Climate change, terror on top of UNGA agenda this September

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with UN General Assembly chief Mogens Lykketoft in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) chief Mogens Lykketoft said on Monday that addressing the fear of climate change, tackling terror and radicalisation will be on top of the agenda for the forthcoming UN General Assembly session in New York in September. The international diplomat, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during his two-day visit, said that India’s level of ambition in tackling these will also be crucial, along with the support of the U.S. and China to make meaningful progress.

The session, which falls on the 70th anniversary year of the United Nations, will see 165 Heads of Governments of member nations coming together to adopt the post-2015 development agenda, in the form of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is proof that the U.N. is still relevant and able to break new ground in promoting global peace and development, he said.

Promoting global equity

Speaking at a special lecture organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs, Mr. Lykketoft said that while the Millenium Development Goals adopted 15 years ago had managed to cut extreme global poverty by half, the SDGs have emphasised that we cannot eradicate extreme poverty with the model for global economic growth that we have pursued for the past 15 years because they are socially and environmentally unsustainable.

“This is a far reaching conclusion and the 2030 development agenda focuses on a much fairer distribution of global resources between and within countries. That the 90 wealthiest billionaires have amassed more resources than the poorest 3.5 billion people of the human race, is an unsustainable proposition and if the development agenda of the future has to fulfil the basic promise of no one being left behind, then the sharing of global goods like energy, water have to be more equitable,” he said

Referring to the fight against poverty and inequality and the fight against climate change as part of the same war, he said that the number of people in this planet has tripled in the past 70 years, and there is an urgent need to make fundamental changes in our production and consumption patterns.

Mr. Modi too had underlined the need to change one’s way of life as the only hope for a sustainable future, he said. To raise necessary funds to address global inequalities, besides contribution of developed economies, it was also necessary to trace the interconnections between tax evasion and corruption, he said.

Besides climate change and global terror, the challenge of addressing greater refugee inflows, the largest since the end of World War II, was also high on the agenda of upcoming UNGA session, he said. The historic nuclear agreement between Iran and the six major powers in July this year is the beginning of a promising period for ending terrible bloodshed across the globe, he said. “If major global players don’t act together, the U.N. cannot end or prevent conflict,” he noted.

As regards the reform agenda in the U.N., he observed that, for the first time ever, the GA member states and civil society will be involved in discussions regarding the selection of the next secretary general.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 8:48:21 PM |

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