2022: The World This Year

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2022: The World This Year
G20: More challenges

  Avishka Ashok

TWTW#196, 31 December 2022, Vol. 4, No. 45


What happened?

On 15 November, the leaders from the G20 member-states and other observer states gathered in Bali, Indonesia, for a two-day long Summit to discuss global issues such as global security, climate change, post-pandemic economic recovery, the war in Europe and more. 

The G20 member countries unanimously adopted a declaration to ensure cautious evaluation of rising interest rates to prevent spill overs in the global economy. The G20 raised concerns about the rising debt in developing countries and urged the creditors to share the burden. Besides the growing instability in the economy, the G20 also focused on global issues such as food insecurity and climate change. 

The Summit also highlighted the climate change challenge and agreed to coordinate the mitigation of climate change's effects and restrict the global temperature increase. The leaders underscored the necessity to abide by the temperature goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The three largest rainforest countries, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia, also launched a joint partnership to coordinate forest conservation and preservation after decades of negotiations.  

The G20 Summit in Bali ended without a joint declaration due to the opposition to President Vladimir Putin's aggressive war in Ukraine. The Summit, however, adopted a declaration denouncing Russia and its actions. The declaration is considered contradictory for using strong terms against Moscow but also upholding the opinions of some members who reproved the use of unilateral sanctions in international affairs. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the Summit via video link and excluded Russia from the group, calling it G19 and urging the world leaders to act responsibly in bringing an end to the violence. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over the G20 presidency and revealed the key agenda for the coming year. He said, "in the next one year, it will be our endeavour that G20 works as a global prime mover to give impetus to collective action.” He pledged to keep gender parity at the centre of the G20's activities and planned to make the forum a catalyst for global change.

The G20 provided a platform for numerous bilateral meetings between the members of the group. The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden discussed global issues of common interest, the war in Ukraine, climate change and more. Xi also held bilateral discussions with French President Emmanuel Macron, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte, South African President Ramaphosa, Australian Prime Minister Albanese, and more. In his meeting with Canadian President Justin Trudeau, Xi Jinping criticized the country for leaking the details of their bilateral meeting without prior consent. The short disagreement caught the media's attention as it displayed the growing discontent between the two leaders and the representative countries. Joe Biden also met Narendra Modi and promised to invest USD 15 million in the country's health infrastructure.

What is the background?

First, post-pandemic economic recovery, food insecurity and climate change. The summit took place in the backdrop of a global economy that was slowly slipping into a recession and an economic slowdown. The years of the COVID-19 pandemic had weakened the economies of most countries, but hit harder on the underdeveloped and developing states. The result of the pandemic and the war in Eastern Europe led to extreme food insecurities in Chad, Haiti, Afghanistan, North Korea, and many more countries. Immediate and urgent attention is required towards the 50 million people on the brink of starvation. The summit took place before the COP27 and COP15 meetings. The recent floods in Pakistan, constant rise in temperature and frequent climate induced disasters became a major issue of concern for all members of the G20. 

Second, the focus on the Ukraine war. Before the world could successfully regain control of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine wreaked havoc as it impacted most countries across the globe. It increased the economic woes, caused inflation, restricted supply chains, increased energy and food insecurity, and engendered human suffering. The political upheavals caused by Russia, Ukraine, NATO made it difficult for countries to build consensus on issues of significance. The G20 summit was expected to aid in resolving the conflict by arriving at a joint declaration., however, Putin’s actions failed to achieve the same. 

Third, Indonesia’s presidency. Indonesia’s Presidency established the Financial Intermediary Fund which is expected to play a significant role in global preparedness for future pandemics. The country also pushed for mobilizing health resources for an improved global health vitality. The G20 summit hosted by Indonesia served as a platform for numerous bilateral meetings and collaborations. It also paved the way for digital initiatives for economic recovery. Indonesia also promoted and augmented the expansion of global research and manufacturing centres, providing opportunities to low-middle-income countries to access resources and products. 

About the author

Avishka Ashok is a Research Associate at the National Institute of Advanced Studies.


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