Current News - International - International Organizations

11th IBSA Trilateral Ministerial Commission

On 23rd Sept, Foreign Ministers of India, Brazil, and South Africa met for the 11th IBSA Trilateral Ministerial Commission, expressed frustration with the lack of progress in UN Security Council reform negotiations.

Key Points

  • Commitment to Security Council Expansion: The foreign ministers reaffirmed their commitment to expanding the UN Security Council to include representation from developing economies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • Call for Result-Oriented Process: They emphasized the need for a result-oriented approach and urged intensified efforts to achieve concrete outcomes within a fixed timeframe through the initiation of text-based negotiations.
  • IBSA's Role and Principles: The ministers highlighted the role of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) forum in promoting coordination on global issues and enhancing trilateral cooperation.
  • They underscored the importance of IBSA's principles, including reformed multilateralism, human rights, and international law.
  • Energizing IBSA Forum: The ministers expressed their intention to invigorate the IBSA Forum and announced plans for a Standalone Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Brazil in early 2024.

India Global Forum and World Governments Summit Join Forces for Emerging Economies Programme

Recently, India Global Forum and World Governments Summit have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the Emerging Economies Programme, a significant endeavour aimed at fostering sustainable economic growth and development in the Global South.

Key Points

  • Fostering Sustainable Growth: The Emerging Economies Programme is a testament to the collaborative commitment of India Global Forum and World Governments Summit.
  • It is geared towards promoting sustainable economic growth and development in the Global South.
  • High-Level Engagement: The programme will serve as a platform to convene key stakeholders, including government officials, business leaders, economists, and experts.
  • It will facilitate high-level discussions on topics such as sustainable economic growth, geo-economic perspectives, and innovative solutions.
  • Thought Leadership and Research: The partnership will emphasize cultivating and nurturing thought leadership.
  • It will involve producing research on emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities specific to the Global South.
  • Enhancing Data for Future Governments: The programme will also work on progressively enhancing data related to the region, ensuring that future governments have access to valuable insights.
  • About India Global Forum: India Global Forum plays a crucial role in narrating India's contemporary story. It serves as a gateway for businesses and nations looking to engage with the rapidly changing and growing Indian market.
  • About World Governments Summit: The World Governments Summit Organization is a global, impartial, non-profit entity dedicated to shaping the future of governments.

ADB Revises India's GDP Growth Projection for 2022-2023

Recently, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) adjusted India's gross domestic product (GDP) projection for the fiscal year 2022-2023, lowering it from 6.4 percent to 6.3 percent due to factors such as slowing exports and the potential impact of erratic rainfall on agricultural output.

Key Points

  • This adjustment is attributed to concerns over declining exports and the possible adverse effects of irregular rainfall on agriculture.
  • Steady Growth for 2023-2024: The GDP projection for the current fiscal year, 2023-2024, remains at 6.7 percent.
  • This optimism is based on expectations of rising private investment and industrial output driving economic growth during this period.
  • Drivers of Growth: The Asian Development Outlook for September 2023 predicts that India's growth for the remainder of this fiscal year and the next will be primarily propelled by robust domestic consumption due to improving consumer confidence. Investment, including increased government capital expenditure, will also contribute to this growth.
  • Downside Risks: ADB identifies downside risks, including global geopolitical tensions that could create economic uncertainty or lead to a rapid increase in global food prices.
  • Additionally, adverse weather conditions during the kharif (July-October) and rabi (October-April) seasons may further impact agricultural growth.
  • Potential Upside: The report suggests that economic growth in FY25 could surpass expectations if there is a significant increase in foreign direct investment, especially in the manufacturing sector, as multinational corporations diversify their supply chains to include India.

UN Secretary-General Calls for Global Plan to Revive SDGs

Recently, UN Secretary-General emphasized the urgency of a global plan to reinvigorate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are significantly behind schedule in achieving their 2030 targets.

Key Points

  • Challenges Ahead: UN Secretary General addressed world leaders at a high-level forum in the UN, where a political declaration was adopted to expedite efforts toward the 17 SDGs.
  • Slow Progress: Despite their adoption in 2015 with a pledge to "leave no one behind," only 15% of the 169 targets within the 17 SDGs are currently on track, while some are regressing.
  • Ambitious Action: The political declaration presents an opportunity to accelerate SDG progress. It includes a commitment to financing developing countries, support for a proposed SDG Stimulus of at least $500 billion annually, and an effective debt-relief mechanism.
  • Reforming Finance: The declaration also advocates reforming the business model of multilateral development banks to offer more affordable private finance for developing nations and reforming the international finance architecture.

