Desi Talk – that’s all you need to know 5 CITY VIEWS February 9, 2024 India’s Progress On The Digital Public Infrastructure Commended At The United Nations “T he world is currently off track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] by the 2030 deadline, and the number of challenges before us are indeed significant,” warned Perma- nent Representative of India to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj at the opening of the 62nd Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD62) on February 5, 2024 at the United Nations Headquarters in NewYork. Kamboj, Chairperson of CSocD62, not- ed that the world is facing “new conflicts, escalating climate change, a cost-of-living crisis, entrenched inequalities, increasing mistrust, rising poverty, and widespread food insecurity.” CSocD62 will take place from February 5-14, 2024, with a theme “fostering social development and social justice through social policies to accelerate progress on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to achieve the overarching goal of poverty eradication.” Social Development lies at the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Develop- ment, Kamboj emphasized adding that the fundamental commitment of the 2030 agenda that “no one will be left behind” is rooted in a developmental approach that prioritizes “equity, social justice, and non- discrimination.” “We must also promote integrated, social, economic, and environmental poli- cies if we are to achieve social develop- ment and social justice,” Kamboj said. “In practice, social development and social justice require that economic growth is inclusive, that the jobs being created provide decent work, and that the benefits of the green transition, digital transforma- tion, and other mega trends are shared equitably.” Kamboj conveyed that this year’s focus is on “The Influence of Digital Transfor- mation on Inclusive Growth and Develop- ment: A Path to Achieving Social Justice.” While digital transformation brings vari- ous opportunities for accelerating social development, Kamboj acknowledged that it also poses challenges in ensuring that the benefits reach everyone. President of the UN General Assem- bly, Dennis Francis, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Robert Rae, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Eco- nomic and Social Affairs, Li Junhua, and Chair of the NGO Committee on Social Development, Jean Quinn also addressed the opening session. Echoing the views of Kamboj, Francis underscored “Let us be candid, we are not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our setbacks – evi- dent even before the COVID-19 pandemic – have deepened amid converging global challenges – from conflict and climate change to debt distress, trade shocks, and fraying trust in the institutions meant to represent, and support and lift our societ- ies.” Warning that “a staggering 575 million people will live in extreme poverty in 2030” Francis cautioned that the “state of global affairs behooves us to move beyond a business-as-usual approach.” Francis maintained that the objective is to prepare for the Summit of the Future scheduled for September 2024. During this Summit, global leaders are an- ticipated to intensify efforts to attaining SDGs and “to re-energizing the landmark consensus at the heart of 2030 Agenda,” he added. Vice-President of ECOSOC, Robert Rae, who spoke on behalf of the President of ECOSOC, Paula Narváez, said over- coming poverty “remains” as the primary obstacle to sustainable development. Therefore, it necessitates prompt and inventive measures to attain objectives outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustain- able Development. While commending India’s progress on digital public infrastructure, Rae said “India has shown that widespread access to bank accounts by means of cell phones can make social transfers happen in real time” while noting that not just few mil- lion individuals but rather hundreds of millions have benefited from lacking ac- cess to personal finances to gaining such access. “India is an example of a highly moti- vated, developing country that is rapidly joining the ranks of middle income and will soon, I’m confident, join the ranks of higher incomes,” Rae pointed out. “And it has done this not by virtue of relying on assistance from other countries… It’s an extraordinary model for all of us to study and to learn from.” By T.Vishnudatta Jayaraman Photo:Office forthe Presidentof UNGA Ruchira Kamboj and Dennis Francis along with other speakers during the opening of the 62nd Session of the Commission for Social Development on February 5, 2024, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Community Op-Ed: Getting Every Single Trash Bag Off Our Streets N ewYorkers deserve clean streets, free of smelly trash bags and rats. That’s why we are taking the next leap forward in the Trash Revolution — our initiative to rei- magine trash collection and remove every single trash bag from NewYork City’s streets. When we came into office two years ago, we had a mission: Protect public safety, revitalize the economy, and make this city more livable for hardworking NewYorkers. Our Trash Revolution is a key part of this mission, giving NewYorkers the world-class sanitation services they de- serve. NewYorkers shouldn’t have to hold their noses or dodge trash mountains as they walk home. Our administration is rejecting that status quo, and is delivering for everyday NewYorkers. We are making our streets cleaner by picking up trash more efficient- ly and cracking down on illegal dumping across the city. But we are just getting started. Last week, we unveiled the prototype of a new kind of garbage truck that uses a mechani- cal arm to empty trash from new, on- street containers, like those you might see in European or Asian cities. This will allow us to pick up NewYorkers’ trash quicker, cleaner, and smarter — and we developed this truck in a fifth of the time experts said it would take. We also announced the next stage of containerization: a full-scale pilot in Harlem’s Community Board 9, expanding from our initial 10-block pilot. This will be the first neighborhood in the city with zero black bags sitting on the street wait- ing for pickup. Rat sightings in those 10 blocks fell by more than two-thirds year- over-year. That represents real progress, real fast. The strategies we are testing in Harlem will make a huge difference in some of our biggest and densest neighborhoods, helping us tackle mountains of black bags at the source. Since our administration came into office, we have been making history in the fight for cleaner streets. We established later set out times for trash, and we are providing the highest level of street litter basket service ever for 23,000 baskets across our city. By this fall, every single NewYorker in all five boroughs will have access to free, pain-free weekly curbside compost col- lection. We are cracking down on illegal dump- ing and stepping up enforcement efforts. In fact, over the past fiscal year, we issued 24 percent more violations than the year prior. We have containerized trash for restau- rants, delis, bodegas, bars, and grocery stores. And, as of March 1, 2024, all busi- nesses in NewYork City will have to put out their trash in containers. By this fall, all buildings with one to nine residential units will need to containerize their trash as well. Here in America, NewYork City is leading the way, as we use proven solu- tions that have been adopted in cities all over the world. Add it all up, and we will already have 70 percent of NewYork City’s black bags off our streets by this fall. This is the most significant progress toward clean streets that NewYorkers have seen in generations. No one thought this would be possible, but we are getting it done. As a result, New York City, which used to be known for its mean streets, will now be known for our clean streets. Rats are moving on and moving out. And our city is becoming more livable than ever for everyday NewYorkers. By NewYork City Mayor Eric Adams Mayor Eric Adams.