Sushma, UNDP chief discuss sustainable development goals

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday discussed the implementation of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) among other issues with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark.

“The external affairs minister said that India had already started working on seven out of the 17 goals with concrete policies and programmes,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup stated.

Sushma Swaraj told Clark, a former prime minister of New Zealand, that particular emphasis has been given to the issues of sanitation and gender equality.

She also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his reply to the president’s address to the joint session of parliament, had also called for a special day in each of the parliament sessions devoted to discussions on SDGs.

“Helen Clark lauded India’s important role on the board of the UNDP and said India was the second biggest contributor to the UNDP among the G-77 countries,” Swarup said.

“The external affairs minister also alluded to the close cooperation with the UNDP for the administration of the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) fund which had assisted several developmental projects around the world,” he said.

Saturday’s discussions also touched on climate change and the Conference of Parties (CoP) 21 climate summit in Paris last year and the progress required by countries moving from Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Sushma Swaraj also briefed Clark on the International Solar Alliance, an initiative of Prime Minister Modi, and its secretariat that has been set up in India.

“The UNDP administrator mentioned natural disasters as posing the biggest threat to SDGs,” Swarup said.

“In this context, she lauded India’s disaster risk reduction capabilities which India had also offered to other developing countries,” he added.

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