Key Areas of Focus

  • Hunger Alleviation: Addressing hunger is a top priority, as millions of people continue to suffer from food insecurity.
  • Renewable Energy Transition: The transition to renewable energy needs to accelerate.
  • Quality Education: Ensuring quality education for children and youth is vital.
  • Decent Work and Social Protection: Creating decent jobs and extending social protection are essential.
  • Protecting the Environment: Combating climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss is critical.
  • Gender Equality: Promoting gender equality and ending gender-based violence are integral to achieving these goals.

UNESCO Adds Kyiv and Lviv to 'In Danger' List

UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural organization, has recently included the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Lviv on its 'in danger' list due to the ongoing risk posed by a potential Russian invasion.

Key Points

  • Russian Invasion Threat: The decision was made during UNESCO's annual world heritage committee meeting in Riyadh, and it highlights the need for better protection of these historic cities and their cultural treasures.
  • Protection and Aid: UNESCO stated that the inclusion of Kyiv and Lviv on the List of World Heritage in Danger also allows for additional financial and technical assistance to implement emergency measures for their safeguarding.
  • This move underscores the critical importance of preserving these historic sites in the face of looming threats.
  • Specific Sites Listed: Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv and the medieval structures within the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery site have been added to the 'in danger' list due to the threat posed by the Russian offensive.
  • Odessa's Inclusion: The decision to designate Kyiv and Lviv as 'in danger' sites followed UNESCO's earlier addition of Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odessa to the World Heritage List.
  • About Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv: Saint Sophia Cathedral, constructed between 1037 and 1044 during the reign of Yaroslav the Wise, stands as a remarkable architectural gem.
  • It represents an exquisite fusion of Byzantine and Ukrainian architectural styles, featuring an exterior adorned with 13 golden domes, each symbolizing Christ, the Virgin Mary, the apostles, and various saints.
  • About Lviv: Lviv, founded in the late Middle Ages, achieved recognition when its historic center was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1998.
  • Known for its rich history, charming architecture, and vibrant cultural scene, Lviv is often celebrated as Ukraine's most enchanting and well-preserved city.

12th IGCF in Sharjah Advocates Sustainable Resource Management

On September 13-14, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, hosted the 12th International Government Communication Forum (IGCF), reaffirming its commitment to combat climate change and promote sustainable resource management.

Key Points:

  • Resource Management Emphasis: Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, highlighted the significance of resource management and sustainability.
  • Triangular Approach: He emphasized the role of natural resources, qualified human resources, and advanced technology in transforming resources into wealth.
  • Forum Background: The IGCF is an annual event that began in 2012, serving as a platform for government practitioners, students, and leaders to discuss government communication strategies.
  • 2023 Theme: This year's focus areas included natural resources, water and food security, education, investment, and economics.
  • Global Hub for Solutions: The IGCF has become a centre for global discussions and innovative solutions to pressing challenges.
  • COP Summit Hosting: As the UAE prepares to host the upcoming COP summit, the discussions at IGCF 12 underscore the nation's dedication to addressing climate change and promoting sustainability.

India – Middle East – Europe Economic Corridor

Recently, during the G20 Summit in New Delhi, an MoU was signed between India, the US, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, the UAE, France, Germany, and Italy to create the India – Middle East – Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC).

Key Points

  • Establishment of IMEC: An MoU has been signed on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi to establish the India – Middle East – Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC).
  • The IMEC is envisioned as a network of transport corridors, including railways and sea lanes, aimed at facilitating economic growth by connecting Asia, the Arabian Gulf, and Europe.
  • Competition and Potential Benefits: The competition between PGII and BRI could lead to diversification of options for countries with infrastructure requirements.
  • China has also modified the BRI to address concerns and emphasize a "Green BRI." Both initiatives may benefit from this competition, leading to improved infrastructure outcomes.

What is Part of Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII)?

