India’s Priorities for the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly

A. Introduction

  The 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly [77th UNGA] will open on 13 September 2022 and will end on 12 September 2023. The General Debate of the 77th UNGA will be held from 20-26 September 2022. The theme of the General Debate will be "A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges"

  2. H.E. Mr. Csaba Korosi, Director of Environmental Sustainability at the Office of the President of Hungary, was elected to serve as President of the 77th session of the General Assembly on 7 June 2021.

  3. PGA-elect Korosi has outlined five priorities for his Presidency. These are: i) Standing firm on basic principles of the United Nations Charter; ii) Making significant and measurable progress in sustainability transformation; iii) Aiming at integrated, systemic solutions; iv) Enhancing role of science in decision-making; and v) Increasing solidarity to better endure new chapters of crises facing the world.

  4. As set out in PGA-elect's priorities, the challenges for the Member States in the coming year will be many. The world continues to grapple with the widespread and still unfolding socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing geo-political tensions. PGA-elect has called for continued reforms and strengthening cooperation among Member States.

  5. The Ukraine conflict and its aggravating impact on food security, supply of fuel, and fertilizers on the developing world require collective efforts at the UN to reach creative and affordable solutions. During the 77th UNGA, the UN membership should strive to achieve unity of purpose to find solutions to common challenges of the world.

  6. While the world is slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, this has slowed down the global efforts on the 2030 Agenda and reversed years of progress on poverty, hunger, health care, education, women empowerment, climate change, access to clean water, and environmental protection. The ‘Decade of Action’ for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) needs to be put back on track.

  7. Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time. Without drastic collective action, adapting to its impact in the future will be more challenging and costly.

  8. The pandemic has also impacted how we fight terrorism. The world has witnessed the increased use of terrorism by countries as a means of waging war against others. It is essential for all Member States to not only prevent squandering of gains that have been achieved so far, but also not accept excuses or any justification for terrorism, thereby diminishing the collective fight.

  9. These cross-national and cross-domain challenges demand global solidarity and reformed multilateralism, based on empowered, functional, and impact-oriented international institutions of governance.

  10. The 77th session of the UNGA will also see the continuation of the intergovernmental processes underway as a follow up to the Secretary General's Our Common Agenda Report, which was released as mandated by the UN@75 Political Declaration in September 2021. These processes include a proposed new UN Youth Office, and the Summit of the Future and its various possible thematic tracks, such as a New Agenda for Peace, a Global Digital Compact, and the Declaration for Future Generations. India will continue to play an active role in this process, with an emphasis on a development-centric approach that is Member States’ led and owned.

  11. Thus, the focus of the 77th UNGA will be on upholding the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, advancing sustainable development goals, overcoming the impact of the pandemic, stimulating development, combating terrorism, strengthening multilateralism, furthering of human rights, combating climate change, and promoting peace and security.

  12. India’s priorities during 77th UNGA will also be guided by its core foreign policy objectives, including supporting and enhancing overall domestic socio-economic growth and strengthening security in its immediate neighborhood, and leading collective global action, in line with the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

  13. India is currently serving its 2-year term as a non-permanent Member of the UN Security Council. During its time on the Council, India has strived to achieve its priorities, i.e., new opportunities for progress; an effective response to international terrorism; reforming the multilateral system; a comprehensive approach to international peace and security; and promoting technology with a human touch as a driver of solutions, by adopting an approach guided by the "Five S’s”, as set out by the Prime Minister: Samman (Respect); Samvad (Dialogue), Sahyog (Cooperation), and Shanti (Peace), to create conditions for universal Samriddhi (Prosperity).India’s overall objective during this tenure in the UN Security Council will be the achievement of N.O.R.M.S: a New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System. The ‘Five S’s will also be the guiding light in our approach to the 77th UNGA. India would also continue to strive to build on our achievements during our August 2021 Presidency of the Security Council, including the focus that was brought on international maritime security by Prime Minister Modi’s chairing of the UNSC and adoption of the first PRST on this topic by the Council; a discussion on technology and peacekeeping in the Council chaired by External Affairs Minister, and the adoption of a UNSC Resolution on “Protecting the Protectors” that was co-sponsored by all 15-Member States; and India’s contribution of US$ 1.6 million to UN to develop a situational awareness software platform, “UNITE AWARE” for assisting UN Peacekeeping Missions.

