New Delhi [India], January 14 (ANI): Think20 Inception Conference, the first key T20 convening under India’s G20 presidency, concluded here on Saturday with the participants giving suggestions for making engagement groups of the international body more effective to tackle challenges like climate change and food security.
The T20, which serves as an “ideas bank” for the G20, has constituted seven task forces that will delve into issues ranging from digital public infrastructure to macroeconomic policy.
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The Observer Research Foundation, as the Think20 Secretariat under the Indian Presidency of the G20, hosted the Think20 Inception Conference on January 13 and 14, the first of many key convenings that will take place over the course of the Presidency.
The Conference saw the attendance of more than 250 participants, including over 50 international in-person delegates, who presented key ideas and priorities, laying the groundwork for their respective task forces. India formally assumed G20 presidency on December 1 last year.
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Speaking at the inaugural session, Ambassador Sujan Chinoy, Chair, T20 India Core Group, said an important element that T20 India has given special attention to is encouraging cross-pollination of ideas across the seven task forces.
“This conference will allow participants to further interact, and create synergy,” he said.
Echoing the sentiment, Amitabh Kant, Sherpa, G20 India, highlighted the role the T20 and its intellectual inputs would play in shaping how the G20 unfolds in the coming years.
“The real brain trust of the G20 is the T20. The shaping of how India does in the G20, how it unfolds the G20 in the coming years, and how G20 is shaped will be determined by the T20 and its intellectual inputs,” he said.
Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri reminded the participants of why the G20 was formed and why it is relevant.
“The G20 arose and was established when the world economy was in a crisis. It goes to the strength of the G20; it was able to calm issues down. The world felt safer as a result of the G20’s actions,” he said.
The Think20 (T20) is an official Engagement Group of the G20. It serves as an “ideas bank” for the G20 by bringing together think tanks and high-level experts to discuss policy issues relevant to the G20.
Samir Saran, Chair, T20 Secretariat, elaborated upon the relationship-building capability of the G20.
“The most important task in front of all of us today is to renew friendships, strengthen the community, and build a network of believers in the G20.”
The inaugural session was followed by the first plenary session ‘Reformed Multilateralism: A Global Imperative’, which explored the limitations of multilateralism in a world that is becoming increasingly multi-polar.
“Multilateral institutions were not built for multipolarity,” said Ebtesam Al-Ketbi, President and Founder, Emirates Policy Center, UAE.
Stormy-Annika Mildner, Executive Director, Aspen Institute, Germany, asserted that multilateralism is worth preserving.
“We need to make G20 more effective, particularly the engagement groups, to tackle global challenges like climate change, pandemics, food security, and more,” she said.
With the world faced with yet another global crisis, attention was drawn to the growing macroeconomic vulnerabilities during the second plenary session ‘Global Financial Order and Macroeconomic Stability’.
Bambang PS Brodjonegoro, Professor, Faculty of Economics, University of Indonesia, asserted that the G20 has to start to deal “not with the financial sector but with the real sector–how to deal with the supply side disruption after the pandemic”.
Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Suman Bery stressed how the T20 should account for the uncertainties in the macro-economic environment.
“India is well-placed to clarify what the new growth model should be. This T20 has an opportunity and an obligation to present to global leaders the aspects of the new growth model,” he said, according to a release.
The need to promote sustainability also took centre stage at the conference.
Jayant Sinha, MP, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, emphasized climate action.
“The world is jaded; we are living in an age of crises–global crisis, energy crisis, and food crisis. Amidst all these crises, we must take the time to focus on climate action.”
The impact of the pandemic on SDG progress has fuelled the need to focus on sustainability even more.
John J Kirton, Director and Founder, G20 Research Group, University of Toronto, Canada, pointed out during the third plenary session that it is clear now that the “UN has failed to get the SDGs’ progress back on track”.
“Among the alternative global governance institutions, only the G20 has the power to do the job,” Kirton said.
Yet, in the face of such challenges, there lies an opportunity for the G20 to be more inclusive and sustainable as Abhay Thakur, Sous Sherpa, G20 India, noted.
“As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the Bali Summit, we would like our G20 presidency to be inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, and decisive,” he said. (ANI)
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