Seventeen lighthouse initiatives from India contributing to the SDGs, showcased in publication released during UNGA week

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  • Joint book by Reliance Foundation, United Nations India office and Observer Research Foundation.  
  • Permanent Representative of India to the UN says India offers exemplary models for other countries at two jointly hosted high-level events.
  •  India’s leadership and experience brings promise towards achieving the Sustainable Develoment Goals says multi-country ministerial panel

New York, September 25, 2023: A strong belief in the Indian approach and leadership to achieve the Sustainable Development was the underlying tone of two high-level discussions organised in New York by Reliance Foundation, Observer Research Foundation, the United Nations India office and the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations.

As the world came together during the United Nations General Assembly week to deliberate on accelerating pace on the 2030 agenda, a publication ‘Ideas, Innovation, Implementation: India’s Journey Towards the SDGs’ that brought this message to life was released. The book, a joint initiative by Reliance Foundation, Observer Research Foundation and the UN India office, highlights 17 lighthouse initiatives across 17 SDGs, undertaken by not-for-profit organisations and communities, transforming the ecosystem towards the SDGs and beyond.

Releasing the publication at the first forum on ‘Delivering Development: Journeys, Directions and Lighthouses’Ms. Ruchira Kamboj, Permanent Representative of India to the UN, said, “We refuse to make a choice between fighting poverty and protecting our planet; instead, we will pursue sustainable, inclusive, and equitable transitions that leave no one behind. In this spirit of fostering transparency and sharing best practices, I am delighted to announce that we have just released a comprehensive report “Ideas, Innovation, Implementation: India’s Journey towards the SDGs.”

Speaking at the second panel on South Rising: Partnerships, Institutions and Ideas’India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on SDGs, green development, women-led development, and digital public infrastructure would determine global progress for the next decade and transition would be driven by the Global South. “We need political rebalancing and economic rebalancing as part of the G20. None of this can go beyond a point unless there is cultural rebalancing which is respecting the diversity of the world, giving other cultures and traditions their due respect. From millets to traditional medicine, respecting others’ heritage, tradition, music, ways of life – these are parts of the change the global south would like to see.”

Ms Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Jamaica, built a strong articulation of India’s support especially to smaller countries. “In a situation where you had to call on friends for support, the question was, who could you call, and more importantly, who would answer. India answered. India answered the world and the small countries in the Caribbean,” adding, “We believe in the Indian approach. We cannot see ourselves as victims, but we need to innovate and find new ways. We need to prove ourselves. India has done it. India walks the talk as we have seen. We take inspiration in Vasudaiva Kutumbakam.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Mr Hugh Hilton Todd, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Republic of Guyana, said, “Multilateralism needs leadership. That’s what India is providing. India, as a country, is extremely humble and responsible. Quietly, India has been taking care of its people and the rest of the world. It’s only natural that India has earned its rightful place in helping not only by providing leadership in the global south but helping to advance integration. India has proven itself to be a responsible partner and leader.”

Mr João Gomes Cravinho, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Portugal, said, “Behind political will are many interests, intentions of various sorts. To talk about political courage, we need outstanding leadership.To talk about political courage, at the same time, we need a transformation of the way people view their own interests. We must seek to transform the way that people look at the realities they face.”

Reliance Foundation along with ORF and United Nations India hosted two key dialogues amid the UNGA week focussing on the overarching theme of India’s journey towards SDGs.  The dialogue – ‘Delivering Development: Journeys, Directions and Lighthouses’ focused on India’s agenda aiming to address priorities and challenges of developing nations, including economic empowerment and growth, financial stability, improved health and educational outcomes, food and energy security, and climate resilience, and towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The second dialogue – ‘South Rising: Partnerships, Institutions and Ideas’ discussed the role of India and the Global South in advancing UN’s Sustainable Development Goals agenda focusing on the significant role these regions play towards global development. High-level delegates at the two events were from multilateral, global and Indian non-profit, academia and corporate philanthropies.

Mr Jagannatha Kumar CEO, Reliance Foundation spoke of the need to think beyond 2030. Mr Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator, India spoke of the importance of public private and multi-stakeholder conversations towards the SDGs. Mr Samir Saran, President, ORF, spoke of the importance of bringing attention to the voices of those invisibilised in the world.

Each case study in the publication released at these events highlights one specific SDG which could bring a potential transformation if scaled and replicated in other geographies, highlights how implementation of the ideas could hasten the journey to the SDGs along while providing a foundation for a post-2030 agenda. With context, problem, approach and details of implementation innovations and impact, the cases provide exemplars for the development sector in India and across the world.

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