Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said that South Asian countries must work in tandem to achieve the goals for peace and prosperity of their people….reports Asian Lite News
“We in South Asia have not only a shared history, a contiguous geography, but also a shared destiny,” Mahajan said in her inaugural speech of the South Asian Speakers’ Summit, being held from February 18-20.
“We must work in tandem to achieve the goals for peace and prosperity of our people,” she said.
She stressed that Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set global priorities for the progress of humanity.
“The SDGs emphasise on achieving a balance between the three pillars of economic growth, social development and environmental protection,” Mahajan said.
“I personally feel that this approach somehow was very much required in our contemporary growth and development strategy.”
“In my view immediate relevance of the goals to the local priorities at the national and sub-national levels actually holds the key. Much of India’s development agenda is mirrored in the SDGs,” she said.
“I strongly feel that development at the cost of our culture is not sustainable,” the Lok Sabha Speaker pointed out.
Mahajan said the past tells us how civilisational strengths may steer us through the contemporary challenges.
Emphasising on the development of the people, she said: “I must also mention here that first and foremost is the citizen. No development is possible and sustainable unless it has a human face.”
In her address Mahajan pitched for an inclusive and broad based economic growth to reduce the widening gap between the rich and the poor and said that effective delivery of schemes, which targets the people at the bottom of the socio-economic strata of the society, was needed.
“The common road map to end poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, ignorance, disease and discrimination, especially of the girl child, requires conscious effort and concerted action from all of us here to achieve the desired results,” she added.
She said that South Asian region is endowed with vast natural resources, rich culture and ancient heritage, but despite that the region is plagued by poverty and conflicts.
“It is said that 21st century belongs to Asia. This can happen only when we are able to surmount the challenges before our countries and the South Asian region as a whole.”
During her address Mahajan also highlighted the importance of gender equality and said there was an urgent need for continuous efforts to be made to promote the welfare of the girl child.
“Elimination of child marriage, access to reproductive healthcare facilities and overall emphasis on hygiene and personal care of women are few of the critical areas we have to concentrate upon,” she said.
Mahajan also spoke on climate change and said the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating global response to climate change.
“Nature has been the guiding philosophy of the Indian way of living. We are committed to a sustainable path to prosperity,” she said.
“India and its Parliament is committed to working with the international community to craft an ambitious, comprehensive and equitable development agenda with poverty eradication at its core,” Mahajan concluded.