  14. At the 77th UNGA, India will also engage on a wide range of issues ranging from political, socio-economic and cultural issues, terrorism, peacekeeping, human rights, legal matters, to budgetary issues. India shall continue to project its longstanding and growing credentials as a leading South-South development partner, especially in the context of the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, Financing for Development and its leadership on climate change, including through the Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) movement, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)]. India’s approach and priorities in the 77th UNGA will also complement its initiatives as President of the G20 for 2023.

B. List of priority areas in 77th UNGA

  15. An indicative list of priority issues for India during 77th UNGA are:

  1. Maintain India’s active engagement as a leading voice on issues relating to sustainable development, financing for development, terrorism, and climate change.
  2. Strengthen engagement with fellow developing countries, especially LLDCs, LDCs and SIDS through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund and IBSA Fund in the spirit of South-South cooperation.
  3. Bring India’s perspective to debates relating to human rights including the right to development and continue to highlight India’s achievements in realizing the rights of different groups, including women, children, minorities, and persons with disabilities.
  4. Continue to showcase commitments and achievements in women-led development particularly women’s leadership and political participation at the grassroots level, promoting financial inclusion, prevention of sexual harassment and violence against women, providing access to clean cooking fuel, sanitation, safe drinking water and health coverage including maternal and child health etc.
  5. Continue to advocate the need for resilient global supply chains to sustain vaccine production to ensure equitably and affordable access. Promote Indian positions and arguments in consultations and subsequent inter-governmental negotiations on Universal Health Coverage.
  6. Attach greater prominence to issues relating to counter- terrorism; pushing for more transparency in the process of listing and delisting of entities and individuals in Security Council’s Sanction Committees.
  7. Engage substantively in matters relating to peacekeeping as a major Troop Contributing Country in finalizing of mandates for UN peacekeeping missions. Promote application of technology in peacekeeping Missions and seek accountability for crimes against Peacekeepers in line with Security Council Resolution 2589.
  8. Take forward India’s pragmatic and constructive approach on disarmament issues at the First Committee and UN Disarmament Commission and engage with all partners on issues related to outer space, cyberspace etc.
  9. Continue to pursue the issue of reform of the Security Council for a meaningful outcome in the 77th UNGA.
  10. Continue efforts to further increase the visibility and footprint of the use of Hindi@UN project.

Developmental issues and climate action

  16. 2030 Agenda: Strategies for a ‘New India’ and the country’s vision for 2030 are aligned with the spirit of achieving the 2030 Agenda. The various flagship programmes - Poshan Abhiyaan, Ayushman Bharat, Swacch Bharat, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Skill India, Ujjwala Yojana, Rural Electrification program, Smart Cities Mission – directly address the challenges highlighted by the SDGs. The slogan of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ mirrors the essence of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, of leaving no one behind.

  17. Localisation of SDGs has been ascribed utmost importance, as the States and Union Territories are the actual implementers of the country’s ambitious development agenda. India’s success in adopting, implementing, and monitoring SDGs stands testimony to the principle of cooperative federalism. While NITI Aayog sets the high-level framework and monitors progress at national and sub-national levels, the implementation of the SDG agenda is rigorously pursued at the district and block level. A special side-session highlighting the “Indian Model of SDG Localisation” during 2022 HLPF was a huge success. India stands ready to share best practices and experiences with partner countries as we reach halfway mark towards the 2030 Agenda.

  18. South-South Cooperation: India has considerable experience in South-South Cooperation, bilaterally as well as through collaboration with the UN. India has set up a US$ 150 million India-UN Development Partnership Fund, managed by UNOSSC. The Fund continues to support South-owned and South-led sustainable development projects with a focus on LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. In four years, the Fund has accumulated a portfolio of 66 projects in 52 countries. As part of Covid response, the India-UNDP Fund has commissioned projects in 15 countries ranging from Antigua & Barbuda in the Caribbean to Palau in the South Pacific. The IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Fund for the Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger also hosted at the UNOSSC is another unique mechanism for South-South Cooperation. India will also be an active participant in the 5th UN Conference on LDCs to be held in Doha, Qatar in March 2023. We will continue our commitment in building on our development partnerships.

  19. Financing for Development: The Addis Ababa Action Agenda aligns domestic & international resource flows, policies, and international agreements with economic, social and environmental priorities. The annual ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development (FfD Forum) is an intergovernmental process mandated to discuss the follow-up and review of the financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030Agenda. We will continue to contribute to this effort.

