The G20 Foreign Ministers' meeting in New Delhi under India’s presidency this week was one of the largest such gathering for the Group of 20 – made up of the world’s leading economies.
The Outcome Document at the end of the G20 meeting declared that supply chains of both food and agricultural products including fertilisers should be kept reliable, open and transparent. It noted that the G20 Foreign Ministers met at a time when the world faces multi-dimensional challenges ranging from insufficient progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, to economic slowdown, debt distress, uneven pandemic recovery, growing poverty and inequality, food and energy insecurity and global supply chain disruptions, aggravated by geo-political tensions and conflicts.
"Meeting under India's G20 Presidency, with the theme 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – One Earth. One Family. One Future', the G20 Foreign Ministers deliberated upon current global challenges. They brought focus on strengthening multilateralism, food and energy security, ambitious climate and environmental action, deepening cooperation on sustainable development, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, global health, global talent pool, humanitarian assistance and disaster risk reduction, as well as gender equality and women's empowerment," the Outcome document said.
It said the global order has undergone dramatic changes since the Second World War due to economic growth and prosperity, decolonisation, demographic dividends, technological achievements, emergence of new economic powers and deeper international cooperation.
G20 Foreign Ministers said the need for revitalised multilateralism to adequately address contemporary global challenges of the 21st century, and to make global governance more representative, effective, transparent and accountable, has been voiced at multiple fora.
"In this context, a more inclusive and reinvigorated multilateralism and reform aimed at implementing the 2030 agenda is essential. We will step up efforts to make a meaningful contribution for the success of the SDG Summit in September 2023, COP28 in December 2023, and the Summit of the Future in 2024. We are supportive of further deepening cooperation between the G20 and regional partners, including African partners," it said.
The document said the G20 countries are deeply concerned by the challenges to global food security exacerbated by current conflicts and tensions.
"Promoting the availability, accessibility, affordability, sustainability, equity and transparent flow of food and agricultural products including fertilisers in all corners of the globe, to fight hunger and malnutrition, is the need of the hour. Supply chains of both food and agricultural products including fertilizers should be kept reliable, open and transparent.
"Promoting efficient, sustainable, inclusive and resilient agriculture and food systems is necessary to address the vulnerabilities of the developing countries. Support for increased cooperation in areas like agrobiodiversity, minimising food loss and waste, improving soil health, climate-resilient and sustainable agriculture, connecting local, regional and international markets, and strengthening Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), as well as promoting healthy diets and nutritious foods is essential.
"Systems that underlie food security such as water and fertilisers, should be bolstered to ensure sustainable agriculture and durable and climate-resilient solutions. We reiterate our support for open, transparent, inclusive, predictable, and non-discriminatory agricultural trade based on WTO rules," the document said.
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Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his remarks had said that G20 countries also had a responsibility towards those not in the room.
"There were five important points in the Prime Minister's address. One, he noted that multilateralism is in crisis today. And, in terms of preventing future wars and fostering international cooperation which were two primary tasks it had failed. The second point he made was that it is important to give a voice to the global south because the world was sinking... a lot of countries actually regressing on their sustainable goals pathway were witnessing challenging debts," he said.
Jaishankar reiterated PM Modi's concerns about the challenges that the participating countries should address which included the impact of the pandemic, the lives lost in natural disasters, the breakdown of global supply chains, debt and financial crisis.
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He said that the G20 group have individually and collectively an obligation to contribute to international growth and prosperity, adding that these can be implemented through sustainable partnerships and goodwill initiatives.
The G20 comprises 19 countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom and United States and the European Union (EU – and India holds the current presidency of the group.