Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. These two words convey a profound philosophy. They mean: “The world is one family”. It is a global vision that encourages us to grow as a universal family, transcending borders, languages and ideologies.
During India’s G20 Presidency, this translated into a call for people-centred progress. As One Earth, we come together to feed our planet. As one family, we support each other in our quest for growth. And we are moving together towards a common future – One Future – which is an undeniable truth in these interconnected times.
The post-pandemic world order is very different from the world that preceded it. There were, among others, three important changes. First, there is a growing realization that we need to move from a GDP-centric view of the world to a human-centric view. Second, the world recognizes the importance of resilient and reliable global supply chains. Third, a collective call has been made to strengthen multilateralism through the reform of global institutions.
Our presidency of the G20 has played a catalytic role in all three of these changes.
In December 2022, when we took over the presidency from Indonesia, I wrote that the G20 must catalyze a change in mentality. This was particularly necessary in the context of mainstreaming the marginalized aspirations of developing countries, the South and Africa.
The Voice of the South Summit held in January 2023, attended by 125 countries, was one of the most important initiatives of our presidency. This was an important exercise to gather contributions and ideas from countries of the South. Furthermore, our presidency not only witnessed the highest ever participation of African countries, but also pushed for the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20.
An interconnected world means that our challenges in all areas are interdependent. We are halfway through the 2030 Agenda, and many are very concerned that progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is lagging behind. The 2023 G20 Action Plan to Accelerate Progress towards the SDGs will spearhead the G20’s future direction towards implementing the SDGs.
In India, living in harmony with nature has been a norm since ancient times, and we are also contributing to climate action in modern times. Many countries in the South are at different stages of development and climate action must be a complementary approach. Ambitions for climate action must be accompanied by action on climate finance and technology transfer.
We believe that it is necessary to move away from a purely restrictive attitude on what should not be done to adopt a more constructive attitude focused on what can be done to combat climate change. The High Level Chennai Principles for a Sustainable and Resilient Blue Economy focus on maintaining the health of our oceans. A global ecosystem for clean and green hydrogen will emerge from our presidency, as well as an innovation center for green hydrogen. In 2015, we launched the International Solar Alliance. Now, through the Global Biofuels Alliance, we will help the world enable energy transitions in line with the benefits of a circular economy.
Democratizing climate action is the best way to give momentum to the movement. Just as individuals make day-to-day decisions based on their long-term health, they can make lifestyle decisions based on the impact on the long-term health of the planet. Just as yoga has become a global mass movement for wellness, we have also empowered the world with Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyles (LiFE).
Due to the impact of climate change, ensuring food and nutrition security will also be crucial. Millets, or Shree Anna, can contribute to this while promoting climate-smart agriculture. In the International Year of Millet, we brought millet to palates around the world. The Deccan High Level Principles on Food Security and Nutrition also contribute in this direction.
Technology is transformative, but it must also be inclusive. In the past, the benefits of technological advances have not accrued equally to all sections of society. Over the past few years, India has shown how technology can be harnessed to reduce inequality rather than worsen it.
For example, the billions of people around the world who do not have a bank account or a digital identity can be financially included through digital public infrastructure (DPI). The solutions we have built using our DPI are now globally recognized. Now, through the G20, we will help developing countries adapt, build and scale IPD to unleash the power of inclusive growth.
The fact that India is the fastest growing major economy is no coincidence. Our simple, scalable and sustainable solutions have empowered vulnerable and marginalized people to lead our development story.
From space to sports, from economics to entrepreneurship, Indian women have taken the lead in various sectors. They shifted the discourse from women’s development to women-led development. Our G20 Presidency is working to bridge the digital gender divide, narrow labor market participation gaps and empower women to play a greater role in leadership and decision-making.
For India, the G20 presidency is not just a high-level diplomatic endeavor. As Mother of Democracy and Model of Diversity, we have opened the doors of this experience to the world.
Today, doing things on a large scale is a quality associated with India. The G20 Presidency is no exception. It has become a people-led movement. Over 200 meetings will have been held in 60 Indian cities across the country, welcoming nearly 100,000 delegates from 125 countries by the end of our term. No presidency has ever encompassed such a vast and diverse geographic expanse.
It’s one thing to hear someone else talk about India’s demography, democracy, diversity and development. It is totally different to experience it directly. I’m sure our G20 delegates would attest to that.
Our G20 Presidency strives to bridge divides, dismantle barriers and sow the seeds of collaboration that nurtures a world where unity prevails over discord, where shared destiny eclipses isolation. As Chair of the G20, we were committed to broadening the global table, ensuring that every voice is heard and every country contributes. I am convinced that we matched our commitment with actions and results.
Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of India.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
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