Executive Secretary visits India, underscores importance of SDG partnerships

ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Alisjahbana made her first visit to India from 17 to 22 January. India’s strong commitment towards common regional programmes on sustainable development and working together towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals was emphasized during the Executive Secretary’s meetings and interactions with several officials including H.E. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India; H.E. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry; H.E. Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of Power, New & Renewable Energy; H.E. Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat State; Mr. A. Gitesh Sharma, Secretary and Vice-Minister of External Affairs; and representatives from the Ministry of Science and Technology. She also met with key players such as Dr. Upendra Tripathy, Director General of the International Solar Alliance; Mr. P.K. Taneja, Director of the SAARC Disaster Management Centre; and Mr. Jin Liqun, President of AIIB.

As part of her visit, Ms. Alisjahbana participated in the 9th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, a biennial meeting to brainstorm global socio-economic development agendas, facilitate knowledge sharing and forge partnerships. In her keynote speech at the High-Level Plenary of the International Solar Alliance on Solar Energy Forum, she lauded India’s role as a leader in sustainable energy, adding that “solar energy will play a major part in contributing to SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy. It is a key opportunity we must seize – for low carbon development, energy security and extreme poverty alleviation by 2030.” She further emphasized on the need to increase access to solar finance, lowering the cost of technology and building solar skills of administrators, engineers and planners in order to support their role in realizing the welfare benefits for South and South-West Asian economies.

In addition, Ms. Alisjahbana also held roundtable discussions on SDG implementation with several leading think-tanks such as Niti Aayog and the Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries (RIS) as well as colleagues from the ESCAP Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia, Asia and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) and the UN country team in India.