“Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – these two words capture a deep philosophy. It means ‘the world is one family’. This is an all-embracing outlook that encourages us to progress as one universal family, transcending borders, languages, and ideologies. During India’s G20 Presidency, this has translated into a call for human-centric progress. As One Earth, we are coming together to nurture our planet. As One Family, we support each other in the pursuit of growth. And we move together towards a shared future – One Future – which is an undeniable truth in these interconnected times. The post-pandemic world order is very different from the world before it. There are three important changes, among others. First, there is a growing realisation that a shift away from a GDP-centric view of the world to a human-centric view is needed. Second, the world is recognizing the importance of resilience and reliability in global supply chains. Third, there is a collective call for boosting multilateralism through the reform of global institutions. Our G20 Presidency has played the role of a catalyst in these shifts.” - Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.
The Group of Twenty (G20) is a pre-eminent forum comprising 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States) and the European Union to deliberate over the most critical issues around the globe related to the economy, development, health, agriculture, energy, environment, corruption, etc. It was founded in the year 1999 for discussing global economic and financial issues in which only the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors participated but in the year 2008, amid the global financial crisis, it was enhanced to the level of Heads of State/Government. In the year 2009, it was designated the premier forum for international economic cooperation. The members of G20 represent around 85% of the global gross domestic product (GDP), over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population. G20 plays a significant role in making stronger the global architecture as well as governance on all the crucial international economic problems. It also lays stress on trade, climate change, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, environment, climate change, anti-corruption, etc.
The G20 Summit is held annually under a rotating Presidency and India is currently holding the Presidency of the G20 from 1st December, 2022 to 30th November, 2023, which is a proud moment for the country. India assumed the responsibility of G20 at the time when the world is witnessing decline in economic activities, detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, soaring energy as well as food prices, climate change, digital divide, etc., which are serious issues that need to be tackled with concerted efforts.
The theme of India’s G20 Presidency is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or One Earth, One Family, One Future, which affirms the value of all life possible. India’s G20 priorities are noteworthy and stress upon green development, climate finance, and LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment); accelerated, inclusive and resilient growth; accelerating progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); technological transformation and digital public infrastructure; multilateral institutions for the 21st century; and women-led development. Over 200 G20 meetings have been held across 60 Indian cities, covering the length and breadth of our nation, hosting nearly 1 lakh delegates from more than 124 countries, which started in December, 2022. The G20 Leaders’ Summit at the level of Heads of State and Government is scheduled to be held on September 9th and 10th, 2023, in New Delhi, which will be an apogee of all the G20 meetings held throughout the year. The G20 Presidency is also important for the country as it marks the dawn of Amritkaal, the 25-year period beginning from the 75th anniversary of its independence leading up to the centenary of its independence.
Climate change is one of the important priorities for India as it looks to focus on climate finance as well as technology with a mindset to ensure energy transitions for developing nations. The LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), an initiative for adopting environment-friendly practices, is a fruitful step which goes hand in hand with India’s notable G20 theme of One Earth, One Family, One Future. The nation is also committed to integrate Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with global trade to strengthen labour rights, fill-in the global skills gap and infuse the spirit of trade globally. India has prioritized the Sustainable Development Goals which are designed to end poverty, hunger, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and discrimination against women and girls. The G20 2023 Action Plan on Accelerating Progress on SDGs will lead the future direction of the G20 towards implementing SDGs. Women empowerment and representation are in focus as India plans to bring more and more women in key positions so that the Sustainable Development Goals and socio-economic development can get a healthy impetus.
Our country is making digital access public, but internationally there is still a tremendous digital divide, hence, the principle of data for development is an important part of the G20 theme. In the year 2021, over 40% of the world’s payment transactions took place through Unified Payment Interface (UPI), an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India. India has also seen a great boom in the Fintech space as the UPI transactions clocked a record high of 9.4 billion in May, 2023. 460 million new bank accounts were opened in India based on digital identity. Fintech start-ups have capitalized on this fruitful initiative all over India, offering a wide array of financial services ranging from digital wallets to investment platforms and lending solutions. The CoWIN platform, a web portal for COVID-19 vaccination registration, made the vaccination campaign a huge success. Many countries have shown great interest by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with us with regard to our country’s fruitful initiatives like Aadhaar, UPI, eKYC, DigiLocker, etc. It is also pertinent to mention that G20 events in India have drawn over 14 trillion social media impressions and the number is still increasing.
India’s G20 Presidency is truly an occasion for every citizen of the country to feel proud of. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir also hosted some G20 meetings this year which is a historic moment for all of us. India’s G20 Presidency is also an occurrence to showcase India’s incredible diversity, all-in traditions, as well as cultural richness. During its presidency, India has also raised the concerns of marginalised African nations and welcomed a technology-driven, human centric approach, shifting away from a GDP-centric view. India’s successful moon mission is not only ours but it also belongs to all humanity and our theme of One Earth, One Family, One Future is resonating globally. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister will also hold over 15 bilateral meetings with world leaders between Friday and Sunday as India hosts the G20 summit will surely help in strengthening our international relationships. India’s laudable achievements will definitely reverberate in the minds of the world leaders at the G-20 summit and these include Shiv Shakti - the point where Chandrayaan-3’s moon lander has landed as well as the satellite Aditya L1 which is on the way to study the Sun. The world leaders at the G20 Summit will also be greeted by the historical Nataraja statue of Lord Shiva performing the Tandava Nritya. More than 200 G20 meetings in India, have provided a significant momentum to Sustainable Development Goals, technological transformation, digital public infrastructure, women-led development, etc., so that the theme of One Earth, One Family, One Future can be achieved effectively, in the words of Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India – “Our G20 Presidency strives to bridge divides, dismantle barriers, and sow seeds of collaboration that nourish a world where unity prevails over discord, where shared destiny eclipses isolation. As the G20 President, we had pledged to make the global table larger, ensuring that every voice is heard and every country contributes. I am positive that we have matched our pledge with actions and outcomes. Let us join together to make India’s G20 Presidency a Presidency of healing, harmony and hope. Let us work together to shape a new paradigm - of human-centric globalisation.”
Muneeb Rashid Malik is an Advocate practising before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and Hon’ble High Court of Delhi.
He tweets @muneebmalikrash.