UN General Assembly’s ‘Historic Gathering’ to Redefine Development Goals in New York

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September 25, 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves as he arrives outside the West Wing of the White House for an Oval Office meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama September 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. The two leaders met to discuss the U.S.-India strategic partnership and mutual interest issues.

September 25, 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves as he arrives outside the West Wing of the White House for an Oval Office meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama September 30, 2014 in Washington, DC. The two leaders met to discuss the U.S.-India strategic partnership and mutual interest issues.

NEW YORK – It's been billed as "the biggest launch in history" and is possibly the largest ever gathering at the United Nations. Over 150 heads of state, NGOs from around the globe, Nobel Prize winners and media crew are going to descend on the UN headquarters in New York on Friday for the landmark Sustainable Development Summit that coincides with the 70th anniversary of the UN General Assembly.

After three years of hard negotiations, member states will today formally adopt Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs which will replace the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs as the new global goals to be accomplished by 2030.

Seventeen in number, the Sustainable Development Goals are a new universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and policies over the next 15 years. Aiming to encompass almost every aspect of human life, the main themes of the SDGs are ending poverty, tackling inequality and combating climate change.

India has taken a strong position on the SDGs and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be among the first few leaders to address the summit.

Speaking to the media, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Asoke Kumar said, "The fact that PM Modi will address the SDG summit on Day 1 indicates how important the SDGs are to India and how important India is to the implementation of SDGs. India's canvas is massive. Many of the PM's initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, sanitation, toilets for girls are all very important elements of the SDGs."

What makes the SDGs particularly significant is that countries have agreed to include gender equality as an intrinsic component of each of the 17 goals and treat it as a priority area. In fact, one of the 17 goals itself is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and eliminate violence against them.

Lakshmi Puri, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director stated, "Never before in the 70 year history of the UN have women's issues taken centre stage. This is historic"

While the focus of the summit remains firmly on the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, what's also generating huge media frenzy is the visit of the Pope who will address the UN General Assembly on Friday. This is Pope Francis' first ever visit to the United States.

What's also interesting is that a host of world leaders who have been giving the UN General Assembly a miss over the years will be in attendance this time. Among them are Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Cuban President Raul Castro.

According to the UN's own estimates, achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets meant to transform the world will require over 250 billion dollars annually for the next 15 years.

An inter-agency and expert group is now working towards determining the global indicators of sustainable development which will be the benchmark against which the progress made by member states will be evaluated. These indicators are likely to be finalised by March next year. But for now, it's history in the making at the UN.


Courtesy: NDTV

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