New Delhi: The G20 group of countries on Saturday adopted the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration where consensus on all issues, including the divisive Russia-Ukraine was achieved, making it a historic win for India’s presidency.
On the first day of the two-day Leaders’ Summit in the national capital, the declaration or joint communique, included areas of strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth, accelerating progress of sustainable development goals, reforms of multilateral development institutions and reinvigorating multilateralism, was 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 differences between various 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 the war in Ukraine. It also called for countries to uphold international law and respect principles laid down in the UN Charter. However, during India’s Presidency, Russia and China refused to endorse similar language in Ukraine.
With the extensive consensus, the 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.
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 a 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.
He added that India’s policy of ‘No One Left Behind’ was as much a foreign policy goal as a domestic one, and added that it should be a global goal as well.
“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.
On the war in Ukraine, the 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.
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 leaders also called for swift implementation of a Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF). They added that they will continue to closely monitor the risks of the fast-paced developments in the crypto-asset ecosystem.
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.
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.