India to push for poverty eradication without caveats

India will push to make poverty eradication, ‘without any qualifiers,’ the centre-piece of the development framework post-2015, the stated deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), at the 68th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Session in New York next week. These goals were adopted by all member-states of the U.N., at the Millennium Summit in 2000. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is leading the Indian delegation to UNGA.

Briefing the media, Navtej Sarna, Additional Secretary (International Organisations) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said high-level meetings at the U.N. this year have a connected theme — of conceptualising a post-2015 development agenda. India is focusing both on the process of decision-making and the substance.

There are currently three processes underway. In accordance with the Rio+ declaration, a High-Level Forum is to determine and define sustainable goals. A High Level Panel of Eminent Persons, chaired by Presidents of Indonesia and Liberia and PM of United Kingdom, submitted a report with recommendations to the U.N. Secretary General. The U.N. Development Programme is engaged in consultations with multiple stakeholders in over 70 countries for suggestions on the agenda.

Mr. Sarna said: “We want these three rivers to come together in an inter-governmental negotiation process, which will have a level playing field. MDGs came from the sky. They were like a modern-day Ten Commandments… But we want the new goals to be agreed to through negotiations.”

Substantively, India wants to keep the focus on poverty eradication – without caveats like removing only ‘extreme’ poverty or removing poverty as long ‘as it does not impact the environment’ – and economic growth. “We don’t want the goal of poverty eradication in international dialogue to be dimmed by putting in qualifiers… We don’t want the development agenda to be converted into a governance agenda. It must be for everyone, and must have in it means for implementation,” said Mr. Sarna. He alluded to the fact that under the MDG, a key pillar — of developed countries financing the developing and least developed countries — had not been implemented.

India will also use the UNGA to push its traditional agenda of Security Council reform and reach out to different groupings; raise concerns about how the changing nature of conflict is making new demands on peace-keepers and changing nature of peacekeeping; reiterate its redlines on terrorism; and participate in the High Level Forum on Nuclear Disarmament.

UN session next

week will draw up

a post-2015 development agenda