Describing BR Ambedkar as a global “icon” for marginalised people, a top UN official has voiced the world body’s commitment to working closely with India to help realise the noted Indian social reformer’s vision of empowerment and social and economic equality.
“On behalf of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), I commend India on celebrating this important anniversary at the UN,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said in her keynote address at a special event organised by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN to commemorate Ambedkar’s birth anniversary for the first time at the world body.
“We are committed to continuing our very close partnership with India to help realise the vision of the 2030 Agenda and ensure that Ambedkar’s vision becomes reality for the poor and marginalised around the world,” said Clark who is among the candidates for the post of the next UN Secretary General.
The event was organised in association with civil society advocacy groups Kalpana Saroj Foundation and Foundation of Human Horizon.
Clark who is Chair of the UN Development Group, addressed a packed audience of diplomats, scholars and Ambedkar’s followers and said the occasion commemorates the “legacy of a very great man” who understood that “rising and persistent inequalities” pose fundamental challenges to the economic and social well-being of nations and people.
Emphasising that Ambedkar’s ideals are as relevant today as they were 60 years ago, former New Zealand prime minister Clark said his work on the empowerment and inclusion of excluded groups, reform of labour laws and promotion of education for all “made him an icon for marginalised people in India and in other countries”.