UN Member States commend India’s G20 success and support for the Global South

Foreign Ministers along with Prime Minister of Samoa (in red dress), UNGA President, and UNDP Administrator pose for a group picture at the Lotte New York Palace, on September 23, 2023. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

New York: Aimed at highlighting India’s contributions to development and collaboration with nations in the Global South, India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar hosted a side event “India-UN for Global South: Delivering for Development” during the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), at the Lotte New York Palace, on September 23, 2023.

Addressing the distinguished gathering Jaishankar noted “What I can say is that, when it has come to South-South cooperation, we have endeavored to walk the talk” while underlining that he believes “One of the really important outcomes of the G20, which was the membership of the African Union.”

President of the 78th session of UNGA, Dennis Francis, Prime Minister of Samoa, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Foreign Minister of Bhutan, Tandi Dorji, Foreign Minister of Dominica, Vince Henderson, Foreign Minister of Guyana, Hugh Hilton Todd, Foreign Minister of Mauritius, Maneesh Gobin, Foreign Minister of St. Lucia, Alva Baptiste, Foreign Minister of Maldives, Ahmed Khaleel, UN Development Programme Administrator, Achim Steiner, and UN-India Resident Coordinator, Shombi Sharp were present and spoke at the event.

India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar addressing the gathering at the Lotte New York Palace, on September 23, 2023. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Among various aspects, the accomplishments of the New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit received a huge praise from all speakers. They also highlighted the unanimous consensus reached on the joint declaration, inclusion of the African Union to the G20, India’s support for the Global South, the Vaccine-Maitri initiative by India, and the adoption of other developmental projects through the India-UN Partnership Fund.

About the G20 Summit, Jaishankar pointed out “It was a challenging Summit. It was actually a challenging Presidency. And it was challenging because we were confronting a very sharp East-West polarization as well as a very deep North-South divide,” while noting however India’s G20 Presidency was steadfast in its commitment to focus on the core agenda “global growth and development.”

As India began its G20 Presidency, Jaishankar recalled that India hosted the Voice of the Global South Summit in January 2023, where 125 nations participated.

Throughout the discussions that took place across various ministerial tracks and engagement groups “It was very clear to us that the Global South in addition to bearing the consequences of structural inequities and historical burdens, was plagued by the impact of Mercantilism and economic concentration,” Jaishankar noted adding they also faced “suffering from the devastating consequences of the COVID and was beset by conflict, tensions, and disputes which have stressed and distorted the international economy.”

In that context, Jaishankar hoped “We do believe that the New Delhi Summit of the G20 has in many ways laid the foundation for the international community really to look at its development prospects, hopefully with greater optimism…”

UN General Assembly President, Dennis Francis said, “India’s recent G20 Presidency marked a historic milestone” for including the African Union as a permanent member and called it “a strong symbol of solidarity and cooperation across the Global South.”

Francis said India’s initiatives “foster inclusive and sustainable development benefiting the entire Global South” and lauded the world’s largest democracy’s leadership role in various areas.

In her welcome address, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj emphasized “As far as India is concerned, our engagement with the Global South is not just a matter of policy, it is ingrained with the very fabric of our culture and philosophy. Earlier this month, the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration has reinforced our commitment to the comprehensive development of fellow developing nations.”

Kamboj underscored that India’s development partnerships have seen substantial growth spanning 78 nations across various regions. Over the past decade, India has launched 600 projects as a testament to its commitment to supporting friends. Central to its development philosophy is capacity building, and India has provided training to 200,000 individuals from 160 countries thereby prioritizing the needs of its partners.

About capacity building, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, Sanjay Verma told News India Times, “The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC), is already flourishing and widely spread all over the world. We invite 14,000 individuals to India every year from different countries on fully sponsored training programmes for one month to three months or even longer. But short-term courses on about 800 different subjects.”

Verma stressed “With the UN recognizing that these courses are fulfilling very important gap in capacity building in the Global South…they felt that they wanted to leverage this platform onto their own platform and extend the reach in terms of areas where we are not yet present.”

“It is essentially the UN using its brand to add to the already strong ITEC brand of India… it just becomes a super brand of capacity building,” Verma noted adding that UN will help India with its widespread network to promote the programme.

As such, during the event, with the cooperation of the Ministry of External Affairs, the United Nations and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation exchanged a Letter of Intent to build capacities and advance South-South Cooperation.

With the letter of intent, “The United Nations would also be contributing along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bear some of the expenses. So, the fact that they are financially committed to this means they see true value in raising capacities in various sectors such as economic, social, agricultural, education, language, and satellite imagery analysis,” added Verma.



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