Marking a crucial difference between climate change and climate justice, Mr. Modi pointed out that India was on a sustainable path towards prosperity by focussing on energy efficiency, carrying out afforestation on a large scale and cleaning up rivers.
“The bedrock of our collective enterprise is common but differentiated responsibilities. When we speak of climate change, there is a hint unspoken of safeguarding what we already have. But when we speak of climate justice, then the responsibility of saving the poor from the vagaries of climate is something that will help us evolve positive thoughts,” he said in his 13-minute speech to the General Assembly.
This strand of thought was peppered throughout his address; coming up once again while chiding the economic development dichotomy of public sector and private sector. “What we [India] have done is focus on a new sector which we have defined as a personal sector of individual enterprise. So we have public, private and personal. We refer to this sector of individual enterprise as one that includes microfinance, innovation and start-ups,” he said.
The Prime Minister also stressed that international partnerships, or “the very reason that all countries were gathered in the United Nations” this weekend, were crucial in efforts directed towards development or the challenges of climate change.
Quoting and referring to Jan Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya, Modi also placed particular emphasis on the elimination of poverty, pointing out that it wasn’t just a question of moral responsibility.
“The question we face is not just how to meet the needs of the poor. And nor is it simply a question of the dignity and respect of the poor. If our shared vision is that of a just world, a peaceful world, and a world with sustainable development then this will never be possible as long as there is poverty. Eliminating poverty, therefore, is really the highest obligation we have.”
He also echoed the passionate plea of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had spoken just before Prime Minister Modi, for reform of the United Nations Security Council, referring it to as a question of “greater credibility and legitimacy”. If the United Nations had a more broadbase representation, it would be “more effective in reaching its goals.”
The Wire is covering the UNGA session at the invitation of the United Nations