UN becoming non-functional, G20 emerges as responsive body
New Delhi has not shied away from bringing all major global issues to the centrestage during its presidency, says Amitabh Kant
Hampi With the UN becoming "unwieldy" and "non-functional", the G-20 has emerged as the most responsive body to address key challenges facing the world and New Delhi has not shied away from bringing all major global issues to the "centrestage" during its presidency of the grouping, India's G-20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said.
He said India has been acting as an "agent of change" in the G-20 and that it is confident of building consensus to address critical developmental issues such as climate financing, debt vulnerabilities, ensuring progress on sustainable development goals and evolving a framework for digital public infrastructure. A day after the conclusion of the third G-20 Sherpas' meeting, he said the Russia-Ukraine conflict is restricted to a certain part of the world and the Indian presidency's focus has been entirely on the developmental agenda and to deal with issues facing the Global South. At the same time, Kant noted that the "present geopolitics" is having its knock-on effects on food, fuel and fertilisers and that is having an impact on emerging markets and Europe's competitiveness. India's G-20 Sherpa said the grouping has come out as a credible platform for finding solutions to major issues.
"I really think that the only organisation which everybody feels responsive today for most of the critical issues is the G-20. All key issues are being discussed here. This, if the African Union comes in will be the key institution for the global architecture because the UN is very unwieldy and non-functional," he said. "It is too large and the Security Council had never envisaged that there will be a prolonged war. So that architecture got frozen. All key issues today are being discussed under the framework of G20 and if G20 decides, then things happen," he added.
Kant said India, as the current president of G20, brought all the global issues to the "centrestage" and it didn't shy away from bringing them to the table. "And one of the good things that happened is that the prime minister pushed a very ambitious agenda. Nothing could have been more ambitious than what India has pushed for," he said. "Every single delegate said that there has been a very ambitious agenda that India brought in. We have been an agent of change and not an agent of status quo during India's presidency," Kant said.
On lack of consensus in the G20 on the text relating to the Ukraine conflict, he said it has been kept in the "backburner" for now as discussing it at this stage could impact other matters. Kant said considering the impact of the conflict on various areas, there is a view that the geopolitical issue needed to be mentioned in the text of the declaration. "I am saying this war is not our creation. The Russia-Ukraine issue is restricted to a certain part of the world. It may be an important issue there," he said. "But from our perspective, the important issues are driving inclusive and resilient growth, putting the SDG (sustainable development goals) agenda back on centrestage," Kant noted. He also listed reform of multilateral institutions, transformation of digital technology, inclusive growth and women led development as other key focus areas. "There is support across the table for (these issues).
There may be difference in terms of wording etc. But everybody agreed that it has to be very ambitious action plan," Kant said. "I get a feeling that everybody is very positive. The Hampi meeting has been particularly positive. It was very responsive. I find a very different atmosphere," he said. "I find an atmosphere of wanting to be transformational, I find an atmosphere of people thinking big and ambitious, I find an atmosphere of everybody wanting to support India," Kant added. The draft text covers six priorities, including the SDGs, green development, reform of multilateral development banks, digital public infrastructure, gender equality, and incorporates the outcomes from the various working groups.
The G20 or Group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum of the world's major developed and developing economies. The members represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
The grouping comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union (EU).