The 18th G20 Summit in New Delhi was the first-ever hosted by India on September 9–10, 2023. The theme ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, reflected India’s vision of a human-centric and inclusive development. The event took place against the backdrop of a challenging geopolitical landscape, notably the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the intensifying US-China rivalry.
The African Union was granted permanent membership to the G20, a move proposed by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For seven years, the African Union had actively advocated for full membership and the decision to include the alliance of 55 countries was a significant recognition of Africa’s increasing global significance — together making it the 11th biggest economy in the world. The bloc may also be renamed as G21.
The New Delhi Declaration was adopted by consensus on all developmental and geopolitical issues. Here are five key takeaways:
G20 member states signed the Green Development Pact committing to “urgently accelerate” actions to address environmental crises and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. There is a reaffirmation made by developed nations to jointly mobilize USD 100 billion climate finance per year. A Global Biofuels Alliance was announced to elevate the importance of sustainable biofuels and increase ethanol blending capacity globally to 20 percent. Member countries supporting the alliance included Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, Italy, South Africa and United States. A G20 satellite mission for environment and climate observation was also proposed to help the countries of the Global South with climate and weather data.
The G20 countries recognized the importance of a global digital public infrastructure (DPI). The Leaders Declaration agreed on developing a G20 Framework for Systems of DPI and a plan to build and maintain a Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository (GDPIR), a virtual repository of DPI. Finally, the One Future Alliance (OFA) initiative was proposed to build capacity and provide technical assistance and adequate funding support for implementing DPI in low-and middle-income Countries (LMICs).
The G20 called for strengthening global healthcare by prioritizing One-Health, emergency preparedness, promoting the use of technology and enhancing R&D cooperation worldwide. The group reaffirmed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) central role in the global health architecture and its core purpose of achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC). It also advocated for increased WHO financing. The WHO and the G20 introduced the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) to set global standards and best practices, support digital health governance and provide technical and financial aid to implement the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025.
The leaders agreed to support implementation of the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). They also called for a more effective structure for the World Bank and multilateral development banks (MDBs) to boost the global economy and collaborate in areas such as hybrid capital. A global consensus for cryptocurrency was discussed, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) setting the contours of a regulatory framework for crypto assets.
The India-Middle East-Europe Connectivity Corridor was announced, a first-of-a-kind initiative on infrastructure involving India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, EU, France, Germany, Italy and the United States. The proposed corridor would link port facilities and railways across the Middle East, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel. The plan is an alternative to China’s strategic infrastructure investments, including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The leaders committed to focus on infrastructure projects that are sustainable, resilient, transparent, accountable, inclusive, affordable and accessible through better mobilization of finances and efficient use of existing resources.
India’s Presidency has been among the most ambitious in the history of G20. With 112 outcomes and presidential documents, the group of nations discussed progress on climate crisis, sustainable development, digital public infrastructure, multilateral institutional reform with greater inclusion of the Global South. The G20 presidency provided India an opportunity to be a key voice on global challenges. The chair will now pass to Brazil and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to carry forward the work in 2024.