Towards a Brighter Tomorrow: India’s G20 Presidency and the Dawn of a New Multilateralism

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PHOTO: Twitter X @narendramodi

Today marks 365 days since India assumed the G20 Presidency. It is a moment to
reflect, recommit, and rejuvenate the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, ‘One Earth,
One Family, One Future.’
As we undertook this responsibility last year, the global landscape grappled with
multifaceted challenges: recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, looming climate
threats, financial instability, and debt distress in developing nations, all amid declining
multilateralism. In the midst of conflicts and competition, development cooperation
suffered, impeding progress.
Assuming the G20 Chair, India sought to offer the world an alternative to status quo, a
shift from a GDP-centric to human-centric progress. India aimed to remind the world
of what unites us, rather than what divides us. Finally, the global conversation had to
evolve – the interests of the few had to give way to the aspirations of the many. This
required a fundamental reform of multilateralism as we knew it.
Inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, and decisive—these four words defined our
approach as G20 president, and the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration (NDLD),
unanimously adopted by all G20 members, is testimony to our commitment to deliver
on these principles.
Inclusivity has been at the heart of our presidency. The inclusion of the African Union
(AU) as a permanent member of the G20 integrated 55 African nations into the forum,
expanding it to encompass 80% of the global population. This proactive stance has
fostered a more comprehensive dialogue on global challenges and opportunities.
The first-of-its-kind ‘Voice of the Global South Summit,’ convened by India in two
editions, heralded a new dawn of multilateralism. India mainstreamed the Global
South’s concerns in international discourse and has ushered in an era where
developing countries take their rightful place in shaping the global narrative.
Inclusivity also infused India’s domestic approach to G20, making it a People’s
Presidency that befits that world’s largest democracy. Through “Jan Bhagidari”
(people’s participation) events, G20 reached 1.4 billion citizens, involving all states
and Union Territories (UTs) as partners. And on substantive elements, India ensured
that international attention was directed to broader developmental aims, aligning with
G20’s mandate.
At the critical midpoint of the 2030 Agenda, India delivered the G20 2023 Action Plan
to Accelerate Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), taking a cross-
cutting, action-oriented approach to interconnected issues, including health,
education, gender equality and environmental sustainability.
A key area driving this progress is robust Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI). Here,
India was decisive in its recommendations, having witnessed the revolutionary impact
of digital innovations like Aadhaar, UPI, and Digilocker first-hand. Through G20, we
successfully completed the Digital Public Infrastructure Repository, a significant
stride in global technological collaboration. This repository, featuring over 50 DPIs
from 16 countries, will help the Global South build, adopt, and scale DPI to unlock the
power of inclusive growth.
For our One Earth, we introduced ambitious and inclusive aims to create urgent,
lasting, and equitable change. The Declaration’s ‘Green Development Pact’ addresses
the challenges of choosing between combating hunger and protecting the planet, by
outlining a comprehensive roadmap where employment and ecosystems are
complimentary, consumption is climate conscious, and production is planet-friendly.
In tandem, the G20 Declaration calls for an ambitious tripling of global renewable
energy capacity by 2030. Coupled with the establishment of the Global Biofuels
Alliance and a concerted push for Green Hydrogen, the G20’s ambitions to build a
cleaner, greener world is undeniable. This has always been India’s ethos, and through
Lifestyles for Sustainable Development (LiFE), the world can benefit from our age-
old sustainable traditions.
Further, the Declaration underscores our commitment to climate justice and equity,
urging substantial financial and technological support from the Global North. For the
first time, there was a recognition of the quantum jump needed in the magnitude of
development financing, moving from billions to trillions of dollars. G20
acknowledged that developing countries require $5.9 trillion to fulfil their Nationally
Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2030.
Given the monumental resources required, G20 emphasised the importance of better,
larger, and more effective Multilateral Development Banks. Concurrently, India is
taking a leading role in UN reforms, especially in the restructuring of principal organs
like the UN Security Council, that will ensure a more equitable global order.
Gender equality took centre stage in the Declaration, culminating in the formation of a
dedicated Working Group on the Empowerment of Women next year. India’s Women’s
Reservation Bill 2023, reserving one-third of India’s Parliament and state legislative
assembly seats for women epitomizes our commitment to women-led development.
The New Delhi Declaration embodies a renewed spirit of collaboration across these
key priorities, focusing on policy coherence, reliable trade, and ambitious climate
action. It is a matter of pride that during our Presidency, G20 achieved 87 outcomes
and 118 adopted documents, a marked rise from the past.
During our G20 Presidency, India led deliberations on geopolitical issues and their
impact on economic growth and development. Terrorism and the senseless killing of
civilians is unacceptable, and we must address it with a policy of zero-tolerance. We
must embody humanitarianism over hostility and reiterate that this is not an era of
I am delighted that during our Presidency India achieved the extraordinary: it
revitalised multilateralism, amplified the voice of the Global South, championed
development, and fought for the empowerment of women, everywhere.
As we hand over the G20 Presidency to Brazil, we do so with the conviction that our
collective steps for people, planet, peace, and prosperity, will resonate for years to



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