  20. Eradication of Poverty: One of the long-term effects of the pandemic and ongoing conflicts will be that millions of people will be pushed into extreme poverty. In India, we are implementing a comprehensive development strategy to end poverty in all its forms, through accelerated economic growth and broader social safety nets. We will continue to focus on poverty eradication at the 77th session and share our experience in reducing poverty.

  21. Focus on Climate and Water: The 77th session is associated with multiple conferences and meetings — such as COP27 on climate change in November 2022 that will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; the UN Water Conference in March 2023 that aims to take concerted action to achieve the internationally agreed water-related goals and targets; the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15-second part) in December 2022 that will see the adoption of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, providing a strategic vision and roadmap for the conservation, protection, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity for the next decade. India’s involvement and voice in these forums will indicate our strong momentum in actively responding to the needs of our planet.

  22. India is a leader in Climate Action. Addressing the challenge of climate change requires us to evolve a comprehensive approach which covers education to values, and lifestyle to developmental philosophy. The Prime Minister of India H.E. Mr. Narendra Modi has raised this at various forums, including at COP 26 in Glasgow, where he highlighted the importance of individual behavior change for catalyzing climate action as part of a Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) Movement. LiFE was launched on World Environment Day 2022. It envisions making individual behavior change the center of the climate action narrative and sustainable lifestyles a global mass movement, thus inviting measurable and scalable behavior change solutions to drive climate-friendly actions amongst individuals and communities.

  23. India is one of the few countries that have delivered on its climate action commitments and increasing use of renewable energy going forward. India is also making all efforts towards collective action and building partnerships in the spirit of SDG17 to strengthen climate action. Some of these global initiatives include the International Solar Alliance, the Leadership Group on Industry Transition and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. We remain committed to continuing the path of ambitious climate action to achieve greener transition for achieving Agenda 2030.

  24. As we go into COP 27 this year, there are several threads that need to be addressed: Climate Ambition needs to go hand-in hand with the framework for financial, technical, and capacity building support to countries that need it. It is equally important for countries to fulfill their pre-2020 commitments. The developed countries with their historical experiences, must take lead in the global transition towards net-zero. A global Net-Zero should be based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and of equity, where developing countries will be peaking later given their respective sustainable development paths. Consequently, in order to vacate the carbon space in 2050 for developing countries to grow, the developed countries should, in fact be Net-Minus.

  25. India along with South Africa has taken the lead in the WTO on a COVID-19 vaccine Intellectual Property Rights waiver and the use of flexibilities of the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health. We are working actively with GAVI, WHO and ACT Accelerator. India will continue to mobilize Member States towards ensuring equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

  26. India’s approach to the Education Transforming Education Summit (TES) scheduled on Monday 19 September 2022, would be in line with the National Education Policy, which adopts innovative methods to meet the needs of the 21st century.

D. Human Rights and Social Issues

  27. In the coming year, high-level UNGA meetings on appraisal of the Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage (September 2023) and on Tuberculosis will be convened.

  28. During the 77th session of the General Assembly, India would continue to play a constructive and balancing role on all women-related matters considering India’s emphasis on women-led development and protection and promotion of women’s rights and their central role in implementation of SDGs. India will continue its close cooperation with developing countries, including in the framework of G77 and NAM on social development issues.

  29. India will continue to emphasize that discussions on Human Rights at the UN should be held with a constructive approach and the human rights processes at the UN should emphasize on dialogue, cooperation, transparency and non-selectivity in the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone. The focus of the Human Rights Council, the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Special Rapporteurs and the entire Treaty Body mechanisms must be to strengthen the capabilities of national governments in their efforts towards promotion and protection of human rights. India has presented three Universal Periodic Reviews on its implementation of various human rights conventions.

  30. Under the plenary agenda item ‘Culture of Peace’, India will call upon the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations for greater inclusivity in the dialogue process to ensure that the inter-religious dialogue is broad-based and encompasses all faiths and is not selective. India would continue to impress that the Alliance should not be used as a platform for divisive political rhetoric and must focus on issues that unite us.

  31. Commission for Social Development, a functional commission of ECOSOC, is the advisory body responsible for the social development pillar of global development. It is the key United Nations body in charge of the follow up and implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995. The sixty-first session of the Commission will take place in February 2022 on the priority theme “Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a way of overcoming inequalities to accelerate the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. India will continue to use the general debate and other platforms to highlight its national policies and programs focused on inclusive growth, in line with SDGs, and directed towards realization of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ [Self-reliant India].

