New Delhi, 14 March: Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General, Vice-Chair UN Sustainable Development Group and UNDP Administrator, concluded a two-day visit to India yesterday. He was in India on 11 March and 14 March to meet government partners and explore opportunities to strengthen the India-UN partnership on key development issues. This is Steiner’s second visit to India since assuming his responsibilities as a top UN development official in 2017.
India is key to the achievement of the SDGs given its rapid economic growth, an emerging ecosystem of innovation and ambitious social legislations and programmes. Steiner’s discussions with Indian officials reaffirmed the UN-India partnership in its shared vision to leave no one behind.
“India is pivotal to our shared ambition to achieve the SDGs. India has been a steadfast partner to the UN and the tremendous progress it has made the last 20 years hold many lessons for the world,” Steiner said. “We look forward to deepening our valued and trusted partnership with India, including efforts to address the SDGs, disaster resilience, combating climate change and South-South Cooperation.”
While in India, Steiner met the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu, to discuss how UNDP can work with the ministry at the district level to fast-track growth and achieve the SDGs. He also met the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan, with whom he discussed India’s commitment to eradicate single-use plastic in the country by 2022 and ways to showcase India’s best practices in this field for the world. At a meeting with P.K. Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, he expressed appreciation for India’s leadership on the International Solar Alliance and a coalition on disaster-resilient infrastructure, and reiterated UNDP’s commitment to supporting this leadership. Steiner also met the CEO of NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant to explore ways to deepen UNDP’s work with NITI Aayog on SDG localization, especially across the aspirational districts. He also discussed opportunities to deepen collaboration with NK Singh, chairman of the XV Finance Commission and PK Sinha, cabinet secretary.
In addition to government officials, he also met India’s top business leaders to reiterate the critical role private sector can play in financing the SDGs. He launched the SDG Finance Facility, a UNDP and Social Finance India initiative, that brings together leading stakeholders to leverage collective capacities and experience to incubate SDG-aligned innovative financial instruments for India. Steiner is co-chair of a global task force launched by Secretary-General António Guterres to recommend strategies to harness the potential of digital financing to advance the SDGs.
Steiner also addressed the inaugural UN South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights, aimed at raising awareness about business and human rights issues in South Asia and facilitating implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), including through National Action Plans.
Hi-res photos available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1xW3N-EjPHBNO3zTWsgdeBt4iKGKNxPZi?usp=sharing
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Achim Steiner’s bio and high-res photo: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/about-us/our-leadership.html#achimsteiner