Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the United Nations on Friday and stressed on climate justice and pitched for reform of the Security Council.
His pitch for UNSC reforms comes amidst India’s strong bid for a permanent seat in the expanded powerful world body.
Dressed in a brown bandgalla, Modi greeted his audience at the UN Sustainable Development Summit with a ‘namaste’ before starting his 18-minute speech. His Hindi speech was simultaneously translated into English, Russian, French and Spanish and made available on the internet.
At the summit, UN approved an ambitious 15-year plan to tackle the world’s biggest problems, from eradicating poverty to preserving the planet to reducing inequality.
Here are the five key highlights of his speech
Modi pitched for reform of the UN Security Council, saying it was essential for the world body to inspire confidence and be relevant in the current world realities.
“70 years back, when the horrific World War II came to an end, this organisation came into being, raising hopes of people around the world. We have gathered here to decide a new direction,” he said.
Modi added, “We need UN reforms so that it inspires confidence and becomes relevant to the current world realities.”
Modi spoke of India’s commitment to “a sustainable path to prosperity”.
“It comes from the natural instinct of our tradition and culture. But, it is also rooted firmly in our commitment to the future,” he said.
“We represent a culture that calls our planet Mother Earth. As our ancient text say: ‘Keep pure! For the Earth is our mother! And we are her children!’”
He further said: “Sustainable development of one-sixth of humanity will be of great consequence to the world and our beautiful planet. It will be a world of fewer challenges and greater hope; and, more confident of its success.”
Eradication of poverty
In his speech, Modi stressed on the elimination of poverty and said it is vital for ambitions of sustainable development.
“We live in an age of unprecedented prosperity, but also unspeakable deprivation around the world,” he said.
“I am pleased that elimination of poverty in all forms everywhere is at the top of our goals. Addressing the needs of 1.3 billion poor people in the world is not merely a question of their survival and dignity or our moral responsibility. It is a vital necessity for ensuring peaceful, sustainable and just world.”
“Since Independence, we have pursued the dream of eliminating poverty from India.We have chosen the path of removing poverty by empowering the poor. We have placed priority on education and skill development.”
Modi said India welcomed UN’s new development agenda, especially the prominence given to protecting the environment.
“We welcome the prominence given to environmental goals, especially climate change and sustainable consumption. The distinct goal on ocean ecosystem reflects the unique character of its challenges and opportunities. Equally important, it focuses our attention on the future of the island states,” he said.
He added, “I speak about Blue Revolution, which includes the prosperity, sustainable use of marine wealth and blue skies.”
How to tackle climate change
Modi also spoke on effective ways to address the issue of climate change – how changes in lifestyle and education system might help.
“In addressing climate change, it is important to focus on solutions that can help us reach our goals. We should forge a global public partnership to harness technology, innovation and finance to put affordable clean and renewable energy within the reach of all.”
“Equally, we must look for changes in our lifestyles that would make us less dependent on energy and more sustainable in our consumption.”
“It is equally critical to launch a global education programme that prepares our next generation to protect and conserve Nature.”