  32. India is a member of the Commission on the Status of Women, a functional commission of the UN ECOSOC, the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Commission takes a leading role in monitoring and reviewing progress and problems in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and in mainstreaming a gender perspective in UN activities. The sixty-seventh session of the Commission will take place in March 2023 on the priority theme “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. Given India’s leadership role in deployment of technology for efficient public services, the focus will be to share best practices and advocate greater role for women in innovation and technological changes, including digital learning. India will continue to play an active role in negotiating concise and forward-looking sets of recommendations for gender equality and women empowerment globally.

  33. India is a member of the Commission on Population and Development, a functional commission of ECOSOC, which plays primary role in the follow-up to the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) by reviewing and assessing the implementation of the Programme of Action at the national, regional, and international levels. The fifty-sixth session of the Commission will take place in April 2023 on the theme “Population, Education and Sustainable Development”. India will continue to support the working of the Commission interlinking diverse aspects of population, development and human rights in line with the commitment made at the ICPD held in Cairo in 1994. The general debate and other meetings will be utilized to highlight the significant progress made by India in the field of population and sustainable development with a particular focus on inclusive development.

  34. India is a member of the Committee on NGOs of the ECOSOC which is the inter-governmental body responsible for granting consultative status with ECOSOC to non-governmental organizations (NGOs). As of July 2021, 6,610 NGOs enjoy active consultative status with ECOSOC. While supporting the role of civil society in the working of the UN, India will continue to discharge its duty by exercising due diligence in assessing applications with an aim to prevent misuse of the status by dubious NGOs associating with the UN.

E. Decolonization

  35. India was the co-sponsor of the landmark 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly, which proclaimed the need to unconditionally end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations. In 1962, India was elected as the first chair of the Decolonization Committee (Committee of 24) that was established to monitor implementation of the 1960 Declaration and to make recommendations on its application. India continues to be an active member of the Committee.

F. Disarmament and non-proliferation

  36. India is steadfast in its commitment to the goal of universal, non- discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament. As a responsible nuclear weapon State, India is committed as per its nuclear doctrine, to maintain credible minimum deterrence with the posture of no-first use and non-use against non-nuclear weapon States. Without diminishing the priority we attach to nuclear disarmament, India supports the immediate commencement of negotiations in the CD of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty on the basis of CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein, which remains the most suitable basis for negotiations to commence, as reinforced by the outcomes of the GGE on FMCT as well as the High-Level Expert Preparatory Group on FMCT.

  37. India attaches very high importance to the CWC and supports all efforts to strengthen the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to enable it to fulfill its mandate within the framework of the Convention.

  38. India has been consistent in expressing concerns on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, which endangers international peace and security. There is also a growing concern in the international community about the possibility of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Through its annual Resolution at the UNGA, titled "Measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction", India has been drawing the attention of the world towards these threats and the need to strengthen international cooperation to address them. India will continue pursue this agenda during 77th UNGA.

  39. As a developing country and a major space-faring nation, India has vital interests in space activities and technologies that contribute to economic and social development. India has a significant space programme and a well-established framework for international cooperation. India is also a party to major international treaties and conventions relating to outer space activities such as the Outer Space Treaty, Rescue Agreement, Liability Convention and the Registration Convention. India believes that Outer Space should remain an ever-expanding frontier of cooperative endeavour rather than conflict. India will continue to contribute constructively to the discussions under the Open-Ended Working Group on Reducing Space Threats through norms, rules and principles of Responsible Behaviours to further promote and develop common understandings during UNGA 77.

  40. Cyberspace is facing an increasing number of challenges in the form of threats and its use for criminal and terrorist purposes. Incidents involving the malicious use of ICTs by States and non-State actors have increased in scope, scale, severity, and sophistication. While ICT threats manifest differently across regions, their effects are global and pose a significant risk to international security and stability, economic and social development, as well as the safety and well-being of individuals. Recognising the disparity in cyber preparedness among Member States to tackle various cyber threats and the need to enhance their cyber capabilities, India had proposed the development of a “Global Cyber Security Cooperation Portal” (GCSCP), anchored at the United Nations, as a global platform for international cooperation and coordination amongst Member States on security of cyber infrastructure and improving cyber capabilities. India will pursue the establishment of this portal along with like-minded countries during UNGA 77 under the auspices of the United Nations in the form of Open-Ended Working Group on security in the use of information and communication technologies 2021–2025 and other similar fora.

