All through Indonesia’s G20 presidency, members struggled to arrive at a consensus at most of the meetings; and walkouts over Russia’s action in Ukraine were not uncommon. But at the Bali Summit held at Nusa Dua on November 15-16, the grouping found a common voice – the G20 Declaration took the issue of the Russia-Ukraine war head-on.
The leaders of most of the world’s largest economies upheld Ukraine’s sovereignty and reiterated the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly Resolution of March 2, 2022. The Declaration condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and demanded “complete and unconditional withdrawal” of the former’s forces from Ukraine.
But Indonesia presidency’s real achievement lies in the fact that for the first time, a clear relationship between security issues and the global economy has been established, and agreed upon.
While it is not new for G20 Declarations to include commitments to principles of the United Nations, international law and the multilateral system, an outright rejection of not just the use of nuclear weapons but even the “threat of use of nuclear weapons” has now been called out as “inadmissible”. One of the issues ailing the world today, is food inflation and energy security. To counter it, the leaders vowed to “support stability of markets, providing temporary and targeted support to cushion the impact of price increases”.
The Declaration also identified the LDCs and small island developing nations as most vulnerable to the current economic crisis. Keeping true to the theme of the Indonesian presidency, ‘Recover Together, Recover Stronger’, the Declaration reiterated support to them, in not just weathering current challenges but also facilitating them in their journey to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.
On the issue of global warming, the G20 leaders renewed their pledge to the Glasgow Climate Pact and vowed to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C.
Keeping in line with the commitment to phase out inefficient fossil fuel, the G20 resolved to come up with $20 billion in finances for Indonesia to shift from coal power plants to cleaner fuel-based power plants. Last year, South Africa was the recipient of similar finances.
Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lead on the need to counter fertiliser shortages, as it is the next big crisis which would have an adverse effect on food supply, the Declaration acknowledged a need to work on “resilient and sustainable food, fertiliser and energy systems.”
Subsequently, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Bank Group (WBG) have been assigned the responsibility to provide data on vulnerabilities across nations concerning food security. The organisations will also look at the gaps in global responses; examine food and nutrition variables and funding; and examine the supply and demand of fertilisers. The complied report will be submitted by spring 2023. This will help to put in place a concrete plan and structure to deal with the future food crisis.
While several issues of global concern were addressed and many more were added to the list to tackle in future, the grouping lacks a tangible structure through which it can monitor progress and accelerate it. The G20 agenda changes every year, disrupting any hopes of continuity. Hence, the grouping is often criticised for its inability to execute solutions or ideas mentioned in the Declaration. Success largely depends on the exchange of information, best practices and finding commonalities in goals.