With the extensive consensus, the joint declaration marks a significant diplomatic breakthrough amid intense negotiations to settle disagreements. (PTI)


he declaration or joint communique, issued on the first day of the two-day Leaders’ Summit in the national capital, included areas of strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth, accelerating progress of sustainable development goals, reforms of multilateral development institutions and reinvigorating multilateralism, which were agreed upon by all participating countries.

“Through the hard work of our teams, and through the cooperation of you all, we have reached agreement on the New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit Declaration. I propose that we adopt this New Delhi Leaders Declaration,” Modi said, addressing his counterparts at a session. The Prime Minister thanked the ministers, sherpas and officials involved in making consensus possible.

It was initially unclear whether G20 member countries would be able to agree to a joint statement due to highly publicised differences between different camps on the issue of how the Ukraine war would be referred to in the joint declaration. In 2022, Russia and China acquiesced to the Bali Declaration, which stated that most members criticised Moscow’s war in Ukraine. However, during India’s Presidency, Russia and China had refused to endorse similar language on Ukraine.

Consensus on a joint declaration marks a significant diplomatic breakthrough amid intense negotiations to settle disagreements.

“Historical and path breaking G20 Declaration with 100% consensus on all developmental and geo-political issues. With 112 outcomes and presidency documents, we have more than tripled the substantive work from previous presidencies,” India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said in the post declaration conference, Saturday evening.

He added that every country came together to focus on green development pact which has financing, focus on global greenhouse gas emission by 43% by 2030, and doubling provision of adapting finance by 2025, besides the global biofuel alliance.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar noted the push by emerging markets’ towards reaching the consensus on Russia-Ukraine after several rounds of discussions and negotiations, but said that all countries had agreed on the issue that was leading to consequences for the global economy.

“While noting that the G 20 is not the platform to resolve geopolitical and security issues, the leaders recognized that they can have significant consequences for the global economy. In particular, they dwelt on the ongoing war in Ukraine and the impact it has especially on developing and least developing nations still recovering from the pandemic and economic disruption. The three F’s food, fuel, and fertilizers were issues of special concern,” Jaishankar said after declaration was issued.

“There are differing viewpoints and interests at play in regard to the various issues under discussion. However, we have been able to find common ground on all of that. As a result, we can justifiably state that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s guidance, the New Delhi summit has given clear directions for the growth and development of the global economy in the years ahead,” he said.

The declaration said on the war in Ukraine that leaders of the G20 reiterated their national positions and resolutions adopted at the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly and underscored that all states must act in a manner consistent with the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter in its entirety. “In line with the UN Charter, all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” it said.

“We appreciate the efforts of Türkiye and UN-brokered Istanbul Agreements consisting of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the Secretariat of the United Nations on Promoting Russian Food Products and Fertilizers to the World Markets and the Initiative on the Safe Transportation of Grain and Foodstuffs from Ukrainian Ports (Black Sea Initiative), and call for their full, timely and effective implementation to ensure the immediate and unimpeded deliveries of grain, foodstuffs, and fertilizers/inputs from the Russian Federation and Ukraine,” the declaration stated.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which secured the shipment of 32 million tonnes of grains, faced a setback after Moscow reneged on the deal in July and intensified attacks on the infrastructure supporting Ukraine’s grain industry. Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s largest producers of food grains, including wheat. Food prices have since surged, with the price of wheat, corn and soybeans surging across the globe.

The leaders also called for ‘cessation of military destruction or other attacks on relevant infrastructure’ in the context of emphasizing the importance of sustaining food and energy security.

“The peaceful resolution of conflicts, and efforts to address crises as well as diplomacy and dialogue are critical. We will unite in our endeavour to address the adverse impact of the war on the global economy and welcome all relevant and constructive initiatives that support a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine,” the communique added.

Jaishankar added that the leaders also addressed issues of countering terrorism and money laundering, where they condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and recognize that it constitutes one of the more serious threats to international peace and security.

G20 leaders also Saturday decided to swiftly implement the global tax reforms that entail a framework on digital economy taxation and a global minimum corporate tax rate. Significant progress has been made on one of the key components of the global tax reform–called pillar one’ including the delivery of a text of a Multilateral Convention (MLC). This multilateral tax document is expected to be ready for signature in the second half of 2023. Separately, work is also progressing on other elements of tax reform, under ‘pillar two.’

“We reaffirm our commitment to continue cooperation towards a globally fair, sustainable and modern international tax system appropriate to the needs of the 21st century. We remain committed to the swift implementation of the two-pillar international tax package,” the declaration said.

