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UN GCNI’s 17th National Convention


December 15, 2022: The Hyatt Regency, New Delhi hosted the 17th National Convention of the UN Global Compact Network India (UN GCNI), a regional affiliate of the United Nations Global Compact, New York. This was in association with CSR Times as their media partner.

The theme of the convention this year was “Sustainable Development Goals: Collaboration to Close the Commitment-Action Gap to Achieve Agenda 2030,” which focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its allied mechanisms to examine cooperative solutions as to how the government, private sector, not-for-profit organisations, and communities at large can contribute towards creating an ecosystem around laying a solid foundation for a sustainable future. The goal was to evaluate, act, and move quickly to implement Agenda 2030.

The National Convention offered a forum for bringing attention to SDG-related difficulties in India and for discussing solutions. The convention was attended by more than 300 people from the public and commercial sectors, business, lawmakers, civil society organisations, academia, and UN agencies. The one-day event featured a number of talks, including Scaling SDGs in Uncertain Times: Role of Technology & Innovation, Closing the Commitment Action Gap to Achieve Agenda 2030: Key Enablers and Accelerators – CEO perspective, Scaling SDGs in Uncertain Times: SDG Finance, Inclusive Growth, Job Creation, and Governance Mechanisms for SDG Progress Monitoring.

Unique Features of the Convention were:

  • Launch of UN GCNI – Accenture CEO Study on sustainability trends in India
  • Felicitation of Young Sustainable Champions of India’s Future Tycoons fourth edition
  • Launch of Joint Annual Calendar by UN GCNI & Citizens Foundation of India ‘GOALKEEPERS- Landmarks in India’s SDG Journey’.

Some Key takeaways were:

  • Understanding mechanisms for tracking progress on SDGs and ways to scale up action
  • Exchange of best practices, innovations championed by stakeholders and creating an integrated forum for the advancement of the SDG ladder
  • Providing an exemplary platform for businesses and other relevant stakeholders for dialogue and deliberation on SDGs and their progression.
  • Thinking through the Agenda 2030 lens and crafting an actionable plan on SDGs.
  • Promoting collective learning and fostering collaborations for inclusive and sustainable development.

From the Prominent speakers archive:

In his speech, Sh. Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Hon’ble Union Minister of India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, discussed the significance of sustainability and India’s role in advancing Agenda 2030. He emphasized the necessity for broad-based, concerted action at the national and international levels. He argued that in order for the necessary policy reforms in the 2030 Agenda implementation process to be successful, there must be strong, democratic, and transparent public institutions at both the national and international levels.

Vaishali Nigam Sinha, Vice President Northern Region, UN-GCNI, Founding Chair, ReNew Foundation, and Chief Sustainability Officer, ReNew Power, emphasized how Leaving No One Behind is the foundational value of the UN GCNI convention every year for accelerating sustainable solutions to all of the world’s biggest challenges, including poverty, climate change, inequality, and closing the finance gap. She stated that everyone must work together to achieve the continued, inclusive, and sustainable development of each individual.

According to Ayush Gupta, Director (HR), GAIL (India) Limited, the degree to which nations are able to balance these goals depends in great part on how society is set up as well as the policy options and techniques we employ. To unite all parties and prioritise and improve the local, national, and international response in the context of sustainable development, a transformative partnership needs to be established.

In the words of Mr. Rajesh Kumar Srivastava, President of the UN-GCNI and a former CMD (Additional Charge) of ONGC, any crisis, no matter how serious, can be resolved if all relevant parties step up, rise to the occasion, and work together. He showed that the nation has created a strong SDG localization model in order to realize the 2030 Agenda, based on evidence from the SDG India Index, which monitors progress at the subnational level.

Piyush N. Singh, Senior Managing Director and Lead – Africa, India & Middle East, Accenture, outlined that collective efforts are the key to accelerating progress on sustainability goals, helping balance financial growth with sustainable and equitable impact for all stakeholders. With evolving consumer preferences and rising expectations from investors, regulators and employees, sustainability can no longer be an afterthought but needs to be embedded into the core of the business. As sustainability moves swiftly up the executive agenda, success will be determined by organizations’ ability to leverage technology and the revolution taking place in data around environmental, social and governance issues to innovate, stay resilient and drive long-term value.

Even while this battle has made tremendous strides in recent years, according to UN Resident Coordinator for India Shombi Sharp, there are still significant challenges in the areas of infrastructure, sanitation, nutrition, and poverty-related policy initiatives. He highlighted the Convention’s platform’s critical role in bringing stakeholders together to discuss the most pressing and important issues of the day. He asked everyone to develop scalable solutions that will benefit society and the environment globally while addressing long-term threats.

Our ultimate goal is to fulfil our intergenerational obligations through cooperative partnerships involving all nations and stakeholders, said Mr. Ratnesh Jha, ED UN-GCNI. He promised that encouraging knowledge and data exchange through platforms like today’s convention will drive us towards more effective and impactful innovative policy approaches, to accelerate and raise the SDG Ambition.

Eminent speakers present at the conclave were:

  • Vishvesh Prabhakar, Managing Director, Sustainability Services, Growth Markets, Accenture
  • Anjali Singh, Managing Director, Operations, Deutsche Bank
  • Girish Wagh, Executive Director, TATA Motors
  • Kulmeet Bawa, President & Managing Director, SAP India
  • Mahendra Singhi, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited
  • Sundeep Singh, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy & Consulting, Sustainability
  • Harivansh Chaturvedi, Director, Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH)
  • Manikiran Chowhan, Vice President, Enterprise Sales, Salesforce India
  • Nidhi Bhasin, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation
  • Nikhil Mathur, Senior Director, Credex Technology
  • P S Murthy, Executive Director-HSE (Corporate), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited
  • Lovneesh Chanana, Vice President (Govt Affairs), Asia Pacific and Japan, SAP
  • Ashok Khosla, Chairman, Development Alternatives
  • Lakshmi V Venkatesan, Founding & Managing Trustee, Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST)
  • Neelam Gupta, Vice President, Group Portfolio & Sustainability CoE, Capgemini Technology Services India
  • Ramraj Pai, Chief Executive Officer, India Impact Investors Council
  • Bhaskar Chatterjee, CEO, Anil Agarwal Foundation, Vedanta Group
  • Apurba Mitra, Associate Partner, ESG, KPMG India
  • Hyun Hee Ban, Chief Social Policy, UNICEF India
  • Ranjan Samantaray, Senior Agriculture Specialist, World Bank
  • Swati Sahai, Head of Corporate Affairs and Public Policy, HCL Technologies

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