Under India’s Presidency of G20 this year, New Delhi is gearing up for the G20 Leaders’ Summit − one of the largest gatherings of the world leaders, representing 85 per cent of the world GDP, 75 per cent of the global trade and over 65 per cent of the world’s population. This year, G20 has been unique in a number of ways. The ministerial meetings, working groups and engagement groups with over 200 different meetings are being held in over 50 different cities across India.
Besides the substantive discussions, it has been a unique exposition of India’s rich cultural heritage with over 20,000 delegates coming from 19 Member-States, EU and nine guest countries including the UAE.
On November 8, 2022, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi launched the G20 logo and unveiled India’s G20 Presidency theme – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – which means “One Earth, One Family and One Future”. The G20 logo symbolises India’s pro-planet approach and a vision of cooperation and accommodation in the midst of global challenges. True to the essence of the G20 logo and the motto, most of the G20 meetings have focused on the priorities of the Global South.
While promoting the collective good for all, under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, India invoked each individual’s responsibilities as he called for a new Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) initiative which aspires to promote an environmentally-friendly and sustainable way of living.
India’s priorities under its G20 Presidency this year are broadly included under six parts − Green Development, Climate Finance & LiFE; Accelerated, Inclusive & Resilient Growth; Accelerating progress on SDGs; Technological Transformation & Digital Public Infrastructure; Multilateral Institutions for the 21st century and Women-led development. Much of these priorities coincide with the UAE’s priorities for COP28. Prime Minister Modi has urged world leaders to come together to secure our shared future and to protect our planet. As a natural leader of the Global South, Prime Minister Modi hosted the Voice of the Global South Summit in January this year, and throughout the year G20 meetings and engagement groups have been promoting and mainstreaming the interests of the Global South.
India’s Presidency of G20 this year also coincides with the start of Amrit Kaal or the Golden Era of India, a 25-year period commencing from the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. As home to the world’s largest democracy and 18 per cent of the world population, the G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi endeavours to deliver on its mandate with lots of hope and aspirations.
India believes in leading by example. It is in this spirit that despite having the onerous responsibility of bringing speedy development and meeting the aspirations of 1.4 billion citizens, India has taken suo-moto actions to address climate change even though it’s per capita contribution to pollution is negligible. India is taking all possible measures and policy initiatives to protect the planet because of its concerns for its future generations and our shared planet. The Summit will truly embody the idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, or the world as one family.
Demonstrating the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, India set an example of being the first responder during the most difficult times of Covid-19 pandemic in terms of providing alternative global supply chains, vaccines and food security. In addition to ensuring food security of its 1.4 billion citizens, India ensured supply of food grains to many countries including the UAE. As the global hub for vaccine production, India not only vaccinated its own population but also supplied vaccines to over 100 countries across the globe.
The G20 Leaders’ Summit this year will be an important test of multilateralism in challenging geopolitical times. The Covid pandemic has taught us that unless we keep aside our differences and cooperate for the collective good of the planet and our people, we cannot overcome global challenges. The importance of a greener earth and a just global order cannot be overemphasised. Decisions we take during the Leaders’ Summit, and later at COP28, will shape the lives of generations to come. There is no denying that some multilateral institutions may have failed at times but it is equally true that the world is seeing this year’s G20 Leaders’ Summit with a great deal of hope and expectations.
As responsible nations, it is the right time for all to come together, keeping our differences aside for a better world. There can be no better place for a beautiful beginning than to convey a strong message of peace and harmony from the land of the Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi.
As respective chairs of G20 and COP28, this is a special year for India and the UAE. While India works on the guiding principle of One Earth, One Family and One Future, the UAE strives to make COP28, a COP of Action and to deliver concrete results for the Global South. India and the UAE are two historical and time-tested partners. They are bringing their synergies to use the platforms of G20-2023 and COP28 to set the agenda for a new world that calls for development, justice, equity and harmony for all, and promote the common values of Mahatma Gandhi and the founding father of the UAE, Shaikh Zayed − our shared vision of One Earth, One Family and One Future. ●