G. Peacekeeping

  41. India is proud of its long and rich tradition of contribution to UN peacekeeping operations. India has contributed more than 260,000 troops in 49 Missions over the years, cumulatively the largest from any country. UN peacekeepers today operate in a complex security environment involving armed groups, non-state actors and terrorists. The ever-expanding mandates of peacekeeping missions with limited resources has only added to the challenges and complexities that peacekeepers face on the ground. The strategy of peacekeepers needing to do more with less, is pushing peacekeeping missions a point of crisis. Peacekeeping missions cannot be a long-term response to what are fundamentally political problems.

  42. Against this background, India will work with other troop and police contributing countries towards reducing the burden on peacekeepers with responsibilities which ought to primarily lie with the host state or other relevant international organizations.

  43. India will seek to improve host state capabilities, especially in security institutions, so as to enable host states to discharge their responsibilities towards protection of civilians and safety and security of Peacekeepers. India will seek to guide the responsible introduction of technology in Peacekeeping Missions with a view to provide maximum benefit to Peacekeepers and local populace.

  44. Finally, India will continue to advocate authorization of carefully thought-out mandates to peacekeepers in close consultation with troop contributing countries.

F. Counter Terrorism

  45. India has always been at the forefront of global counter terrorism efforts. In 1996, long before the adoption of Resolution 1373, India took the initiative to pilot the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism with the objective of providing a comprehensive legal framework to combating terrorism. India has signed and ratified all the major conventions and protocols on terrorism adopted by the UN and is part of all major global initiatives in that regard.

  46. The world will witness the 21st anniversary of 9/11 attack days prior to the UNGA 77. The resolution 1373, adopted in the aftermath of 9/11 attack in 2001, and the Counter Terrorism Committee continue to the important pillars of the global architecture against terrorism. Other UN initiatives, including the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, also play an important part in augmenting capabilities of member States and extending technical and capacity building assistance. The UN sanctions regime has also been an effective tool in the fight against terrorism.

  47. In recent years, terrorist groups and lone wolf attackers have significantly enhanced their capabilities by gaining access to new and emerging technologies, including drones, virtual currencies, and encrypted communications. Social media networks have contributed to the radicalization and recruitment of youth. The COVID-19 pandemic has only further aggravated the situation. Today, the world needs reinvigorated efforts to combat terrorism. Recent developments in our neighbourhood have raised the anxiety of countries with respect to weakening of global efforts to fight terror. The threat of terrorism pervades across the globe with terrorists adopting to the new situations and expanding to new territories. Cross-border terrorism remains a political tool for certain countries with established credentials of harboring terrorists’ sanctioned by the Security Council. Nothing can, and should justify terrorism.

  48. India has proposed the following eight-point action plan to the international community in the fight against terrorism: (i) Summon the political will: don’t justify terrorism, don’t glorify terrorists, (ii) No double standards. Terrorists are terrorists; distinctions are made only at our own peril, (iii) Don’t place blocks and holds on listing requests without any reason, (iv) Discourage exclusivist thinking and be on guard against new terminologies and false priorities, (v) Enlist and delist objectively, not on political or religious considerations, (vi) Recognize the linkage to organized crime, (vii) Support and strengthen the FATF, and (viii) Provide greater funding to the UN Office of Counter Terrorism.

  49. Terrorism is a priority theme of our two-year tenure in the Security Council from 2021-22. Our action in the council envisages strengthening the multilateral response to counter terrorism. Equally important is to ensure that combating terrorism remains at the center of “Our Common Agenda” set out by the Secretary General, and not at its periphery. 

  50. As Chair of the Counter Terrorism Committee of the Security Council, India is proposing to organize a Special Meeting of the Committee in Mumbai and New Delhi in October 2022 focusing on the increasing threat posed by the misuse of new and emerging technologies. The special meeting will especially focus on three significant areas where emerging technologies are experiencing rapid development, growing use by Member States (including for security and counter-terrorism purposes), and increasing threat of abuse for terrorism purposes, namely (a) the Internet and social media, (b) terrorism financing, and (c) unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

  51. India will continue to pursue implementation of the above priorities in the 77th UNGA and work with other like-minded member states to end the stalemate preventing the adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

I. UN Reforms

The reforms of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council will continue to be one of the top priorities for India during the 77th UNGA. Towards this end, India will continue to pursue the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) process in a purposeful manner to initiate text-based negotiations to be conducted with an overall objective of achieving concrete outcomes in a fixed time-frame.