Modi set for hectic UN diplomacy: climate change, UNSC reforms top agenda


UNITED NATIONS: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi gears up to visit the US starting from September 23 to attend the 70th anniversary celebrations of the UN, the agenda for India at the UNGA would mainly focus on climate change, UN Security Council (UNSC) reforms, peacekeeping and terrorism, according to India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke Mukerji. Mr Modi is scheduled to address the high-level Sustainable Development Summit on September 25that will be hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

 The Sustainable Development Summit is expected to be one of the largest ever gatherings at the UN, with more than 150 state heads and world leaders attending the event to adopt the post-2015 development agenda that will replace Millennium Development Goals with SDGs.

Climate change is a major issue that would figure in the session at the UNGA as the world hopes to reach an agreement at the COP 21 summit to be held in Paris in December. India has made its position on climate change clear without mentioning any peak emission year unlike most other major countries that have given a peak emission year. India is expected to focus on mitigation and adaptation. There are a lot of expectations from the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs) that India would take the lead in the Paris conference to help reach an agreement. France’s President Francois Hollande has said that reaching a deal on climate change in the Paris conference could be unlikely given the lack of clarity about any long-term plan on financial assistance to the developing countries by the developed countries after 2020.

With an imminent launch of text-based negotiations, fast-tracking the UNSC reforms will be a top priority of India. The world’s largest democracy is one of the frontrunners to become a permanent member in an expanded UN Security Council. The G4 countries, which include India, Brazil, Germany and Japan, have been pushing for reforming the UNSC. In a boost to the G4 countries, the UNGA has adopted the text-based negotiations for reforming the UNSC after it was adopted by members through consensus without a vote. India will also be hosting the meeting of the G4 foreign ministers and date of the meeting are still being worked upon keeping in mind the convenience and availability of the ministers, said Mr Mukerji.

Terrorism is another key area where India is expected to raise concerns with the rising threat of extremist organisations like the Islamic State. India has entered into a cooperation on security issues with many Central Asian countries and Middle East countries such as the UAE to counter the growing threat of terrorism.

On peacekeeping, the session will see action on the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Peace Operations chaired by Jose Ramos Horta as well as on the Implementation Report being prepared by the Secretary General, said Mr Mukerji. India is the third largest contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping missions in 2015.

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