  • The PGII is a partnership committed to upholding values, generating substantial impact, and ensuring transparency in addressing the substantial infrastructure requirements of countries with low and middle incomes.
  • Response to China's BRI The PGII was established as a response to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which began in 2013.
  • PGII Aims: The PGII aims to be transparent and focuses on building climate change-resilient infrastructure.
  • It also aims to promote gender equality and develop health infrastructure in recipient countries.
  • The financing provided through PGII is in the form of loans, beneficial for both lending and receiving countries.
  • PGII Initiatives: Several projects have been announced as part of PGII initiatives, including investments in health infrastructure in India.
  • The European Commission has activated 300 billion euros for critical connectivity projects, with half allocated to Africa.

Introduction to the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI)

  • The Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious global project that centers around enhancing connectivity and fostering cooperation among numerous countries spanning across Asia, Africa, and Europe. According to China, the BRI encompasses approximately 150 countries.
  • Origins and Scope: The initiative was initially unveiled in 2013 and revolves around the development of extensive networks of infrastructure. These include roadways, railways, maritime ports, power grids, oil and gas pipelines, and associated projects.

Dual Components of the BRI

  • Silk Road Economic Belt:This component primarily focuses on land-based connectivity, with the goal of linking China to Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe through various infrastructure projects.
  • 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: The maritime aspect of the initiative centers on sea-based connectivity, aiming to establish a network connecting China's southern coastline with regions such as the Mediterranean, Africa, South-East Asia, and Central Asia.

Significance for China

  • The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) stands as a symbol of China's economic and industrial prowess, reflecting its aspirations for global political and strategic influence.
  • As domestic infrastructure investments faced sustainability challenges, China shifted its focus toward bolstering the global competitiveness of its businesses.
  • Substantial infrastructure investments in less developed and developing nations have allowed China to extend its influence worldwide, potentially reshaping established global order dynamics and contesting the positions of Western powers.
  • The BRI is set to reinforce China's presence in the Eurasian region, positioning it as a dominant force in the heartland of Asia.

Comparison Between PGII and BRI

  • Focus on Infrastructure Development:
    • Both BRI and PGII emphasize supporting infrastructure development, especially in low-to-middle-income countries.
  • Evolution from Intent to Implementation:
    • BRI took two years to move from an initial intent to a concrete and implementable initiative.
    • PGII evolved from an announcement of intent in 2021 (B3W) into an initiative with clear objectives and improved coordination.
  • Domestic Growth as a Priority:
    • Both initiatives prioritize domestic economic growth.
    • China seeks to address overcapacity and enhance global connectivity, while the US aims to boost competitiveness and create domestic jobs.
  • Utilization of Public Financing Tools:
    • BRI relies on Chinese policy banks, state-owned agencies, and development funds.
    • PGII encourages financial contributions from G7 public institutions.
  • Focus on Green Development:
    • Both emphasize green development.
    • China prioritizes greening the BRI, while G7 supports projects addressing climate change.
  • Hard vs. Soft Infrastructure Projects:
    • BRI focuses on large-scale physical infrastructure.
    • PGII prioritizes "softer" outcomes like climate improvements, healthcare, digital tech, and gender equity.
  • Project and Financing Scale:
    • BRI supports megaprojects, constituting a significant share of finance value.
    • PGII favors smaller to medium-scale projects.
  • State Finance vs. Private Sector Finance:
    • BRI relies on public bilateral loans, state-backed investment, and state-owned banks.
    • PGII aims to mobilize private-sector capital in addition to public funding.
  • Number of Actors and Coordination Level:
    • BRI has a comprehensive, state-level steering committee for coordination.
    • PGII lacks a transnational coordination mechanism but relies on individual G7 countries to coordinate contributions.

G-20 Members Reach Adopts “New Delhi Declaration”

Recently, G-20 members successfully reached a consensus on the sensitive "Ukraine paragraphs," marking a significant shift from the previous G-20 statement in Bali, which had strong criticism of Russia.

  • The breakthrough resulted from negotiations initiated by Indonesia, India, Brazil, and South Africa, as proposed by them.

Key Points

  • Role of Emerging Markets: The consensus was primarily attributed to the stand taken by emerging markets, particularly Indonesia, India, Brazil, and South Africa.
  • These countries, as consecutive hosts of the G-20, played a vital role in bridging differences among members.
  • Bali vs. New Delhi Declaration: While the Bali document used strong language like "condemning" and "deploring" Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the New Delhi Declaration refers to differing "national positions" among G-20 members on the "war in Ukraine."
  • It emphasizes the need for all states to refrain from threatening or using force for territorial acquisition.
  • Importance of Consensus: EU and G-7 countries had to choose between accepting the text or having no statement at all.
  • The absence of a G-20 statement would have negatively impacted the organization's credibility, potentially leading to its replacement by other blocs like BRICS and G-7. Hence, reaching a consensus was crucial to maintain the G-20's relevance.
  • Key Agreements in the Declaration: The New Delhi Declaration, comprising 83 paragraphs, covers various agreements, including strengthening multilateral development banks, regulating cryptocurrencies, using digital public infrastructure for financial inclusion, and addressing debt distress for vulnerable countries.
  • It also emphasizes a significant increase in climate financing and clean energy investments.

