Modi's key concerns in UN sustainable development goals

  • Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 04, 2015 22:29 IST

India agreed to adopt specific targets under the UN’s sustainable development goals on Sunday after key themes championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi found a mention in the document to be signed by 192 nations in September.

The PM’s major initiatives such as 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao', Smart Cities, Cleanliness and Clean Energy have made an imprint on the 29-page declaration that also talks about poverty elimination, another core concern of his.

“The message from the PM was clear that the goals should not create a bottleneck for India’s development and should have the country’s imprint on poverty elimination, skill development and empowering the girl child,” a senior government functionary part of the negotiations told HT. “Most of the issues raised by us have been incorporated.”

Modi will attend the UN General Assembly session where the declaration about 17 goals with 69 targets will be adopted, recognising climate change as a developmental challenge rather than a phenomenon decoupled from economic growth. That would mark a major shift from the millennium development goals 2015.

The PM is expected to elucidate India’s position on global warming at the UN summit where a commitment of heads of states for the Paris climate deal will be sought. He would elaborate how India had taken the lead in fighting climate change, sources said.

The summit would mark India’s changed position on the sustainable development goals as it had resisted having specific targets for the developing world for the best part of the three-year-long negotiations. A breakthrough came earlier this year when India’s argument for having “non-intrusive” targets in the goals found traction among rich nations.

Although the goals have been agreed upon, providing an estimated $2.5 trillion in funding to the developing world to meet them is missing in the declaration which proposes a mechanism to achieve the 169 targets agreed through a “high-level political platform” at national and global levels. It proposes a regular progress review by the UN based on data collated by countries.

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