Sustainable Development Goals: Pioneering Solutions for India
Renata Lok-Dessallien, United Nations Resident Coordinator in India
(Speech as prepared)
Honourable Dr. Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council,
Mr. Rajeev Dubey, Convener of this 14th National Convention,
Mr. Vishvesh Prabhakar, Mr. Kamal Singh, Dr. Uddesh Kohli,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Namaste, and a very good morning to you all,
It’s wonderful to be with you all at this 14 National Convention, here in this extraordinary and creative mega-city of Mumbai.
I’ve only just arrived in India as the United Nation’s Resident Coordinator, and I can’t help feeling awed, by the size and depth of this country.
The entire population of my home country is only 1/3 the size of this state, Maharashtra!
And as I was looking into the concepts underpinning the Indian private sector’s approach toward CSR and the public good is steeped in ancient wisdom. I’m told that the idea of “trusteeship” espoused by Gandhi is traced back to the ancient Indian scriptures and the principles of: * detachment from worldly goods/ from greed
*the responsibility to help to share with those less fortunate
*compassion for and solidarity with human-kind.
These values have clearly influenced the evolution of India’s public and private sector policies over the years. And so, it is surely not by chance that this country is home to some of the world’s most ambitious public sector developmental schemes, and is a champion of Agenda 2030 and climate action on the global stage.
It is also not by chance that the Government has been emphasizing not only accelerated growth but also inclusive growth, inclusive development – development with all, for all, and with everyone’s trust.
And similarly, it cannot be by chance that India’s private sector not only excels in business for business sake, but is working creatively to implement, indeed maximize, the triple bottom-line approach — combining economic, environment and social value-creation.
As I am new to this country, I’ll be brief. Let me simply emphasize that I and the United Nations are here to work with you.
We are an ardent champion, indeed cheerleader, of businesses in Agenda 2030 and the SDGs.
It is well recognized that the SDGs will not be achieved by governments alone. The role of businesses is critical in closing the significant SDG financing gap, currently estimated at $1.5 trillion annually in developing countries in the Asia and Pacific region alone.
And as businesses create value through sustainable development, this could, as various studies have estimated, open new markets worth up to US$12 trillion and create 380 millionjobs worldwide by 2030 – more jobs than there are people in the United States today.
The business case for sustainable development and the creation of jobs in India is clear, and I have no doubt that Indian business leaders, many of whom are in this room, are taking the lead on this, both here at home and on the global stage.
UN agencies in India in addition, are deeply engaged with many of you on specific sustainable development goals. Two years ago, we launched the UN India Business Forum (a partnership among some of India’s key business players to tackle development challenges, through innovative solutions, disruptive partnerships and other actions aimed at accelerating progress toward the SDGs).
From this Forum’s platform, we launched last year the Investor Consortium for Women Entrepreneurs with NITI Aayog, an initiative to bring key ecosystem- stakeholders together with women entrepreneurs to help them access financing, know-how and market linkages.
We are also working with you as catalytic creators of innovative solutions,
through emerging technologies — artificial intelligence, big data, blockchains;
through financial solutions – including social impact bonds and impact investments; and
through social innovations and partnerships
Your success in achieving SDGs in India will be a double win: first for India and the great people of India, and second for humanity at large (by the sheer size of this country) by Indian investments abroad and through India’s sharing of her knowledge and know-how with other countries.
I also feel the humanistic ethos underpinning your CSR and your approach to business for the public good is something the world could seriously benefit from.
As the Representative of the United Nations in India, I look forward very much to working with you on your Sustainable Development innovations and solutions here in India, and on helping showcase them on the international stage.
Thank you, Dhanyavaad, and I wish you and very inspiring and successful convention.