Terming India as a “very important player” of the multilateral system, UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa on Sunday said that the country’s success in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals can change the face of the world.
Looking forward to engaging and working together with India, Espinosa said to PTI in an interview, “India is indeed a very important player of the multilateral system. It is a friendly country to the United Nations. If India succeeds in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda - we are talking about 1.3 billion people - this really can change the face of the world.”
Espinosa was elected as the president of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in June. The former Ecuadorian foreign minister is the only fourth female president of the organisation in its 73-year history.
Before assuming office as UNGA president, Espinosa had visited India and had held meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Recalling her visit to India, she said she was touched to see how the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) were being implemented on the ground in the country.
Espinosa also congratulated Prime Minister Modi for being conferred with the United Nations’ highest environmental honour, the ‘UNEP Champions of the Earth’ award, recognising his leadership of the International Solar Alliance as well as his pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.
When asked about the several challenges India still faces in the health and sanitation sectors, the UNGA president said that India is a highly-populated country and the issue of rural and urban balance poses a grave challenge. Therefore, political will and proper planning are absolutely necessary to overcome the challenges and turn them into opportunities.