G20 Grants African Union Permanent Membership

On 9th September, 2023, the G20 officially granted the African Union permanent membership status, equating it with the European Union, according to Indian Prime Minister’s announcement at the G20 summit in New Delhi.

Key Points

  • African Union Elevated to Permanent G20 Member: Indian Prime Minister welcomed the African Union (AU) as a permanent member of the G20 during the summit, elevating the continental organization from its previous status as an "invited international organization."
  • AU's New Status Parallel to European Union: With this development, the African Union now holds the same status within the G20 as the European Union, making it the only regional bloc with full membership in the group of the world's wealthiest and most influential nations.
  • Proposed in June: Indian Prime Minister initially proposed this significant move in June, leading to the formal admission of the African Union as a permanent G20 member.
  • Agenda at the Summit: Besides the AU's admission, the G20 summit also addresses various global issues, including increased loans to developing nations by multilateral institutions, reforms in international debt structures, cryptocurrency regulations, and the impact of geopolitics on food and energy security.
  • G20's Significance: Previously composed of 19 countries and the European Union, the G20 represents over 85% of global GDP, more than 75% of global trade, and approximately two-thirds of the world's population.

G20 Leaders Launch Global Biofuel Alliance

On 9th September,2023, G20 leaders inaugurated the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA), a coalition of over 30 nations and international institutions aimed at facilitating the adoption of biofuels, thus unlocking bioenergy accessibility in emerging economies.

Key Points

  • Environmental Context: The GBA launch is particularly notable amidst a month marked by several key environmental events, including International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies (September 7), International Day for the Preservation of Ozone Layer (September 16), and World Environment Health Day (September 26).
  • Declaration Mention: The G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration explicitly acknowledges the importance of sustainable biofuels in zero and low-emission development strategies and notes the establishment of the Global Biofuels Alliance.
  • Action-Oriented Approach: The GBA announcement exemplifies India's action-oriented positive agenda as the G20 President and its representation of the 'Voice of the Global South,' as highlighted by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • Diverse Membership: The GBA boasts a diverse membership comprising 19 countries and 12 international organizations.
  • G20 and Invitee Countries: Member countries include G20 nations such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, Italy, South Africa, and the US, as well as G20 Invitee countries like Bangladesh, Singapore, Mauritius, and the UAE.
  • Non-G20 Nations: Additionally, eight non-G20 countries are part of the alliance, featuring Iceland, Kenya, Guyana, Paraguay, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Finland.
  • International Institutions: International organizations, including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, World Economic Forum, World LPG Organization, International Energy Agency, International Energy Forum, International Renewable Energy Agency, and World Biogas Association, are integral members.
  • Biofuel Production and Consumption: The GBA includes major biofuel producers and consumers, with the USA, Brazil, and India contributing significantly to production and consumption of ethanol.
  • Market Growth: The global ethanol market was valued at $99.06 billion in 2022, with a projected CAGR of 5.1% by 2032, expected to surpass $162.12 billion by 2032.
  • Capacity-Building and Support: The GBA will provide capacity-building exercises, technical support, and policy lessons-sharing throughout the biofuel value chain.
  • Virtual Marketplace: It aims to create a virtual marketplace to connect technology providers with end users, mapping supply and demand.
  • Standards and Sustainability: The alliance will facilitate the development, adoption, and implementation of internationally recognized standards, codes, sustainability principles, and regulations to incentivize biofuels adoption and trade.

Benefits for India

  • Global Strengthening: GBA, a tangible outcome of India's G20 presidency, will enhance India's global position.
  • Export Opportunities: The alliance will offer export opportunities for Indian industries in technology and equipment.
  • Industry Enthusiasm: Industry stakeholders anticipate business opportunities, emissions reduction, improved air quality, rural economic development, and energy independence through international cooperation.
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