The 18th G20 Summit of 2023 recently concluded in New Delhi, marking the first-ever G20 summit hosted by India. The summit's theme, "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" or One Earth, One Family, One Future is rooted in ancient Heritage, Culture, Sanskrit texts, and the goal of sustainable development.
India was successfully able to achieve consensus around the New Delhi Declaration early on in the G20 Summit, which saw a dilution in the position taken by the U.S. and EU on Russia, besides focus on UN Sustainable Development Goals, climate action, and green development initiatives, multilateral financing, digital public infrastructure, artificial intelligence (AI), and international taxation, among others.
Diplomatic Triumph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Prime Minister Modi viewed the summit as a pivotal moment in India's diplomacy, especially considering the upcoming general elections. Leveraging India's economic significance, he garnered support from all G20 member nations for a Leaders' Declaration acknowledging the conflict in Ukraine without specifying an aggressor. Modi, who chaired the Summit, also advocated for reforms in global institutions, such as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), to align with evolving world dynamics a proposition supported by the United States. The G20 Summit's timing was opportune, coming on the heels of India's successful moon landing under the Chandrayaan-3 program.
G20 New Delhi Declaration: Remarkably, all 83 paragraphs of the 2023 G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration received unanimous approval, even with China and Russia on board. This historic declaration stood out by lacking footnotes or a Chair's Summary. Among these 83 paragraphs, multiple agreements related to the Finance Track were embedded. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted India's G-20 Presidency achievements, emphasizing a concrete strategy for strengthening multilateral development banks, regulating cryptocurrencies, and deploying digital public infrastructure to enhance financial inclusion. She also stressed the importance of expeditious debt relief for vulnerable nations.
On the topic of climate change, the declaration emphasized the urgency of mobilizing "US$5.8-5.9 trillion in the pre-2030 period for developing countries" and "US$4 trillion per year for clean energy technologies by 2030" to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The call was for a substantial increase in climate funding, transitioning from billions to trillions of dollars.
Inclusion of the African Union in the G20: Prior to this, South Africa was the sole African member of the G20. At the Delhi Summit, the African Union, representing 55 African countries, gained full membership, akin to the European Union's representation. India has effectively positioned itself as an advocate for developing and underdeveloped nations, aligning this stance with its aspirations for a permanent seat on the UNSC. New Delhi actively seeks support from the African continent, which holds 55 crucial votes, to further this objective. Additionally, India extended invitations to Nigeria, Egypt, and Mauritius as part of the 'Guest Countries' at the G20 summit.
Global Leaders at the Delhi Summit of the G20: The gathering witnessed the participation of Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union, along with prominent figures like German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. However, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin were conspicuously absent. China was represented by Premier Li Qiang, while Russia sent its Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
India - Middle East - Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC): During the G20 Summit in New Delhi, governments including India, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the European Union, the UAE, France, Germany, and Italy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the India - Middle East - Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC). IMEC envisions a network of transportation routes comprising railways and sea lanes, aimed at promoting economic development by fostering integration between Asia, the Arabian Gulf, and Europe. While specific details are yet to be outlined, this project falls under the umbrella of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII), an initiative led by Western nations to support worldwide infrastructure projects, including roads, ports, bridges, and communication systems, with the overarching goal of enhancing global trade and cooperation.
Although no leader explicitly mentioned China, it is evident that the IMEC corridor aspires to become a viable alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has steadily established global connectivity linkages with the Chinese market through extensive shipping, rail, and road networks over the past decade.
Climate Action: Despite a United Nations report categorizing the phase-out of fossil fuels as "indispensable" for achieving net-zero emissions, G20 Summit leaders did not reach a consensus on this matter. The G20 nations collectively contribute approximately 80 percent of global emissions, and the inability to agree on this crucial issue casts a shadow over upcoming climate discussions set to commence in November in the oil-rich UAE.
Nevertheless, the G20 did endorse a goal to triple global renewable energy capacity and stressed the need for emissions to peak before 2025. Additionally, the Declaration acknowledged that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) requires a 43 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 compared to 2019 levels.
The G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration also featured commitments to mainstream Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE), implement sustainable energy transitions, provide sustainable finance, reaffirm the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), address plastic pollution, preserve the ocean-based economy, and more. Additionally, the summit witnessed the launch of the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA), a new organization aimed at promoting the development and adoption of sustainable biofuels, along with the establishment of relevant standards and certification.
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