Prime Minister Narendra Modi
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PM Modi addresses the UN ECOSOC

This is the second time that Prime Minister has addressed the High-Level Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

In a virtual address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his keynote speech to a diverse group of executives from government, the private sector, civil society and academia assembled for the High-Level Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Speaking at the valedictory session along with Prime Minister of Norway and UN Secretary-General, this was PM Modi’s first opportunity to address the UN after India’s overwhelming election (184 out of 192 ballots) as a non-permanent member of the Security Council this June.

Speaking on the theme of ‘Multilateralism after COVID-19’, he touched upon a reformed UN, India’s role in the global order, its contributions to fighting the pandemic and climate change. Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the UN, he said it was born out of the fury of the Second World War and today the fury of the pandemic provided the context for rebirth and reform.

Its relevance has to be enhanced, its effectiveness improved and it ought to be made the basis of a new type of human-centric globalisation, he said. At the same time, he also mentioned that this multilateralism needed to represent the reality of our world today. The pandemic had taught us the importance of self-reliance and we needed to strive for this even as we are navigating a globalised and interdependent world.

The rest of his addressed was focussed on India, starting with explaining how the developmental motto of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas, Sabka Vishwas’ (together, for everyone’s growth, with everyone’s trust) closely echoes UN’s own Sustainable Development Goals. This translated into inclusive programmes in nutrition, health, education and infrastructure that trickles down to every last person in the country.

The fight against the pandemic in the country has become a people’s movement that combines the efforts of government and society, he said. The country’s grass-roots healthcare system was the reason why it could today boast of one of the best recovery rates in the world as well as one of the lowest mortality rates. India has also extended medical and other kinds of assistance to over 150 countries. It has also helped create a SAARC COVID emergency fund, he mentioned.

In the region too, India has been a force of good, responding to natural disasters and other crisis with “speed and solidarity”. The fight against climate change is where India is leaving its mark with its efforts to discourage usage of single-use plastic, the setting up of the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilience Infrastructure. This was the second time PM Modi was addressing the ECOSOC, after delivering the keynote address in 2016 on its 70th anniversary. He reminded those gathered that the ECOSOC met for the first time in London in 1946 under the presidency of Ramaswami Mudaliar of India.

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