G20 Sherpa track: India emphasizes global south importance at first formal meeting

A key priority of the G20 Summit is accelerated, inclusive and resilient growth and progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly health and education, and India highlighted the significance of the Global South as the first formal meeting of the Sherpa track began Monday in Udaipur.

India’s Sherpa Amitabh Kant invoked India’s G20 presidency theme of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (One Earth, One Family, One Future) to develop green development strategies, foster climate finance, transform technology, and build digital infrastructure, ready multilateral institutions for the 21st century, and a focus on the three Fs (food, fuel, and fertilisers) alongside a broader theme of women’s empowerment.

As far as we’re concerned, we should collaborate on a win-win basis between developing countries, the Global South, and advanced economies. It’s time for new approaches. This unique forum brings together developed and emerging economies from around the world, so we need to develop approaches that will benefit the world on critical global issues. “There are a lot of challenges facing the world right now,” Kant said.

The challenges we face today can only be solved through hope, harmony, and healing. We should start with whoever has the greatest need, so we need to focus on the Global South. With our theme of One Earth, One Family, One Future, our G20 presidency will strive to advocate the oneness of all, and our priorities will reflect not just what all of you, the G20 partners, want but also what the Global South wants,” he said.

During the first formal meeting of the Sherpa track, which started on Monday, dignitaries from 40 countries attended. The Sherpa track, which will set the agenda for the G20 leaders in September next year, will engage on topics from 13 working groups ranging from energy, trade and investment, development, employment, tourism, agriculture, digital economy, health, education, culture, environment and anti-corruption. In addition, India brought to the forefront two new groups under its presidency β€” Disaster, Risk, and Resilience Group and Startup20 Engagement Group.

Discussions will focus on resilient global value chains, integrating small and medium businesses, and international trade and trade for growth and prosperity, Kant said. There’ll be a discussion about development, data for development, accelerating sustainable development goals, and lifestyles for the environment. There will be a conversation about addressing the global skills gap, sustainable social security financing, gig and platform economies and social security in the employment working group. In contrast, the tourism working group will discuss green tourism, digitisation for transforming tourism, and skills.

There’ll be a group on agriculture talking about improving food safety and nutrition, sustainable agriculture with a climate-smart approach, and tech and digitisation. “Digital economy, we’ve focused on public infrastructure, a lot on our experience of creating digital identities for everyone and creating bank accounts for everyone. We’ve lifted vast segments of the population above the poverty line through direct benefit transfers and fast payments. In tomorrow’s digital economy, public digital platforms and cybersecurity and cyber safety will be critical,” he said.

The health part will cover prevention, preparedness, response to health emergencies, digital health for universal access and improved service delivery, and strengthening vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics cooperation. The education issue note brings out foundational literacy and numeracy, strengthening research and innovation, technology-enabled learning, and the future of work which are all very important,” Kant said.

We’ll talk about low-cost energy finance, fuel for the future, bio-energy cooperation amongst G20, and green hydrogen principles, Kant said, adding that it’s “essentialΒ if you want to decarbonise the economy, and if you want to make clean energy available to everyone”.

Global economic growth is slowing down due to rising global debt, runaway inflation, and a slowdown in the worldwide economy, which will also be discussed in the Sherpa track at the G20. G20 has two parallel ways: Finance, led by finance ministers and governors of central banks, and Sherpa. Next September will be the final summit of the G20, so the presidency steers the agenda for a year.

Among the 19 countries in the Group of Twenty (G20) are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Around 85 percent of the world’s GDP, 75 percent of its trade, and two-thirds of its population are G20 members.

India will hold over 200 meetings across 32 different workstreams in 50 cities, involving ministers, government officials, and civil society members, before the final summit in September 2023 in New Delhi. The summit’s timing is seen as crucial, coming ahead of the general elections in 2024.


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