‘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 recognising 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.
In December 2022, when we took over the Presidency from Indonesia, I had written that a mindset shift must be catalysed by the G20. This was especially needed in the context of mainstreaming the marginalised aspirations of developing countries, the Global South and Africa.
The Voice of Global South Summit, which witnessed participation from 125 countries, was one of the foremost initiatives under our Presidency. It was an important exercise to gather inputs and ideas from the Global South. Further, our Presidency has not only seen the largest-ever participation from African countries but has also pushed for the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20.
An interconnected world means our challenges across domains are interlinked. This is the midway year of the 2030 Agenda and many are noting with great concern that the progress on sustainable development goals (SDGs) is off the track. The G20 2023 Action Plan on Accelerating Progress on SDGs will spearhead the future direction of the G20 towards implementing SDGs.
In India, living in harmony with nature has been a norm since ancient times and we have been contributing our share towards climate action even in modern times. Many countries of the Global South are at various stages of development and climate action must be a complementary pursuit. Ambitions for climate action must be matched with actions on climate finance and transfer of technology. We believe there is a need to move away from a purely restrictive attitude of what should not be done to a more constructive attitude focussing on what can be done to fight climate change.
The Chennai high-level principles (HLPs) for a sustainable and resilient blue economy focus on keeping our oceans healthy. A global ecosystem for clean and green hydrogen will emerge from our Presidency, along with a Green Hydrogen Innovation Centre. In 2015, we launched the International Solar Alliance. Now, through the Global Biofuels Alliance, we will support the world to enable energy transitions in tune with the benefits of a circular economy.
Democratising climate action is the best way to impart momentum to the movement. Just as individuals make daily decisions based on their long-term health, they can make lifestyle decisions based on the impact on the planet’s long-term health. Just like Yoga became a global mass movement for wellness, we have also nudged the world with Lifestyles for Sustainable Environment (LiFE).
Due to the impact of climate change, ensuring food and nutritional security will be crucial. Millets, or Shree Anna, can help with this while also boosting climate-smart agriculture. In the International Year of Millets, we have taken millets to global palates. The Deccan High Level Principles on Food Security and Nutrition is also helpful in this direction.
Technology is transformative but it also needs to be made inclusive. In the past, the benefits of technological advancements have not benefitted all sections of the society equally. India, over the last few years, has shown how technology can be leveraged to narrow inequalities rather than widen them.
For instance, the billions across the world that remain unbanked or lack digital identities can be financially included through digital public infrastructure (DPI). The solutions we have built using our DPI have now been recognised globally. Now, through the G20, we will help developing countries adapt, build and scale DPI to unlock the power of inclusive growth.
That India is the fastest-growing large economy is no accident. Our simple, scalable and sustainable solutions have empowered the vulnerable and the marginalised to lead our development story. From space to sports, economy to entrepreneurship, Indian women have taken the lead in various sectors. They have shifted the narrative from the development of women to women-led development. Our G20 Presidency is working on bridging the gender digital divide, reducing labour force participation gaps and enabling a larger role for women in leadership and decision-making.
For India, the G20 Presidency is not merely a high-level diplomatic endeavour. As the Mother of Democracy and a model of diversity, we opened the doors of this experience to the world.
Today, accomplishing things at scale is a quality that is associated with India. The G20 Presidency is no exception. It has become a people-driven movement. Over 200 meetings will have been organised in 60 Indian cities across the length and breadth of our nation, hosting nearly 1,00,000 delegates from 125 countries by the end of our term. No Presidency has ever encompassed such a vast and diverse geographical expanse.
It is one thing to hear about India’s demography, democracy, diversity and development from someone else. It is totally different to experience them first-hand. I am sure our G20 delegates would vouch for this.
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.
(Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of India.)