The other achievements of the Indian presidency of G20 under the finance track included two pillar taxation solutions, mechanism to support the timely and adequate mobilisation of resources of climate finance, scaling up sustainable finance for social sectors like health and education, and having global conversations on transition policies.

“The outcome of the Indian presidency is a commitment to multilateralism and for international cooperation,” finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. Under the Indian presidency, the plans to strengthen the MDBs to address shared challenges included an agreement for the need for better, bigger and more effective MDBs, agreement to collectively work towards boosting world banks financing capabilities, endorsement for the G20 roadmap for the implementation of recommendations of an independent panel on capital adequacy framework for MDBs, and implementing the recommendations of a report by G20 experts groups headed by Larry Summers and NK Singh, whose second volume is expected to be released in October.

“We have endeavoured to support countries, especially those from the global south, to be an integral part of the decision making process,” she added.

Sitharaman also said that G20 leaders were able to reach a consensus on debt resolution for nations under common framework and outside common framework. “G20 will continue discussing policy issues linked to the common framework and make periodically appropriate recommendations,” she said.

“(This was) Co-chaired by the IMF, World Bank and also the G20 presidency to enhance the conversation among various stakeholders to address current shortcomings in the debt restructuring process,” she added.

So far, the G20 has finalized the debt vulnerability framework for restructuring the debts of Zambia, Ghana and Ethiopia, which come under the common framework as they are low income nations. A similar framework for Sri Lanka, a middle-income nation and thus outside the common framework, is also about to be finalised.

Sitharaman also said that key concerns to financing cities of tomorrow, another key achievement of the Indian presidency, have been to mobilise resources, financing sustainable, resilient and inclusive cities of tomorrow, to promote effective and efficient use of financial resource, to support urban development that is socially inclusive, environmentally responsive and economically sustainable.

The leaders also called for swift implementation of a Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF), the building blocks for a globally coordinated and comprehensive policy and regulatory framework for crypto assets. They added that they will continue to closely monitor the risks of the fast-paced developments in the crypto-asset ecosystem.

“The presidency will support the IMF and FSB to set up contours of the regulatory framework for a globally coordinated approach for crypto assets,” Sitharaman said.

The leaders also said that a rules-based, non-discriminatory, fair, open, inclusive, equitable, sustainable and transparent multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organisation at its core, was indispensable. The Leaders said they will ensured a level-playing field and fair competition by discouraging protectionism and market distorting practices, to foster a favourable trade and investment environment for all.

The leaders also welcome the G20 Framework for systems of digital public infrastructure, a voluntary and suggested framework for the development, deployment and governance of DPI, as well as India’s plan to build and maintain a Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository (GDPIR), a virtual repository of DPI, voluntarily shared by G20 members and beyond. “Take note of the Indian Presidency’s proposal of the One Future Alliance (OFA), a voluntary initiative aimed to build capacity, and provide technical assistance and adequate funding support for implementing DPI in LMICs (low, middle income countries),” the declaration said.

“Through, the India stack, India was able to develop all three foundation DPIs. the digital identity, the real time fast payment, and a platform to safely share personal data without compromising privacy. This was embedded into the G20 financial inclusion agenda,” Sitharaman said. The recommendations cover five aspects of DPIs, she said.

These include, use of DPIs in financial inclusion, fostering well designed DPIs, regulatory and supervisory aspect of DPIs, institutional and governmental arrangements by DPIs and ensuring customer protection. DPIs, which are integrated in the G20 financial inclusion action plan, will run between 2024-26, she added.

On AI, the leaders agreed to equitably share its benefits, mitigate risks, and work together to promote international cooperation and further discussions on international governance for AI, the declaration said. The leaders also agreed to promote responsible AI for achieving sustainable development goals, to share information on approaches to using AI to support solutions in the digital economy, and pursue a pro-innovation regulatory/governance approach that maximizes the benefits and takes into account the risks associated with the use of AI.

Under the global biofuel alliance, member-countries intend to facilitate cooperation, on a voluntary basis, in intensifying the use of sustainable biofuels through strengthening collaboration between producers, consumers and interested countries, bolstering biofuels markets and encouraging the development of standards in the sector. With an eye on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec)-plus grouping — where both Saudi Arabia and Russia are members — the Indian-conceptualized alliance is being positioned as a global forum to help boost demand and technology transfer for the production of biofuels and enhance trade.

The declaration also stressed on the need for a diversified, sustainable, and responsible supply chain for energy transition including for critical minerals.

(With inputs from Gireesh Chandra Prasad, Puja Das, and Rhik Kundu)

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Updated: 09 Sep 2023, 08:27 PM IST



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