In a recent press conference, the President of the General Assembly (PGA), Mr. Dennis Francis, emphasized the crucial role of multilateralism in achieving peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability. Addressing the Indian Council of World Affairs, President Francis acknowledged the Indian Council’s unique standing on the global political landscape as the country’s first independent international affairs Think Tank.
President Francis reflected on the challenges faced in September of the previous year, highlighting the significant achievement of unity over division during the 2023 SDG Summit. He commended world leaders for their commitment to lifting millions from poverty and accelerating action towards the 2030 Agenda’s goals. The PGA particularly praised India’s flagship programs aimed at achieving these objectives at various levels—local, sub-national, and national.
Emphasizing the importance of prosperity for all, one of the four watchwords of his Presidency, President Francis applauded India’s leadership in the field of digital public infrastructure. From innovative governance systems to citizen-oriented services, he described India’s efforts as an unparalleled transformation in action.
President Francis participated in a roundtable on “The promise of Digital Public Infrastructure for the achievement of SDGs” organized by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Additionally, he engaged in a discussion on “New and emerging technology and Artificial Intelligence to create global impact,” co-organized by UN India and NASSCOM.
During his visit to New Delhi, the PGA held a bilateral meeting with the External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. The discussions covered a range of topics, including challenges to international peace and security, situations in Gaza, Ukraine, and Haiti, Security Council reform, and the need for stronger multilateralism.
President Francis paid a visit to the President of India, H.E. Droupadi Murmu, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, where India expressed support for the priorities of the current GA session. The President of India also appreciated the PGA’s initiatives, particularly those focused on climate change and women’s empowerment.
The PGA extended his engagement beyond official meetings to interact with the UN Country Team, focusing on young people and addressing issues related to gender, education, and sustainability. A press conference at the United Nations Information Centre in New Delhi allowed President Francis to communicate his key messages to the public.
Looking ahead, the PGA and his delegation are set to travel to Mumbai, where President Francis will partake in various activities, including laying a wreath at the 26/11 Memorial at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Other engagements include a visit to the Bombay Stock Exchange/National Stock Exchange for the “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” ceremony.
President Francis and his delegation will conclude their visit to India on January 26, departing for China on the same day. During the stay in China from January 27-31, the PGA is expected to engage in further discussions and activities, with details set to be shared via email on Friday morning.
The blog post concludes by expressing anticipation for the updates from the China visit, highlighting this as the last briefing until the beginning of February. The audience is encouraged to look forward to more insights from the PGA’s diplomatic journey, promising a comprehensive update upon the President’s return to office on February 1.