Describing India as “one of the leaders of the Global South”, U.N. General Assembly President Csaba Korosi has said there are large similarities between the Indian strategic thinking and that of the U.N. body on the need for transformation in the world.
Mr. Korosi will arrive in India on Sunday on a three-day visit at the invitation of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. It is his first bilateral visit to any country since he assumed his role as President of the 77th session of the U.N. General Assembly in September 2022.
“I’m traveling to India with very high hopes,” he told PTI ahead of his visit.
“I see similarities, large similarities between the Indian strategic thinking of how this world should look like, what kind of transformation this world needs and the thinking in the General Assembly (of) how we transform ourselves, how we transform this organisation and how we transform some of the dealings we have in the world. So, my key message will be to the partners – I’m going there to seek cooperation,” Mr. Korosi said.
His discussions with Mr. Jaishankar are expected to focus on India’s engagement with the U.N. body as well as sustainable water use.
Terming India as “one of the leaders of the Global South,” Mr. Korosi said India is among the largest economies in the world and is about to become the most populous nation on the planet.
“India has a good feeling that this world is changing very rapidly. India is experiencing many of the crises we are facing, in different forms, in an interlinking manner, all across the world. India is looking for her own solutions and, in many instances, not only for herself, but for many other countries,” he said.
Mr. Korosi noted that he finds his Presidency’s motto of ‘solutions through solidarity, sustainability and science’ “very much echoing” with some of the priorities of the Indian government, India’s G20 presidency and the country’s long-term vision for growth and development.
India assumed the year-long G20 presidency on December 1 2022, amid challenges of the Ukraine conflict and global economic slowdown.
“I see and sense the huge challenge the Indian presidency is facing,” he said.
Mr. Korosi will visit India’s G20 Secretariat and meet with a delegation led by G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant. He noted that the G20, created after the Asian financial meltdown, has grown institutionally and expanded its agenda into several other areas.
The ‘One Earth· One Family· One Future’ slogan of the Indian G20 presidency is “very, very broad” and “it means the Indian presidency is looking for a global responsibility in terms of G20,” he said.
He noted that the war in Ukraine has had an impact on many platforms and deliberations because of the “deep geopolitical divide”.
Mr. Korosi stressed that he was looking forward to discussing with Mr. Kant how he believes the G20 platform can contribute to the crisis management in the world and to the transformation in the world.
Because I see a potential similarity of what (G20) platform can offer to the world and what the General Assembly can provide to the international community, he said.
Korosi also hopes to discuss “in a concrete manner” with the Indian government and stakeholders solutions for pressing global challenges, including food security and stability, water and energy crises, evaluate how water and climate agendas can be integrated, as well as ways to jointly boost implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“SDGs are about the transformation of the world. Obviously, there are many good results across the globe in many countries but the overall result is still rather disappointing. Where India goes, it counts,” he said.
Mr. Korosi pointed out that a “serious missing part” from the evaluation of the implementation of the SDGs is scientific support.
“The scientific support is way too unorganised and weak,” he said, adding that he hopes to discuss ways to jointly develop science-based evaluation and validation support for SDGs, as well as for the water and climate agendas.
A main focus of Mr. Korosi’s visit will also be making connections between the General Assembly and science, particularly on water, ahead of the U.N. Water Conference set to take place at the U.N. Headquarters in March co-hosted by Tajikistan and the Netherlands.
Mr. Korosi will travel to Bengaluru, where he is expected to visit a water project site and interact with national scientists and academics at the Indian Institute of Science.
On issues related to sustainable water use, Korosi said India began facing much of the water challenges, including drought, declining groundwater levels, pollution of freshwater resources, floods, earlier than some other countries in the world.
“India has experience in those fields from a much longer time than some other countries,” he said, adding that solutions to these challenges cannot be short-term or unsustainable.
He said the world needs to find some real game changers, including making water a driving engine of the economy, finding real value of water across the board – societal, economic and environmental.
Mr. Korosi cautioned that by 2040, about 40% of the inhabited globe will be facing very serious water shortage and difference between the availability of freshwater and demand will be 40%.
“That’s really really huge,” he said.
Water shortage is not just about drinking water or communal supplies but about food production.
“India is in a stage of experiencing some of the challenges and working on the solutions a bit earlier than some other countries,” Mr. Korosi said.
Stressing that these challenges require a different approach, Korosi said he hopes to have a “good discussion” with partners in the Indian government on how “we readjust our economic thinking when it comes to sustainability, water use and value of water.” “It may also boost the scientific thinking in this house,” he said, referring to the U.N.