G20 Presidency: Prioritizing Climate and Sustainable Development
Taking over the presidency of the G20, the most powerful intergovernmental forum did not happen formally until 1 December 2022. The Bali summit recently concluded saw Indonesia hand over the presidency for 2023 to India.
These illustrious countries produce over 80% of the global GDP. These countries conduct 75% of international trade, and 60 percent of the world’s population is a product of these countries.
There is no doubt that the G20 is an enormous organization, and its mandate has the potential to establish institutional credibility again. A unique global institution, the G20 brings together developing and developed countries equally.
Their global political, economic, and intellectual leadership can be demonstrated alongside the world’s most powerful nations. Therefore, India’s leadership at the world’s most influential multilateral forum is a cause for national celebration and a symbol of India’s growing global reputation and stature.
In its first-ever global leadership role, India has arrived at the negotiating table with a clear plan to lead and spearhead new policies, where it can secure green investment and shift global governance in favor of low-income nations in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.
Since many developing countries do not have G20 representation, the G20 is expected to emphasize its role in supporting vulnerable countries, giving voice to their aspirations, and bringing their issues to the forefront.
Nonetheless, the presidency occurred amid tumultuous geopolitical circumstances, uncertain economic recovery following the pandemic, and a mounting climate crisis.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has adversely affected relationships between Russia and the industrialized Western countries, including most G20 governments. The conflict and the West’s unilateral sanctions imposed on Libya have adversely affected the post-pandemic global recovery.
Oil and gas prices have also been adversely affected. The most vulnerable, especially the developing and least developed countries, have felt the effects of rising unemployment and inflation most strongly.
Despite its heterogeneity, India shows unity in diversity. Consequently, India represents the world’s most pressing needs today. Achieving multilateralism requires G20 countries to work in the Indian way and enhance inter- and intra-national dialogue.
The G20 and India’s presidency will provide some quick and immediate shock absorbers and regain and maintain focus on medium-term and longer-term issues during their presidency.
The Presidency of the G20 in 2023 is an exciting and fitting challenge for India. Using its G20 presidency, India can serve as a thought leader, reduce polarization, open resources to inclusion, and promote developmental priorities.
Getting the world’s attention to critical issues is a priority for India. Approximately 30 heads of state and government will attend the conference.
To deal with the world’s significant challenges, New Delhi is expected to emphasize the importance of unity and cooperation. With the 76th anniversary of its independence coming up, India has the wonderful opportunity to set up a vision for the future centered on equitable, green, and resilient recovery.
India’s presidency will focus on green hydrogen, energy security, and climate finance as we narrow down the agenda. G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant stated that the developed world is not doing enough to combat climate change, including on climate finance.
India should emphasize knowledge exchange, standardization, and political neutrality in the energy sector. According to the Climate Change Performance Index for 2020, India ranked eleventh among the world’s top 10 polluters, whereas China and the United States ranked much lower.
In the G20 and beyond, India can strengthen its position on climate change and action plans. Aiming to meet the SDG 2030 mandate, India is committed to integrating the climate and development agendas.
A fundamental goal of sustainable development is to achieve a healthy and prosperous society. By 2030, India will meet half its energy needs through renewable energy.
A ‘loss and damage fund’ was announced at the recently concluded COP27 to assist countries with limited resources to combat climate change. G20 participants are expected to reiterate the importance of effectively targeting finances to support a clean economy under India’s presidency.
In a transformative time, it is critical to steer the global narrative in favor of reducing carbon footprints, promoting green energy, and embracing digitalization as key elements.
India has set an excellent example by making several efforts to meet its climate commitments to reach 500 GW of non-fossil energy by 2030 and meet 50 percent of its electricity needs through renewables.
As part of its efforts to meet these goals, it is increasingly expanding its nuclear power program and utilizing solar and wind power. A number of energy transition issues can be brought into sharper focus by India’s ability to grow partnerships and friendships across today’s polarized world.
It will depend on how ideas filter down to actions and finally positively affect the world. While the G20 is held in New Delhi, visitors can witness New Delhi’s traditional conservation and responsible consumption approach.
In Glasgow, 2021, during the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26), the prime minister offered citizens the opportunity to embrace a ‘lifestyle for the environment,’ known as LIFE.
By implementing bold domestic and global initiatives that are effective and concrete, the presidency can drive the climate and energy transition agenda.
Having the largest democracy in the world, the third-largest economy by public-private partnerships, and the second-largest population, India will make an important contribution to G20 to achieve faster, sustainable, and inclusive growth.
The G20 Presidency would allow India to showcase its priorities and narratives on the global stage. Furthermore, it would offer an excellent opportunity to showcase India’s cultural heritage and progress.
To achieve sustainable goals, India’s G20 presidency is the world’s best hope. As a global power, India’s role in international affairs and its response to global crises make its claim for a permanent UNSC seat credible.
It is now time for India to listen and follow its vision-led initiatives while negotiating its vital interests in highly complex climate negotiations. Currently, India is lacking in thought leadership, which is a great opportunity.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma