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India’s G20 Presidency to focus on revival of growth, just green and digital transitions: Amitabh Kant

‘India to use its political capital and leadership to evolve a consensus to also achieve short-term goals including on climate finance, and bring development to the core of G20 agenda’

New Delhi, August 27

India’s year-long G20 Presidency beginning December 2022 will focus on building a consensus within the grouping of the world’s 20 major economies on measures to revive global economic growth in a human-centric and inclusive manner, ensure just green and digital transitions, and achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, according to India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant.

Observing that India’s G20 Presidency comes at a time of multiple challenges including geo-political tensions, that is the Russia-Ukraine war and the China-Taiwan crisis, global supply chain disruptions, climate action deceleration, international trade slowdown, high global debt, inflationary pressures, and the impending recession, Mr Kant said India will use its political capital and leadership to evolve a consensus to achieve short-term goals including on climate finance. He was speaking at programme organised by the New Delhi-based think-tank RIS under the theme ‘Towards Indian G20 Presidency: Delhi Process VI-Exploring New Development Paradigms and Growth Strategies.’

Referring to the bleak scenario within the G20 currently, Mr Kant said the G7 countries are not even willing for photo opportunity or discussions with Russia on account of the Ukraine conflict. Noting that challenges, especially in the post-COVID era, could throw up opportunities to take ‘development’ to the core of the G20 agenda, he said India will showcase its achievements including in SDG localisation as well as its development of open-source platforms including on COVID-19 vaccination registration and unified payment interface.

 Mr Kant said India has created a unique digital public infrastructure on the basis of individual consent – a model that can be replicated across the world as sensitive personal data in India is not in the hands of the Big Tech, adding that “(while building public infrastructure) we believe in empowering citizens and not in putting them in debt traps.” He urged emerging economies including Brazil and South Africa, which will be sequentially holding the G20 Presidency (in December 2023 and December 2024 respectively) after India, to focus on being leaders in ‘sunrise sectors’ such as green hydrogen, and digitalisation of health and education to penetrate global markets instead of fighting for space in the sunset sectors.

 Speaking on the occasion, Professor Anil Sooklal, Ambassador-at-Large for Asia and BRICS, Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa, said during India’s G20 Presidency, ‘development’ needs to be brought in from the margins to the centre of the G20 agenda. Issues such as women’s empowerment, industrialisation of Africa, elimination of illicit financial flows from the Global South including Africa were critical components of the development agenda, but due to lack of continuity, they did not find a place in the mainstream of G20 agenda so far, he said. 

Professor Sooklal, who is also South Africa’s BRICS Sherpa, IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Sherpa, and Focal Point for IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation, said India’s G20 Presidency gives a marvellous opportunity for IBSA coordination to ensure the implementation of the development agenda by the G20. He said the landmark IBSA Fund for poverty and hunger alleviation should be expanded by bringing it into the G20 agenda. He added that India could also consider convening a meeting of the Development Ministers of G20 countries to take forward the development agenda.

Mr Dammu Ravi, Secretary (Economic Relations), Ministry of External Affairs, India, said there is a need to look at greater partnerships between developed and developing countries by finding synergies in their respective strengths, that is the financial and technological might of the Global North and the skills and low-cost solutions of the Global South. It is also vital to encourage the private sector to play a greater role in the development agenda, he said. Further, he added given the currency fluctuations, it will be crucial for the Global South to enter into currency swap agreements and link them to projects and trade in minerals and other commodities. Professor Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General, RIS, said the Delhi Process is a great opportunity to take forward South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation, and tackle global challenges including inflation, as well as to ensure supply chain resilience and infrastructure building with local participation.

Mr Jorge Chediek, Director and Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, United Nations Office for South-South Co-operation (UNOSSC), said the Delhi Process is important as it gives an opportunity for IBSA countries to bring back development into the global governance processes by addressing the human dimensions including employment. Mr André Aranha Corrêa do Lago, the Ambassador of Brazil to India, expressed concern over countries going back on their climate commitments. He said the G20 Presidency of India, Brazil and South Africa should also be seen as an opportunity to revitalise the IBSA dialogue process. (ENDS)

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