G20: India succeeded in not just securing consensus but also in making the forum more inclusive
by Ashwani Mahajan on 13 Oct 2023 0 Comment

Compared to the previous conferences, the Delhi conference can be considered successful in moving, without a bias, towards strong solutions to global problems, particularly those of the developing world


The speciality of this G20 summit was that India talked about protecting the interests of the Global South from the very beginning.


The recently held G20 Summit under India’s presidency was no doubt an important event for India, as it was an opportunity for the nation to impress the world, and showcase its soft and hard power. India’s skills were also under test – there were doubts about whether we could make the global leaders reach a consensus about contentious issues like the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and find solutions to the economic and environmental problems being faced by the developing countries or the Global South.


Diplomatic circles were surprised that compared to the G20’s past statement that ‘condemned’ Russia for its aggression, the Delhi Declaration talks about the ‘trust deficit’ and the imperative to solve this trust deficit in view of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Though the US and European nations may not concede that the G20 stance was toned down, this is what we see in ‘letters’.


Not only in India but even in other developing countries, there was a lot of curiosity about the G20 summit and its conclusions organised under India’s presidency. Not just its physical preparedness but even intellectual preparations were made with utmost seriousness by the Indian side. It will be important to understand what the conclusions of this conference mean for the world. This conference has assumed great significance in many ways.


More Inclusive


A significant outcome of the G20 Delhi Summit was the admission of the African Union to the group. Before the admission of the African Union, G20 represented two-thirds of the world’s population, 85 percent of the world’s GDP and 75 percent of the global trade. But after African Union’s entry into G20, now it represents 82 percent of the world’s population, 88 percent of the world’s GDP and nearly 84 percent of global trade. An important aspect of this change is that now the Global South represents not only the majority population but also a sizeable part of GDP and global trade as well. It’s reasonable to expect that this change would now start to be reflected in the working and decisions of the G20.


Despite global tensions and turmoil, not only could the consensus be reached on the declaration, but the conclusions reached appear to be in tune with the motto given by India to this conference – One Earth, One Family and One Future. The speciality of this G20 summit was that India talked about protecting the interests of the Global South from the very beginning. Accordingly, at the end of the conference, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, ‘India walked the talk’. Another highlight of the G20 conference was that the aspirations of the developing countries were not only talked about but steps were also taken towards realising those aspirations. The Delhi Declaration was not in any way tilted towards developed countries, rather we can say, its focus was more on the Global South this time.


The first achievement has been that the member countries agreed that multilateral development banks (MDBs) should be made better, bigger and more effective so that they can discharge their role as per the expectations of the developing countries. India has always been in favour of reforming global financial architecture. In this context, it was agreed that there should be changes in the capital structure of multilateral development banks (MDBs). This summit agreed to ensure reforms in these MDBs, through the Capital Adequacy Framework (CAF), as per the recommendations of an independent panel.


Consensus On Regulations


The second most important achievement of this summit was regarding regulating cryptos. India has made its independent efforts to regulate and control cryptos through taxation. India’s finance minister had earlier also called for coordination and mutual cooperation in the world in this regard. The G20 summit was an appropriate opportunity to build a global consensus in this regard.


The ‘Delhi Declaration’, states that G20 countries continue to closely monitor the risks of the fast-paced developments in the crypto asset ecosystem. “We endorse the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB’s) high-level recommendations for the regulation, supervision, and oversight of crypto-assets activities and markets and of global stable coin arrangements,” it said. Notably, there are separate sub-sections on central bank digital currency, building digital public infrastructure, and fostering digital eco-system. An important fact about these issues is that India is already ahead of its peers on these issues.


For a long time, both developed and developing countries have been grappling with the problem of tax avoidance by multinational companies, especially tech companies, social media companies and e-commerce companies. Due to the multinational nature of these companies, it is becoming difficult to bring these companies properly under the tax net, in the absence of a global consensus on the tax system.


There is an extensive discussion in the G20 Delhi Declaration, in terms of consensus in this regard. It can be said that this is a ‘work in progress’. Once there is a global consensus on this in the future, it will be easier to collect taxes from these companies. This will benefit people of developed and developing countries. This can be called the third major achievement of this conference.


Today many developing countries are caught in a debt trap due to which their economies are in crisis. The G20 Delhi Declaration calls for managing global debt vulnerabilities. The Declaration also talks about resolving the debt situation of Zambia, Ghana, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka. This can be considered the fourth major achievement of this summit.


Tackling Climate Change


Another major achievement of this summit is regarding climate finance. Climate change is emerging as a major crisis for the world. Compared to the enormity of the challenge of climate change, efforts to deal with it appear to be extremely indecisive and half-hearted. The developing countries have always been complaining of this on almost every platform because the world is facing a crisis due to the emissions of greenhouse gases by the developed countries *in the past. The developed countries had earlier agreed that assistance worth $100 billion dollars would be provided by them to deal with the problem of climate change. They are yet to provide the promised assistance.


And, they are not ready to transfer technology to deal with this crisis. Humanity cannot wait indefinitely for developed countries to provide this assistance. The Delhi Declaration calls for delivering on climate and sustainable finance to effectively tackle this challenge. Other aspects, on which a consensus was arrived, include ending plastic pollution, financing cities of tomorrow and harnessing and preserving the ocean-based economy.


Compared to the previous conferences, the Delhi conference can be considered successful in moving, without a bias, towards strong solutions to global problems, particularly those of the developing world.




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