General Assembly General Assembly

Statement by Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations at the 1st Session of Intergovernmental Negotiations on Post-2015 Development Agenda, New York on 19th  January, 2015


Thank you for giving me the floor Mr. Co-Facilitator.

India aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished Permanent Representative of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.


I have the honor to share some of India's views and key perspectives as we embark on this landmark process to elaborate a new development agenda for international cooperation to end poverty, achieve sustainable development and ensure a life of dignity for all.


Mr. Co-Facilitator,

At the outset, let me once again stress that for us the primary touchstone for the Post-2015 Development Agenda is that it is an agenda for growth and development.


We want an agenda that can propel sustained and inclusive economic growth in all countries, particularly developing countries.  Growth is needed to create jobs, generate resources, sustain poverty reduction and achieve social development. Without inclusive economic growth, gains in other developmental indicators are not possible. This is borne out of our experience of the MDGs as well.


Allow me to make 5 points.


First, we must build on what we have and move forward. Given the remarkably short time available to us and in light of other parallel processes in which we will be engaged, we need to eschew the tendency to re-open discussions or re-invent the wheel. This could delay or stymie our progress.


The foundation for the Post-2015 Development Agenda was laid by the outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference, which contains the international consensus at the highest level on the entire gamut of sustainable development. The building blocks of the agenda have in turn been put in place by the outcomes of the Rio+20 follow-up processes. These must remain the basis on which we move forward.


As the Group of 77 has emphasized, we believe it would be imprudent to re-open or re-negotiate the comprehensive and balanced package of the OWG, either directly or indirectly. In our view, the SDGs have already been agreed upon by member states, through an open and transparent process in which all member states participated and which gave full opportunity for other stakeholders, not to mention the UN system, to enrich the discussion with their inputs.


The question therefore, in so far as the SDGs are concerned, is only the manner in which they are to be integrated into the Post-2015 Development Agenda.


We welcome the fact that the Secretary General has also fully endorsed the outcome of the Open Working Group Report on Sustainable Development Goals.


While the idea of re-packaging the SDGs along 6 pillars, as suggested in the Synthesis Report is an interesting one, we need to be cautious lest this should amount to yet again segmenting the integrated agenda of the SDGs with its inter-linkages and synergies into distinct silos.


This will undercut our ambition to holistically integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development.


Second, we must now embrace ambition and not revert back to business-as-usual.


The integrated and comprehensive agenda of the SDGs displays a remarkable level of ambition. Never before has the international community articulated an action-oriented agenda across such a wide spectrum. Will we now match this ambition of the substance of the agenda with equally ambitious template of action to achieve it? Will we create the conditions necessary to enhance international cooperation for development, or will we slip back into well-rehearsed policy shibboleths, particularly when it comes to means of implementation, finance, technology etc?


Third, we must keep our sights on the centrality of the political, economic, moral and ethical imperative of ending poverty. We must not lose sight of this overarching objective of this agenda. The needs and concerns of 1.3 billion men, women and children deprived of a life of dignity across the world must be our topmost priority.


To do this, we must aim at ensuring that development is sustainable across all three dimensions - economic, social and environmental.


Fourth, the agenda must be built around universality of issues and differentiation in action. In our view, there is no contradiction between the principle of differentiation and the notion of universality. Both complement each other and a balance of both is well captured in the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.


Universality demands an agenda which is equally relevant as well as applicable to both developing and developed countries. Unlike in the past, this time the developed countries will also be called into account for their specific actions and commitments.


At the same time, universality of the agenda does not translate into uniformity of its application. Given the amount of inequality and developmental diversity in the world, a universal agenda can and indeed must be a differentiated one.


Fifth, the Post-2015 Development Agenda must adhere to the test of multilateralism. We need to bear in mind that this is an agenda for international cooperation. It should therefore go beyond merely identifying global problems and providing policy prescriptions, and aim at genuine collaboration by pooling efforts of different countries and stakeholders in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities, to solve those problems.


Multilateralism also means that there must be shift from the MDG model of addressing the symptoms of lack of development, to a new model, which addresses the drivers of development and growth.


Mr. Co-Facilitator,

You can count on India's robust and constructive engagement in the intergovernmental process in the months ahead.


I thank you.