26/09/2015 7:43 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

At UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Pitches For Climate Justice, War On Poverty


UNITED NATIONS-- Amid India's strong bid for a permanent seat in UN Security Council, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today pitched for reform of the powerful world body to make it "broad-based", saying it is essential to maintain its credibility and legitimacy in the current world realities.

Addressing the UN General Assembly soon after it adopted the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, he also underlined the need for ensuring "climate justice" while pursuing these targets so as to ensure protection to the poor.

"70 years back, when the horrific second World War 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 told the gathering of world leaders.

"We must reform the UN and the Security Council. This is essential so that the institutions have greater credibility and legitimacy. With a broad-based representation, we will be more effective in achieving our goals," Modi said.

His pitch for making the UNSC broad-based comes amidst India's strong bid for a permanent seat in the expanded five-member world body.

Modi asserted that the global challenges like climate change and sustainable development are the collective responsibility of all nations as no nation can be immune to any kind of threat.

Modi talked about the need for eradicating poverty and ensuring development as he highlighted that 1.3 billion people around the world are forced to live in poverty.

On the issue of climate change, he maintained that common but differentiated responsibility is the basis for dealing with this challenge.

In this context, he asked the developed nations to fulfill their responsibility of sharing technology, innovation and finances with the developing countries without having any "selfish interest".

We should create a world where every living thing feels secure, gets opportunities and respect. We should leave for our future generations a climate in a better condition. There can be no better objective. But this is also true that nothing is more challenging than this," Modi said.

"Today, in the 70th year of the existence of the UN, there are expectations from all of us that through our wisdom, experience, generosity and expertise we will overcome these challenges," he said.

In the context of meeting the challenge of climate change, the Prime Minister laid emphasis on clean energy while asking the developed world to transfer technology, innovation and finances to the developing countries without having "selfish interests".

He underlined that achieving the goals of sustainable development is the collective responsibility of the world and the bedrock for dealing with climate change is "common but differentiated responsibility".

"Sustainable development is the national responsibility of all the countries....Whenever we express concern over climate change, somewhere there is a stinking feeling about securing personal interests," he said.

"The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is the bedrock of our enterprise for a sustainable world... We are here today at the UN, because we believe that international partnership must be at the centre of our efforts," he said.

He also underlined the need for "climate justice", which is a question of equity, per capita emission and issue of justice.

"When we talk of climate justice, it is ensure protection to the poor from natural calamities," Modi said.

He also emphasised the need for initiating a global education programme which could help our future generations learn about energy efficiency.

"I expect the developed countries to honour their financial commitments for development and climate change without in any way putting the both under the same head," the Prime Minister said.

Modi began his address by invoking "modern hero" Mahatma Gandhi, saying he had said that "we should think about even that future world which we will not be able to see".

Talking about his government's efforts for fighting climate change, the Prime Minister said it is focussing on clean energy sources and has set an ambitious target of generating 175 giga watts in the next seven years.

In his speech during which he recited certain vedic shlokas (lines), he said the government is focussing on clean energy, energy efficiency, afforestation and special tax on coal besides cleaning of rivers as part of measures to deal with climate change.

The Prime Minister said while working for the Sustainable Development Goals, there should be "climate justice" to ensure that poor are protected from natural tragedies.

"While addressing climate change, it is important to focus on solutions that help us reach our goals," he said.

Welcoming the goals set in the SDG, Modi noted that the world is focussing on island states and said that setting of separate targets for their eco-system was an important step.

"I am votary of 'Blue Revolution' where there is protection and prosperity of island nations and proper use of their oceanic resources under the blue skies," he said.

Noting that India sees the world as one, he said the globe is connected and dependant on each other. "Our international partnerships need to be centred on progress of humanity," he said.

Referring to the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 adopted by the UNGA today, the Prime Minister said much of India's development agenda is mirrored in it.

He listed the programmes and schemes rolled out by his government for financial inclusion, poverty alleviation, healthcare, education and women empowerment and said "Our national plans to ensure sustainable development are purposeful and ambitious".

He said eradication of poverty must remain the biggest responsibility as without it the world peace, just systems and sustainable development cannot be possible.

Modi said his government is working in a "mission mode" to ensure financial inclusion in set timeframe.

"We are working on financial inclusion in a very big way," Modi said and mentioned the programmes like Jandhan bank accounts and pension schemes launched by his government.

He said world focusses only on two sectors -- public sector and private sector -- while talking about development but India is giving importance to the third sector -- personal sector -- as part of its effort towards economic development.

By looking at the 'personal sector', he said India is focussing on individual enterprise, innovation, micro-finance and a new 'start-up' movement.

He said his government was also working towards making agriculture more productive and helping farmers suffering from natural adversities.

"Since we attained freedom, we have focussed on ending poverty. Education and skill development are priorities for us... The world must be free from poverty and development must be sustainable," he said.

Contact HuffPost India