Like most international bodies, the G20 carries with it both hope and cause for concern. While member countries represent 85% of the global GDP and two-thirds of the world population, the G7 nations remain influential. The G7 countries bear the guilt of the most critical global issues, including climate change, the historical crime of colonialism and the continuing unequal terms of trade.
In a December 2022 article, I wrote how the transition of the G20 Presidency from Indonesia to India, soon to be followed by Brazil, represented a valuable opportunity for fostering a more inclusive world order. This is a crucial moment as challenges such as pandemics, conflicts, economic upheavals, and the impact of climate change threaten to push millions of people back into poverty and oppression. The cooperation and leadership of these nations hold the promise of contributing to a better world, even in the face of these formidable challenges. Furthermore, this year’s G20 summit’s theme is “One Earth. One Family. One Future,” which makes it even more imperative for nations to work together to end all conflicts and find common ground in advancing the well-being of people worldwide.
I see four major areas where India has and can play a significant role. These include climate justice and environmental protection, addressing global inequality by leading the path to debt cancellation for countries in the Global South, creating a new vision for women’s empowerment and ending patriarchy, and enabling the Global South to assert a proactive role in international decision-making forums.
For climate justice to become a reality, there is a critical requirement for India to take the lead in empowering indigenous communities and engaging them in decision-making processes to facilitate climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. In advancing global equality, the G20 can take the first measure to cancel the debt of countries in the Global South, a move that would mainly benefit the least developed countries and several of Africa’s diverse nations. The positive impact on people from the global south would be immense, especially if debt cancellation would encourage pathways promoting public services, social welfare, job creation and access to livelihood opportunities. The time has come for the global community to ensure gender equality within this century. While legal frameworks for women’s rights exist in most countries, achieving gender equality in social and economic spheres remains challenging. Advocating for women-led development, as India is proposing, can be impactful for the future of societies. Finally, India has long been a leader of the global south, and this legacy continues and stands exemplified by recent efforts in the BRICS meeting to advocate for the inclusion of more global south countries within BRICS. A similar approach is needed within the G20, carrying forward the spirit of Bandung and promoting south-south cooperation. India’s strong pitch for including the African Union as a full member of the G20 is a welcome step in this direction.
Disclaimer: The article was originally published on CXOtoday. The views expressed in the article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of ActionAid Association.
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