India to host virtual ‘Voice of Global South Summit’ on Jan 12-13
Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said the outcomes of the two-day ‘Voice of Global South Summit’ will be channelled into the country’s G20 presidency
India announced on Friday it will host a virtual summit of developing countries next week to learn about their developmental challenges and priorities, with foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra saying the outcomes of the two-day event will be channelled into the country’s G20 presidency.
The Voice of Global South Summit, with the theme “Unity of Voice, Unity of Purpose”, will bring together countries of the Global South on a common platform during January 12-13 to share their perspectives and priorities on a range of issues, Kwatra said.
More than 120 countries are being invited to the summit, which will have two sessions for heads of State and government to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The remaining sessions will be for ministers and will focus on issues such as foreign policy, finance, energy, trade, health, education and environment.
Each session will include 10 to 20 countries to enable more focused discussions, people familiar with the matter said. The session for energy ministers, for instance, will feature countries that are either energy producers or have large energy needs, and countries will be selected for each session on the basis of their strength or standing in that particular field, they said.
It was not immediately clear whether China, Pakistan and Ukraine will be part of the summit, and Kwatra side-stepped questions on participating countries during a media briefing by saying the list of confirmed countries would be shared at a later date.
The summit is being seen as an effort by India to burnish its credentials as a country representing the interests and concerns of the Global South. Kwatra too pointed out the Prime Minister had stated India’s G20 priorities will be shaped in consultation with not only the grouping of the world’s 20 largest economies but also the Global South. The summit will be an opportunity for non-G20 countries to share their ideas and expectations with the G20, he said.
Noting that the summit was inspired by Modi’s vision of “Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas, sabka prayaas”, Kwatra said: “India has always been at the forefront and consistently championed the cause of the developing world. We have been strongly articulating the interests and concerns of our partners in the Global South in all international forums and mechanisms.”
Global developments such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict have impacted developing countries, including increased difficulties in access and affordability of food, fertilisers and fuel, and these have come on the back of challenges such as climate change, mounting debt and inflationary pressures, Kwatra said. “Often, however, these concerns of the developing world do not receive due attention and space on the global stage,” he said.
“A consultative and outcome-oriented conversation, focused on the most pressing concerns, interests and priorities of the developing countries, is the need of the hour. The Voice of Global South Summit is India’s endeavour to provide a common platform to deliberate on these concerns,” he added.
India will ensure inputs from the summit are channelled into the deliberations of the G20, Kwatra said.
The Prime Minister will lead the inaugural session for heads of state and government that will have the theme “voice of Global South for human-centric development”, and the closing session for leaders with the theme “Unity of voice, unity of purpose”.
The finance ministers’ session will focus on “financing people-centric development”, while the environment ministers’ session will dwell on “balancing growth with environment friendly lifestyles”. The two sessions for foreign ministers will focus on “Priorities of the Global South” and “Suggestions for India’s G20 presidency”.
The energy ministers’ session will focus on “energy security and development” and the health ministers’ session will look at “cooperation to build resilient healthcare systems”. The commerce and trade ministers’ session will deliberate on “developing synergies in the Global South”
Kwatra described the summit as an opportunity for India and the Global South to make their voice heard and to provide relevant inputs for discussions at various working groups and ministerial sessions of the G20.