PM Modi pushes for UN leadership in eradicating poverty


Pitching strongly for reforming the UN system, Prime Minister Narendra Modi exhorted the international community to join hands to eradicate poverty, which he described as the “unfinished business of the 20th century.”

“Eradication of poverty remains the greatest unfinished business of the 20th century. It is also the most important unfulfilled objective of the United Nations,” Mr Modi said during a keynote address to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN. He addressed the council through a video message for the special event hosted in New York City to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. 

Stressing on the need to combat poverty, Mr Modi said that the developing countries face the challenge of ending poverty. “To achieve a peaceful and prosperous world, we need to put in place first and foremost the conditions for rapid socio-economic development; improvement in the human condition and an end to hunger and deprivation,” Mr Modi emphasised. 

Alluding to the recently concluded global climate change agreement in Paris, Mr Modi stressed on the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ saying it presents a valuable opportunity for the UN system to rethink its role and purpose and make itself more effective.

UN’s Development Agenda

Underscoring development-centric vision of ECOSOC, Mr Modi said: “Its creation as a distinct part of United Nations is a testimony to the centrality of development in the vision of the founders of the UN.” It is now the responsibility of ECOSOC to rise up to this challenge and contribute to making this agenda a success, he added.

Mr Modi stressed that the 2030 agenda saying was a reflection of the challenges faced by the poor countries.  “We in the developing world not only have to end poverty and hunger and satisfy the legitimate aspirations of our people for a better life, we have to do so in a manner that is friendly to the planet and the environment,” Mr  Modi said.

“The developed countries on the other hand face enormous responsibilities to rapidly move their economies onto a sustainable path, follow sustainable lifestyles and assist developing countries with finance and technologies, Mr Modi added.

Use technology to combat poverty

Mr Modi spoke about the importance of use of technology in combating poverty. “At the same time, we have enormous resources at our command and technology today presents us with solutions that were unthinkable earlier. The challenge is to channel the available resources and use technology to tackle the most urgent problems facing us,” Mr Modi said.
Urging members of the ECOSOC to rejuvenate the council, Mr Modi asked them to make it more action oriented, policy relevant and more responsive to the needs and aspirations of people in his address.

India has been pushing for reform of the UN Security Council to make it more reflective of the realities of the 21st century world.

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