With those inspiring words, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed urged a group of nine young changemakers she met in New Delhi earlier this month to continue to advocate for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Deputy Secretary-General met the changemakers during a three-day visit to India – which currently holds the presidency of the G20 -- that focused on the SDGs, climate action and financing for development.
Working in fields ranging from the environment to education to gender to technology, the changemakers are either heading up or involved in local SDG initiatives across the country. They gathered in New Delhi for a roundtable discussion with the Deputy Secretary-General to see how SDG progress can be accelerated as we reach the halfway mark towards the 2030 Agenda.
Ms. Mohammed, who was joined on her visit to India by the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, also met External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Environment, Forest & Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav and other senior Government ministers and officials.
She praised India for its leadership in climate action, in South-South cooperation and in incorporating the SDGs into its G20 presidency, which will culminate with a leaders’ summit in New Delhi in early September.
During her trip, which took her to New Delhi, Bengaluru and Agra, the Deputy Secretary-General also met the UN Country Team, tech industry leaders, entrepreneurs, academics and researchers, as well as the youth changemakers.
In Bengaluru, the Deputy Secretary-General visited the campus of Infosys, where she learned about the company’s efforts to increase digital public infrastructure in India and elsewhere – the aim being to make many basic goods more accessible and affordable for more people.
Then she participated in a roundtable at IISC (Indian Institute of Science) Bangalore, where academics and researchers discussed the pioneering projects they are working on with the help of technology, include artificial intelligence (AI) in some cases.
The Deputy Secretary-General noted how many cutting-edge tech initiatives are coming out of India but urged academia to do more to engage directly with policymakers and in public debates so that their knowledge and expertise is not lost to the rest of societies.
Ms. Mohammed is visiting a number of countries around the world in the lead-up to the SDG Summit, to be held at UN Headquarters in New York in September.
While in India she also visited the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and what she described as a testimony to the country’s rich cultural history and beauty.
Director, United Nations Information Centre for India & Bhutan