India's G20 presidency marked the dawn of a new multilateralism | Mint

India's G20 presidency marked the dawn of a new multilateralism

India mainstreamed the Global South’s concerns in the international discourse and has ushered in an era where developing countries take their rightful place in shaping the global narrative. (PTI)
India mainstreamed the Global South’s concerns in the international discourse and has ushered in an era where developing countries take their rightful place in shaping the global narrative. (PTI)

Summary

  • It also amplified the Global South’s voice, championed development and fought for women empowerment. A we hand over the G20 Presidency to Brazil, we will do so with the conviction that our collective steps for people, the planet, peace and prosperity will resonate for years to come.

Today, 30 November, marks 365 days since India assumed the G20 presidency. It is a moment to reflect on, recommit to and rejuvenate the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future.’ As we undertook this responsibility last year, the global landscape grappled with multifaceted challenges: recovery from the covid pandemic, looming climate threats, financial instability and debt distress in developing nations, all amid declining multilateralism. In the midst of conflicts and competition, development cooperation suffered, impeding progress.

Assuming the G20 chair, India sought to offer the world an alternative to the status quo, a shift from GDP-centric to human-centric progress. India aimed to remind the world of what unites us, rather than what divides us. Finally, the global conversation had to evolve—the interests of the few had to give way to the aspirations of the many. This required a fundamental reform of multilateralism as we knew it.

Inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented and decisive—these four words defined our approach as G20 president, and the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration (NDLD), unanimously adopted by all G20 members, is testimony to our commitment to deliver on these principles.

Inclusivity has been at the heart of our presidency. The inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 integrated 55 African nations into the forum, expanding it to encompass 80% of the global population. This proactive stance has fostered a more comprehensive dialogue on global challenges and opportunities.

The first-of-its-kind ‘Voice of the Global South Summit,’ convened by India in two editions, heralded a new dawn of multilateralism. India mainstreamed the Global South’s concerns in the international discourse and has ushered in an era where developing countries take their rightful place in shaping the global narrative.

Inclusivity also infused India’s domestic approach to the G20, making it a ‘people’s presidency’ that befits that world’s largest democracy. Through Jan Bhagidari (people’s participation) events, the G20 reached 1.4 billion citizens, involving all states and Union Territories (UTs) as partners. And on substantive elements, India ensured that international attention was directed to broader developmental aims, aligning with the G20’s mandate. At the critical mid-point of the 2030 Agenda, India delivered the G20 2023 Action Plan to Accelerate Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), taking a cross-cutting, action-oriented approach to interconnected issues, including health, education, gender equality and environmental sustainability.

A key initiative driving this progress is robust digital public infrastructure (DPI). Here, India was decisive in its recommendations, having witnessed the revolutionary impact of digital innovations like Aadhaar, UPI and Digilocker first-hand. Through the G20, we successfully completed the DPI repository, a significant stride in global technological collaboration. This repository, featuring over 50 DPI systems from 16 countries, will help the Global South build, adopt and scale DPI to unlock the power of inclusive growth.

For our One Earth, we introduced ambitious and inclusive aims to create urgent, lasting and equitable change. The Declaration’s ‘Green Development Pact’ addresses the challenges of choosing between combating hunger and protecting the planet, by outlining a comprehensive roadmap where employment and ecosystems are complimentary, consumption is climate conscious and production is planet-friendly. In tandem, the G20 Declaration calls for an ambitious tripling of global renewable energy capacity by 2030. Coupled with the establishment of the Global Biofuels Alliance and a concerted push for green hydrogen, the G20’s ambitions to build a cleaner, greener world is undeniable. This has always been India’s ethos, and through Lifestyles for Sustainable Development (LiFE), the world can benefit from our age-old sustainable traditions.

Further, the Declaration underscores our commitment to climate justice and equity, urging substantial financial and technological support from the Global North. For the first time, there was a recognition of the quantum jump needed in the magnitude of development financing, moving from billions to trillions of dollars. The G20 acknowledged that developing countries require $5.9 trillion to fulfil their Nationally Determined Contributions by 2030. Given the monumental resources required, the G20 emphasized the importance of better, larger and more effective Multilateral Development Banks. Concurrently, India is taking a leading role in United Nations reforms, especially in the restructuring of principal organs like the UN Security Council, that will ensure a more equitable global order.

Gender equality took centre-stage in the Declaration, culminating in the formation of a dedicated working group on the Empowerment of Women next year. India’s Women’s Reservation Bill, 2023, reserving one-third of India’s Parliament and state legislative assembly seats for women, epitomizes our commitment to women-led development.

The New Delhi Declaration embodies a renewed spirit of collaboration across these key priorities, focusing on policy coherence, reliable trade and ambitious climate action. It is a matter of pride that during our presidency, the G20 achieved 87 outcomes and 118 adopted documents, a marked rise from the past. During our G20 presidency, India also led deliberations on geopolitical issues and their impact on economic growth and development. Terrorism and the senseless killing of civilians is unacceptable, and we must address it with a policy of zero-tolerance. We must embody humanitarianism over hostility and reiterate that this is not an era of war.

I am delighted that during our presidency India achieved the extraordinary: it revitalized multilateralism, amplified the voice of the Global South, championed development and fought for the empowerment of women everywhere.

As we hand over the G20 Presidency to Brazil, we do so with the conviction that our collective steps for people, the planet, peace and prosperity will resonate for years to come.

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