The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, has addressed, through a video message, the special event in New York City, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Following is the text of the Prime Minister's address:
President of ECOSOC,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank the President of ECOSOC for inviting me to address the special meeting today to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Economic and Social Council.
On this occasion, I extend my sincere greetings and congratulations to all members of United Nations.
Mr. President, Excellencies,
The ECOSOC is a key pillar of the United Nations structure.
Its creation as a distinct part of United Nations is a testimony to the centrality of development in the vision of the founders of the UN.
To achieve a peaceful and prosperous world, we need to put in place, first and foremost, conditions for rapid socio-economic development; improvement in the human condition, and an end to hunger and deprivation.
India was a proud participant in the creation of this body.
An eminent citizen of India, Arcot Ramaswamy Mudaliar, was a key architect of ECOSOC.
He had the privilege of serving as the first President of ECOSOC at its inaugural session in 1946.
In his opening address to the ECOSOC’s first session, Ramaswamy defined what he saw was the role ECOSOC had to play in subsequent years.
He said and I quote: “On the work of this Council and on its ability to solve intricate economic problems of a complicated nature, depends the chance of achieving real security and peace in the world of the future”. Unquote
The work of the ECOSOC therefore, particularly the manner in which it advances the improvement in the human condition and ensures a life of dignity for all, is central to the overall agenda of the United Nations.
70 years have passed since this body was created. We are now 15 years into the 21st century. But has the ECOSOC managed to fulfill the expectations of our founders?
While we have seen remarkable progress over these 70 years, eradication of poverty remains the greatest unfinished business of the 20th century. It is also the most important unfulfilled objective of the United Nations.
The 70th anniversary of the ECOSOC could not have come at a more appropriate moment.
The international community has just given to itself a new comprehensive vision of development.
The ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, presents a valuable opportunity for the UN system to rethink its role and purpose, and make itself more effective.
It is now the responsibility of ECOSOC to rise up to this challenge and contribute to making this Agenda a success.
The 2030 Agenda is a reflection of the challenges faced by poorer countries.
We in the developing world not only have to end poverty and hunger and satisfy the legitimate aspirations of our people for a better life, we also have to do so in a manner that is friendly to the planet and environment.
The developed countries on the other hand, face enormous responsibilities to rapidly move their economies on to a sustainable path, follow sustainable lifestyles and assist developing countries with finance and technologies.
At the same time, we have enormous resources at our command. And technology today presents us with solutions that were unthinkable earlier.
The challenge is to channel the available resources and use technology to tackle the most urgent problems facing us.
I urge you to see this as an opportunity. To rejuvenate the Council, to make it more action oriented, policy relevant and more responsive to the needs and aspirations of our people.
In doing so, the guiding philosophy of the ECOSOC must always be the welfare of the poorest of the poor, or ‘Antyodaya’ in Indian thought.
So long as there is poverty in the world, so long as our people, no matter in which country, remain deprived of basic human amenities, freedoms, rights and opportunities, the work of the ECOSOC will not be complete.
I am confident that ECOSOC will live up to the dreams of the founding fathers of the United Nations.