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UN's Antonio Guterres hails India's decision to ban single-use plastic

News Agencies | Updated on: 25 September 2019, 10:02 IST
Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday (local time) appreciated the Government of India's decision to ban the usage of single-use plastic in the country, a move aimed at going beyond mere talks on climate change.

Addressing a large gathering of world leaders at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Guterres said, "I commend those who have decided to pay tribute to Gandhi's legacy by marking his anniversary with a project connected to one of the sustainable development goals, a fitting way to honour the most action-oriented leader."

"I would like to take the opportunity to thank the government of India for supporting the elimination of single-use plastics at United Nations and the installations of solar panels and the green roof on top of the Conference building," the Secretary-General added, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi seated in the audience.

India hosted the event at the UN to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma, which will underline the continuing relevance of Gandhian thoughts and values in today's world. Several Heads of State and Government along with UN Secretary-General graced the occasion to pay their collective tributes to Gandhi and underscore the significance of his message.

Guterres addressed Gandhi as one of the giants of the 20th century and a global icon of peace and an advocate of the most vulnerable.

He said Gandhi's vision and philosophy are pillars of the work of the United Nations adding that part of his genius lay in the ability to see the inter-connectedness and the unity between all things.

Hailing the role and preachings of the Mahatma, the Secretary-General said that the former's vision "went far beyond politics to encompass human rights and sustainable development".

"Gandhi promoted non-violence not just as a philosophy and the political strategy but as a means to achieve justice and change. Just as an example, Gandhi understood the importance of advocacy and vexation around the issue of sanitation and lead campaigns for clean drinking water and hygienic facilities when these issues were deep taboos," he said.

"His values truly transcend borders. Other countries are also planning to issue these UN stamps to honour the global leader," Guterres told the gathering.

World leaders including Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and South Korean President Moon-Jae-in were also present at the occasion in New York.


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First published: 25 September 2019, 10:02 IST