At the 1st Sherpa Meeting of India’s G20 Presidency, scheduled from 4 to 7 December 2022, international Sherpas, their delegations, and heads of invited International Organizations (IOs) from G20 Members, 9 Guest countries and 14 IOs, were warmly welcomed in Udaipur yesterday. The first day of the meeting saw various activities, interactions, and events including an informal media interaction, a side event on ‘Sustainable Development Goals: Transforming Lives at the Midpoint of the 2030 Agenda’, an exhibit of Jal Sanjhi art, a networking event for delegates, a Desert Music Symphony, and various cultural performances through the day.
Today, 5 December, marked the beginning of the substantive discussions on five key focus areas of India’s G20 Presidency. In addition to the first two sessions on ‘Technological Transformation’ and ‘Green Development and Lifestyle for Environment (LIFE)’, a dialogue on ‘Global & Regional Economy: Prospects & Challenges’ and an informal ‘Chai pe Charcha’ among G20 member countries was also held.
Discussions of the 1st Sherpa Meeting were initiated by India’s G20 Sherpa, Shri Amitabh Kant, through an overview of India’s G20 priorities across our 13 Working Groups. The Sherpa highlighted India’s role in providing a greater voice to the Global South, and utilizing its G20 Chairship to forge win-win collaborations between developing countries and advanced economies. Shri Ajay Seth, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, then proceeded to outline key economic challenges facing the world today, and highlighted the need for collective efforts by the G20 to respond to them.
This was followed by Session 1 on Technological Transformation, including the working groups on Digital Economy, Health, and Education. Delegates discussed challenges in accelerating digitalization across different sectors in their countries. Further, delegates from G20 countries, guest invitees, and IOs, made interventions on leveraging the power of technology through multiple pathways. The importance of cyber security, inclusivity in expanding access to technological services and infrastructure, and digital skilling, were inter alia highlighted in the discussions.
Session 2 on ‘Green Development and Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE)’ followed, with the focus moving to effective strategies to collectively combat climate change. The need to facilitate just green and energy transitions was discussed, with India’s G20 Sherpa highlighting the necessity of galvanizing collective action towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The topics covered under the Development (DWG), Energy Transitions (ETWG), Climate Sustainability Working Group (CSWG), and Disaster Risk Resilience and Reduction (DRRWG) working groups were covered in this session. Countries appreciated India’s ‘LiFE’ initiative and extended support to take the agenda forward.
A dialogue on “Global & Regional Economy: Prospects & Challenges” was held next. Ms. Kristina Kostial, Deputy Director of Strategy and Policy Department, IMF, made a presentation on the pressing global economic challenges of the day, including the international debt situation and trade. The dialogue discussed ideas for the world to tackle such concerns and emerge more resilient to economic vagaries.
A discussion between G20 Sherpa over high tea in the evening – ‘Chai pe Charcha’, was held to discuss ways forward on shared concerns as well as to foster deeper relationships and enhance the contribution of G20 as a whole.
During an excursion to the historic Manek Chowk in Udaipur, G20 Sherpas were provided traditional Indian jackets, Safas/Turban and stoles to further enrich their authentic cultural experience of Rajasthan. Day 2 concluded with Ratri Bhoj par Samvaad (Conversation over Dinner) at the spectacular venue – Jagmandir, Udaipur.
Through a range of cultural activities, visits to historic sites and scenic locations and showcasing Rajasthani art and craft, the visiting G20 delegates have got a rich glimpse and deep insight into our rich history and traditions. Udaipur, a city known for its white marble architecture and beautiful lakes, and the G20 discussions here, is providing them a memorable and unique experience of India.