India’s progress on UN Sustainable Development Goals and G20 discussed

From left, Samir Saran, Shombi Sharp, Ruchira Kamboj, Jagannatha Kumar, and Vanita Sharma releasing the report on “Ideas, Innovation, and Implementation” at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations on September 22, 2023, in New York. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

New York: On the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Reliance Foundation, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), the United Nations India, and the Permanent Mission of India (PMI) to the United Nations jointly hosted “Delivering Development: Journeys, Directions and Lighthouses” at PMI, on September 22, 2023, where speakers reviewed India’s progress in achieving its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and highlighted India’s success in the recently concluded New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit.

In her keynote address, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj lauded India’s strides in attaining its SDG goals. “I would say that India’s journey towards the SDGs serves as an inspiring example of determination and ingenuity. Let’s take SDG one, India’s performance on SDG one is a testament, a true testament to its resolve.”

While noting that the “number of people living in extreme poverty today is higher than it was four years ago, and this is indeed very unfortunate,” Kamboj added “And on current trends, only 30 per cent of all countries will achieve SDG one of no poverty by 2030… We are on track to reduce multi-dimensional poverty by at least half, much ahead of 2030. India is among the 25 countries that halved their multi-dimensional poverty within 15 years, a noteworthy 415 million people have escaped poverty in India.”

About the G20 Summit in New Delhi, Kamboj underscored, “Under India’s leadership, and no two ways about this, the Summit was a remarkable success. Now the Summit put SDGs front and center underscoring the urgency in this decade of action. This landmark event marked a turning point where global leaders recognized the urgency of our mission and committed to accelerating implementation under the G20 2023 Action Plan.”

On the occasion, Kamboj released a report “Ideas, Innovation, Implementation; India’s Journey Towards the SDGs” along with President, ORF, India, Samir Saran, CEO, Reliance Foundation, India, Jagannatha Kumar, UN Resident Coordinator in India, Shombi Sharp, and Advisor, Strategic Initiatives, Reliance Foundation, India, Vanita Sharma. The report was jointly published by the Reliance Foundation, ORF, and the United Nations India.

Saran said that India placed “people first” and focused on “people centered” policies during its G20 Presidency. Calling “Global South was a big feature of the Indian Presidency” Saran added “I think there is also a responsibility on the Global South today to no longer be free riders or accept the rules written by others. But to actually be scripting them by themselves, in partnership with the actors who have been through this journey before but also with those who are going to be increasingly influential in the days ahead.”

During his welcome remarks, Kumar said, “India is going through remarkable economic and technological growth.” According to Kumar, the pioneering grassroots strategies India has employed to advance the SDGs serve as exemplary models that can be emulated in other nations. India’s extensive utilization of digital public infrastructure has hastened progress in every corner of the country. India stands at the forefront of world’s largest financial inclusion initiative and has facilitated the opening of more than 460 million new bank accounts through digital identity verification thereby making progress in narrowing the gender gap in financial access. Additionally, India leads the global arena in digital payments, with recent data indicating that over 40 per cent of the world’s real-time transactions are conducted through Unified Payment Interface.

In his opening remarks, Sharp pointed out that “This week has been filled with a lot of frankly, depressing news. Everywhere we look it’s crisis, it’s war, it’s poverty. It’s the inability of the world to come together and to put the money behind the words and all of this against the backdrop of the Triple Planetary Crisis – biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.”

But Sharp emphasized compelling reasons for optimism highlighting India’s collaboration with key partners in achieving its SDG goals. He said, India is emerging as a new driving force and steadily demonstrating strong leadership in pursuing SDGs on areas such as poverty alleviation, advancements in digital infrastructure, and empowerment of women.

In his spotlight address, President, Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Christopher Elias, said “The Gates Foundation remains a committed and steadfast partner with the Government of India in ensuring the achievement of its development goals,” while commending India’s many successes such as Jal Jeevan Mission, and Swachh Bharat initiatives.

During the event, three panel discussions were also held on themes, The India Lighthouse, #SheLeads, and Beyond the SDGs. Executive Director, ORF-America, USA, Dhruva Jaishankar, Sharma, and Kumar moderated the sessions.



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