheme.

The Prime Minister also highlighted India’s focus on environmental sustainability and bio-diversity conservation, and recalled India’s leading role in the establishment of the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. Speaking about India’s role in its region as a first responder, Prime Minister recalled the support provided by the Indian government and Indian pharma companies for ensuring medicine supplies to different countries, and for coordinating a joint response strategy among SAARC countries.

Stating that India has actively supported the UN’s development work and ECOSOC, Modi said the country also contributed to shaping the ECOSOC  agenda,   including the Sustainable  Development  Goals. “Today, through our domestic efforts, we are again playing a salient role in achieving Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. We are also supporting other developing countries in meeting their Sustainable Development Goals,” the Prime Minister said.      

 He also mentioned that India never forgot the responsibility towards the planet even when marching ahead.  “Over the past few years, we have reduced 38 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.   This was achieved   by electrifying our villages,   providing clean cooking fuel    to 80 million poor households, and introduction of  energy efficient measures.    We have set a target   to install 450 Gigawatt  of renewable energy  and restore   26 million hectares   of  degraded   land by 2030.    We have   an age-old tradition of  living in harmony   with nature,”  he said.

He also told the meeting about the launching the largest campaigns for cleanliness and discouragement of single-use plastic.   He stated that the initiative to set up the International Solar Alliance was a practical manifestation  of climate action.    Similarly,   the Coalition for Disaster Resilience Infrastructure  brings together   all  relevant stake-holders  for a comprehensive approach.    “We have always prided ourselves   as the first responder in our region – a friend in need. Be it earthquakes, cyclones or any other natural  or man-made crisis, India has responded  with speed and solidarity. In our joint fight against COVID,  we have extended  medical and other assistance  to over  150 countries. We also helped create  a  SAARC  COVID emergency fund  in our neighbourhood,” the Prime Minister said.

With respect to COVID-19 pandemic, Modi said that the pandemic has severely tested   the resilience of all nations.    “In India, We have given   the highest priority   to deliver benefits to poor households.    We have announced   a package   of more than 300 billion dollars.    It will bring   the economy back on track, build modern infrastructure and put in place  a technology-driven system. We have put forward a vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’   a self-reliant   and Resilient India, integrated with the global economy,” Modi said.     

This was the second time that Prime Minister Modi was addressing the ECOSOC. He had earlier delivered the keynote address at the 70thanniversary of the ECOSOC in January 2016.




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