General Assembly General Assembly

Statement by Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council at the UN General Assembly

19 July 2018



Mr. President,


The active engagement of a wide array of actors at the  High Level Political Forum (HLPF) and the high level of enthusiasm among the participants is reflective of the positive and voluntary nature of constructive multilateral engagement for collective good.


2. With more than 110 Member States likely to complete their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) by the end of this year’s Forum, we would have truly moved from the phase of “Precept” to the stage of “Practice”, from the era of preaching to the era of sharing, understanding and learning.


3. The numerous examples of translating words into deeds in myriad ways demonstrate both “small is beautiful” and “big too is bountiful”.


4. It is in this spirit of sharing the small and the big I highlight some of the efforts underway in India in pursuit of the goals that are the special focus of this year’s HLPF i.e., SDGs 6,7,11,12,15,17.


Mr. President,


5. India is pushing ahead on each of these SDGs with strong political commitment and execution by all stakeholders.


6. As part of the ambitious sanitation programme called the Clean India Mission (Swachh Bharat) that is congruent with SDG 6, a total of 72 million household toilets have been constructed to improve hygiene and make the country open defecation free by 2nd October 2019. Upon completion next year, 550 million lives will be directly impacted by these transformative changes and there are indirect benefits for our entire billion plus population. In October this year, India will host Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention to share and learn global experiences on this issue.


7. India is undertaking the transformation of its energy mix towards renewable energy, with particular emphasis on expanding the use of solar and wind power, including off-grid. By 2022, India plans to produce 175 GW of renewable energy that will include 100 GW of solar power. The rate of expansion in this sector in India is highest in the world.


8. India is also partnering with France and other countries to launch the International Solar Alliance as a tangible contribution to the ongoing collective global efforts on climate action. More than 60 countries have already joined this Alliance, which has now been registered at the UN as a multilateral treaty.


Mr. President


9. By the year 2030, 600 million Indians will be living in urban areas. This requires building of 700-900 million sqm of urban space annually. In tune with global consciousness this new urban infrastructure will be green and resilient. India hopes to complete the building of 11 million homes by 2019 in what is the world’s largest affordable housing program.


10. India is one of the 17 mega bio-diverse countries in the world with 8% of the known global bio-diversity. Extensive conservation efforts to protect dense forest cover has led to an increase of 12000 sq km in the last 2 years.


Mr. President,


11. Strengthening global partnerships are key to accelerating global progress on the implementation of SDGs. India is stepping up its efforts towards South-South cooperation. Last year, India established the India-UN Development Partnership Fund. A sum of US$ 150 million has been committed for the next decade. India is partnering the UN Office for South South Cooperation in administering this Fund, with implementation by UN agencies. More than 20 projects - all of them small but significant - are in various stages of implementation of this ‘start up” venture.


Mr. President,


12. Our rapidly transforming world is pluralist and diverse but all our people have common aspirations for better lives. India looks forward to engaging constructively in global efforts for the achievement of the goals encapsulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.