New Delhi: India on Friday vowed to work towards building a consensus among the G20 nations for a green development pact to facilitate investments in sustainable lifestyle and pitched for larger discussions on “data for development” to bridge digital divide among various countries.
In a virtual address at a session of the Voice of the Global South Summit, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar flagged unsustainable debt, trade barriers, contracting financial flows and climate pressure as some of the key challenges facing the developing countries.
Referring to the United Nations, he described it as “a frozen 1945-invented mechanism” which is “simply unable to articulate the wider concerns of its membership”.
Mr Jaishankar also called for working collectively towards a “new globalisation paradigm” and said a more democratic and equitable world can only be built on greater diversification and localisation of capabilities.
Touching upon the knock-on effects of the Ukraine conflict, S Jaishankar said it further complicated the economic situation as the costs and availability of fuel, food and fertilisers has emerged as a major concern for “many of us”.
“So too has the disruption in trade and commercial services. However, none of this has got the attention that it deserves in global councils. Where the United Nations is concerned, a frozen 1945-invented mechanism is simply unable to articulate the wider concerns of its membership,” he said.
“Some powers have been singularly focused on their own advantage, to the exclusion of the well-being of the international community. And the G20, reflecting the composition of its membership, has had its own particular focus. This is what we are seeking to change,” he added.
The external affairs minister said India, during its G20 presidency, would commit to drive a consensus on a Green Development Pact of the G20 Leaders, noting that it will be a “blueprint of strong actions” for the next decade powering Green Development all over the world.
“This will be through investments in sustainable lifestyle, leveraging green hydrogen for climate action, and accelerating progress on SDGs,” he said at the session on ‘G20 of the Voice of the Global South Summit 2023’.
“We would take up discussions on data for development, as countries are at different levels of development and readiness to engage with data-driven innovations,” he said.
Mr Jaishankar pressed for international cooperation on data-related capacities, innovations, and technologies especially for the Global South, to create opportunities for all.
“To this end we aim to focus on bridging the digital divide amongst countries through a multi-stakeholder approach,” he said.
“We would strengthen our efforts to share resources, development templates, our unique experiences and knowledge base with each other and exhibit strong solidarity as partners from the Global South,” he said.
Jaishankar said the developing countries should work collectively towards a new globalisation paradigm which will be for the collective well-being of humankind, with a critical focus on vulnerable populations.
“We would work towards bringing down walls that young and talented people in our countries face in accessing opportunities around the world,” he noted listing priorities for India’s G20 presidency.
“We would make collective efforts to address the current challenges to food and energy security and ensure that humanitarian needs of vulnerable communities are served without delay,” he said.
In his speech, Foreign Minister Jaishankar also noted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark this is not an era of war.
“He has spoken about the imperative to give up the us vs them mindset and to work collectively as one human family. To many of us in the Global South, this sentiment strikes a very familiar chord,” Mr Jaishankar said.
“From decolonisation movements to resisting alignment in the face of a deeply polarised world, the Global South has always shown the middle path. The path where diplomacy, dialogue and cooperation take primacy over competition, conflict, and divisions,” he said.
During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand on September 16, Modi said that “today’s era is not of war” and nudged the Russian leader to end the Ukraine conflict.
“We all know that choosing peace, cooperation and multilateralism is a very patient endeavour that requires enormous bridge building. Yet it is the course that the world must take if the interests of the Global South are kept at its core,” Mr Jaishankar said.
“No matter how hard the challenges, we must move forward together. It is only by acting as one do we stand any chance to succeed; and succeed we must,” he said.
“We must fully recognise the inter-dependence and cooperation that is expressed by the motto of our Presidency (G20): One Earth, One Family, One Future. Your voices will guide and inspire us throughout this process,” he said,” he noted.
Mr Jaishankar said the recent developments have only added further to the stresses and anxieties of the Global South.
“As it is, many were facing unsustainable debt, unviable projects, trade barriers, contracting financial flows and climate pressure. To this was added the devastation of the Covid pandemic and the discriminatory practices which characterised global response,” he said.
“It starkly exposed the dangers of over-centralized globalization and unreliable supply chains. It was a reminder too that a more democratic and equitable world can only be built on greater diversification and localisation of capabilities,” he said.