The leaders of the world’s biggest economies have gathered in India’s capital.
Over the next two days, the leaders of the Group of 20 (G20), an intergovernmental forum for international economic cooperation that includes the world’s largest economies, are expected to discuss sustainable economic growth, climate action and green finance, and food security, among other issues.
The summit is the high point in India’s rotating presidency of the G20, which began in December last year. Over 200 meetings on various topics have been conducted by the host nation in the past nine months.
Speaking to the media ahead of the event, India’s G20 sherpa, Amitabh Kant, said the final declaration, which is traditionally released at the end of the annual summit, was almost ready and would be presented before the group’s leaders to secure a consensus. Officials and experts have expressed concerns over whether a consensus on the document can be reached, as the Ukraine conflict remains a divisive point of the agenda, despite the host nation stating on numerous occasions that the G20 is a forum to discuss issues related to economic development and cooperation.
The G20 sherpas, who met at Nuh in Haryana earlier this week, have failed to reach a consensus over the proposed Delhi Declaration as Western countries, namely the US, UK, and EU, have refused to accept the changes proposed by New Delhi to the paragraph on the Ukraine conflict that was included in the last year’s Bali Declaration in order to make it acceptable to Russia and China.
While Kant refused to elaborate on the language of the communique, he noted that the declaration would include the voice of the Global South and developing economies.
“Our New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration is almost ready. I would not like to dwell on it because this declaration will be recommended to the leaders, and the leaders will then accept it,” Kant said, noting that the Ukraine issue has been discussed at great length since the conflict has had an impact on global food security.
G20 negotiators were unable to resolve disagreements over the wording of the declaration, Reuters reported on Saturday. A paragraph on the ‘geopolitical situation’ was left blank in the draft document seen by the agency, while there seems to be agreement on 75 other paragraphs, including climate change, cryptocurrencies, and reforming multilateral development banks.
India took over the G20 presidency from Indonesia in 2022 in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic amid slow economic recovery, the debt crisis, a reversal on sustainable development goals, and challenges over climate action. These topics have become the primary focus of India’s presidency.
“And the prime minister… said that our presidency, India’s presidency, should actually be inclusive, it should be ambitious, it should be decisive, and it should be action-oriented. And these are the four principles on which we have worked,” he said.
He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a staunch supporter of the Global South, initiated this historic move by reaching out to leaders worldwide.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday praised New Delhi for prioritizing development at the G20 summit. Stating that the world is in a “difficult moment of transition,” Guterres, who is in Delhi to attend the summit, called upon the heads of states of the elite group to take decisive action in two key areas – the climate crisis and saving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The UN chief praised India, saying it has not only been a representative of the Global South in bringing about “the kind of transformative change our world so desperately needs,” but also “put the development agenda in the center of the G-20 work.”
Guterres expressed concerns about growing divisions in the world and an erosion of trust, saying “the global financial architecture is outdated, dysfunctional, and unfair and requires deep, structural reforms.” He added that the same could be said for the UN Security Council.