Coronavirus pandemic cannot be used as an excuse to not fulfill the commitments of the developed countries or to undermine environmental conventions, said TS Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Addressing the 75th Session of UNGA 44th Annual Meeting of the G-77 Foreign Ministers through video conferencing, Tirumurti urged the developed countries to undertake activities to strengthen “Convention-Plus” actions and not do “Convention-Minus”.

“2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and Financing for Development framework should lay the foundations for our efforts. We need to impress on our developed country partners to do more and show the necessary urgency,” he said.

He further said, “Covid pandemic cannot be used as an excuse to not fulfill their commitments or to undermine environmental conventions. We call on them to undertake activities to strengthen “Convention-Plus” actions and not do “Convention-Minus”.

The International Solar Alliance spearheaded by Prime Minister Modi where India has pledged USD 1.7 billion for solar energy projects, and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, are all “Convention-Plus” activities. “COVID-19 threatens to set back decades of progress by developing countries and push millions into poverty. We need to raise our voice for recovery, resilience and reform to ensure that we go back to path of development,” he said.

Urging the need for affordable health systems and resilient supply chains, Tirumurti said that India is assisting in urgent health and medical supplies to over 150 countries. “We have pledged USD 15 million for GAVI and operationalized the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for our neighbours with an initial contribution of USD 10 million. Prime Minister Modi has pledged that India, as the largest vaccine producing country, will make its production and delivery capacity available to the entire humanity,” he said.

He further said that India’s involvement in the digital revolution will be a “model for the developing world in the global response to COVID”.

Speaking on the South-South cooperation, he said, “We have never let geography limit our approach to assist the developing world. India-CARICOM Leaders Meeting, India-Pacific Islands Summit, India-ASEAN Summits, India-Africa Forum Summits and other Summits have further strengthened the special bonding between India and fellow developing countries.”

On India’s development cooperation, the Ambassador said, “We will be guided by our partners’ development priorities. Our assistance does not create indebtedness and is without conditionalities. Our concessional Lines of Credit of over USD 30 billion, our grants-in-aid projects, and our flagship training and capacity building project under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) have made a huge contribution to fellow developing countries.”

“The USD 150 million India-UN Development Partnership Fund continues to support transformational sustainable development projects with a focus on LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS,” he said.

While reiterating India’s commitment to work with its partners from the Global South in the G-77 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Tirumurti said, “In the spirit of “World Is One Family”, India’s approach will be human-centric, based on principles of mutual respect and national ownership with a commitment to sustainable development for all.”