Vatican flag to be hoisted at UN HQ ahead of Pope’s visit

  • Hindustan Times, New York City
  • Updated: Sep 23, 2015 00:53 IST
A worker places US and Vatican flags together on a lamp post along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, ahead of Pope Francis’ three-day visit to Washington. (REUTERS)

It is unusual for the United Nations to hoist the flag of a non-member country at its headquarters. However, on September 25, the flag of Vatican will be hoisted at the UN as Pope Francis, the head of the head of the Catholic Church, speaks at the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) summit.

The summit will be held between September 25 and 27, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also slated to speak on the opening day.

The SDG’s are a set of targets and indicators that the 193 UN member countries have agreed to factor in while framing their government policies for the next 15-years, starting 2016. They are aimed at encouraging countries and the private sector to focus mainly on the three dimensions of development that could be sustainable — economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability.

“The Pope will not be speaking as a politician. He will be speaking, above all, as a pastor, as a religious leader,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations told reporters here.

There was a draw of lots to decide which country would speak at the summit, and it was decided the PM would speak on the opening day.

Due to the presence of the Pope and world leaders in New York, the city is seeing heightened security.

Senior Indian officials said the SDG negotiations were concluded to New Delhi’s satisfaction.

“For us, the overarching objective was quite straightforward — to ensure that the development agenda remains sensitive to and supportive of the development policies and initiatives of developing countries, including India. In this, we are broadly quite satisfied with the final outcome,” said Asoke Kumar Mukherjee, India’s permanent representative to the United Nations. He added the SDGs complement the development initiatives announced by PM Modi in the past.

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