India’s development, SDGs and the rise of the global South: Reliance Foundation, ORF and UN India high-profile events in New York amid UNGA week


New York/Ahmedabad, Sept 23: As the world has gathered for the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly week, Reliance Foundation, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), and United Nations India will host two dialogues with the overarching theme, “India’s journey towards the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Delivering Development: Journeys, Directions and Lighthouses on 22nd September 2023 will focus on India’s ambitious agenda, which aims to address its priorities and challenges including improved health and educational outcomes, food and energy security, economic empowerment and growth, and climate resilience. India’s approach in its development journey towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals will be also be discussed in this dialogue. The second dialogue, on 23rd September 2023, South Rising: Partnerships, Institutions and Ideas, will discuss the role of India and the Global South in advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals agenda. The focus here will not only be on the significant role these regions play towards global development, but will also include deliberations on the post-2030 agenda and lessons to move forward from thereon.

A special publication ‘Ideas, Innovation, Implementation’ that delves into the work of development organisations in India across each of the 17 SDGs, will be released at the event. Speaking about the events, H.E. Ruchira Kamboj, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, stated, “As the world takes stock of how far we have reached towards achieving the SDGs, it is important to highlight stories of success that could be adapted in other contexts, especially by countries of the Global South. India’s development journey and innovative bottom-up multi-stakeholder approaches to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals offer exemplary models for other countries of the Global South.

Jagannatha Kumar, CEO, Reliance Foundation, said, “We need to think now, beyond 2030. Even as we take stock of our performance on the SDGs, the dialogues that we are jointly hosting during the UNGA week aim to open conversations to find innovative new ways to answer this question. It is time not just to take stock of how far we have reached, but also thinking beyond 2030, defining what our brave new world will look like. Presenting our ideas and experiences on a global platform during a significant time such as the UNGA is indeed an introspective time for organisations in the development sector. From the collective experiences of India, we have also seen resilience, a wealth of experiences and multiple insights on the path to development. As we explore these conversations, we look beyond towards actions – collective, concrete and concerted.”

Dr. Samir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation, said, “India has emerged decisively as the voice of the Global South, and its G20 presidency has foregrounded the priorities of the developing world. Our development agenda has long reflected the social, economic and environmental concerns that define the SDGs today. We are convinced that some of the approaches and practices we have evolved could act as lighthouses for other parts of the world, hasten our collective progress towards the 2030 Agenda, and serve as a legacy for the post-SDG era. In this context, the publication, Ideas, Innovation, Implementation, aims not simply to present a set of exemplary interventions, but also to spark dialogue about how we might innovate to build more equal societies, and a safe and prosperous planet.”

Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator, India, said, “While the SDGs remain our shared blueprint for a more prosperous and peaceful world by 2030, the world has fallen far behind at the halfway point. Yet India represents an increasing source of optimism that we can get back on track. From delivering domestic development results at a scale able to move the SDG needle, across poverty reduction, inclusive digitalization, women-led development and the energy transition, to bringing positive momentum to multilateralism and South-South cooperation, India is blazing new paths. A week ago, all eyes were on the G20 as world leaders gathered under to deliver an important consensus New Delhi Declaration with the SDGs at its core. We need to carry this same momentum forward to 2030 and beyond.”

The two dialogues are expected to feature high-level speakers and experts like Ruchira Kamboj, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations; Hemang Jani, Senior Advisor to Executive Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka, The World Bank Group; Melissa Fleming, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, United Nations Christopher Elias, President, Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and many more. Both dialogues will reinforce the commitment of various developmental organisations to generate continued dialogue, innovative partnerships, and new ideas in the pathway to accelerate the world’s progress towards the SDGs.