UN Under-Secretary-General charts course for future partnerships in India

Dec 9, 2017

Achim Steiner (left) at a meeting with Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, Government of India. Photo: UNDP India

New Delhi: On a two-day visit to India, the United Nations Under-Secretary General, Vice-Chair UN Development Group and UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, met with senior government officials and key business leaders to deepen UN’s partnership with India and strengthen its commitment to the Government of India’s national priorities.

Steiner met with the Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley, to discuss the next generation of partnership between India and the UN, and also to seek a course for future collaboration, where the rest of the world can draw from India’s experiences and success stories.

“I am confident that the Government of India and the UN will forge ever-deeper partnerships both in terms of supporting the government's work in India and also in building a new level of engagement on how India can continue to lead, in the region and in the world,” said Steiner.

Steiner applauded the Government of India’s tremendous economic progress and the comprehensive reform agenda being pursued. “In India, there is a great deal of attention being paid to a fundamental principle of Agenda 2030 - to leave no one behind. This will be at the heart of successful development in the 21st century, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's development agenda is very much in line with the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.

Appreciating the Government of India’s urbanisation agenda, he met Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, to discuss India’s forward-looking approach to building inclusive and green cities through programmes like the Smart Cities Mission. India is currently witnessing rapid urbanisation and will have seven mega-cities of over 10 million people by 2030.

Steiner placed strong emphasis on the importance of climate action, ensuring access to energy for all, building sustainable cities and finding low-carbon, non-polluting energy sources to power the economy.

The UNDP administrator met Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, to whom he reiterated the UN’s support for India’s leadership in climate action at the international level. India is driving the International Solar Alliance, and its ambitious goal of expanding its renewable energy capacity sets an example for other countries.

Steiner offered R.K. Singh, Minister of Power, the UN’s continued support for India’s Saubhagya scheme, which aims to provide electricity to all households by 2019.

Steiner also chaired a roundtable, organised by the United Nations and FICCI, with key business leaders, where he reiterated the central role played by businesses in achieving the SDGs, particularly by unlocking the potential of private capital and finance for the SDGs. “The SDGs provide a framework for businesses to make sustainable choices,” he said.

During his visit, Steiner also met with other key government officials, including Ruchi Ghanshyam, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, with whom he explored ways in which India’s expertise in leveraging technology for development could be used to expand and deepen South-South cooperation.

He also met Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, and Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, to whom he conveyed the UN and UNDP’s unwavering commitment to support the Government of India’s transformative social welfare programmes. 

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Rajiv Chandran
National Information Officer

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