With the UN working on an ambitious post-2015 development agenda, India has said it must be built around universality of issues and should ensure that developed countries are made accountable for their specific actions and commitments.
"In our view, there is no contradiction between the principle of differentiation and the notion of universality. Both complement each other and a balance of both is well captured in the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities," India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji said during the first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Post-2015 Development Agenda here yesterday.
He said the universality demands an agenda that is equally relevant as well as applicable to both the developing and developed countries.
"Unlike in the past, this time the developed countries will also be called into account for their specific actions and commitments," Mukerji said, adding that the ambitious global agenda must also be built around universality of issues and differentiation in action.
He said that for India the "primary touchstone for the Post-2015 Development Agenda is that it is an agenda for growth and development. We want an agenda that can propel sustained and inclusive economic growth in all countries, particularly developing countries."
Outlining India's key suggestions, Mukerji said the post-2015 development agenda must adhere to the test of multilateralism and there must be shift from the Millennium Development Goals model of addressing the symptoms of lack of development, to a new model that addresses drivers of development and growth.
"We need to bear in mind that this is an agenda for international cooperation. It should go beyond merely identifying global problems and providing policy prescriptions, and aim at genuine collaboration by pooling efforts of different countries and stakeholders in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities, to solve those problems," he said.
The international community must keep its sights on the centrality of the political, economic, moral and ethical imperative of ending poverty, Mukerji said.
"We must not lose sight of this overarching objective of this agenda. The needs and concerns of 1.3 billion men, women and children deprived of a life of dignity across the world must be our topmost priority," Mukerji said, adding that it must be ensured that development is sustainable across economic, social and environmental dimensions.
Nations must also build on what they have achieved and move forward, he said.
"Given the remarkably short time available to us and in light of other parallel processes in which we will be engaged, we need to eschew the tendency to re-open discussions or re-invent the wheel. This could delay or stymie our progress," he added.
Mukerji said the foundation for the Post-2015 Development Agenda was laid by the outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference, which contains the international consensus at the highest level on the entire gamut of sustainable development.
The building blocks of the agenda have in turn been put in place by the outcomes of the Rio+20 follow-up processes, he said, adding that, "these must remain the basis on which we move forward."
The international community must also embrace ambition and not revert back to business-as-usual, the Indian envoy said.
"The integrated and comprehensive agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals displays a remarkable level of ambition. Never before has the international community articulated an action-oriented agenda across such a wide spectrum," Mukerji said.
"Will we now match this ambition of the substance of the agenda with equally ambitious template of action to achieve it? Will we create the conditions necessary to enhance international cooperation for development, or will we slip back into well-rehearsed policy shibboleths, particularly when it comes to means of implementation, finance, technology," he said.