Donor priorities should not override poverty compulsions: India

United Nations, Feb 25 (IANS) Demanding an “unrelenting focus on poverty eradication,” India has said that the selective priorities of donor countries should not override the national development plans and needs of countries fighting poverty.

“Externally imposed prescriptions should be avoided and national policy space respected,” Amit Narang, a counsellor at India’s UN mission, told the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Wednesday. “We clearly cannot talk of balanced implementation of an integrated agenda and yet have funding structures and functional implementation that responds to selective donor priorities.”

“The UN system must also be responsive to and closely aligned to national development plans,” he added.

Addressing the issue of decision-making and prioritisation, he said, “A related important issue is that of the governance structures of the funds and programmes where imbalance in the representation of developing and developed countries needs to be addressed.”

Taking stock of the development scenario as the UN transitions to the ambitious programme of Agenda 2030, Narang said, “Even as the UN System prepares to rethink its role, it is of utmost importance that it does not slacken its focus on the needs of the poorest and the most deprived.”

Laying out the magnitude of the tasks ahead, he quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech to the recent ECSOC 70th anniversary special session, “While we have seen remarkable progress over the past 70 years, eradication of poverty remains the greatest unfinished business of the 20th century. It is also the most important unfulfilled objective of the United Nations.”

Narang added, “An unrelenting focus on poverty eradication as the central and primary objective should, therefore, remain at the heart of UN’s operational activities for development.”

While humanitarian crises should receive more support, it should not come at the cost of developmental activities which actually reduce the chances of humanitarian crises occuring, Narang said.

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