G20 Summit Ends with Declarations on War, Climate, Trade

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September 11, 2023

G20 leaders agreed to a joint statement, one of the goals of host leader India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Significantly, the statement had much to say about several subjects but little to say about the war in Ukraine.

G20 2023

Significantly, the statement did reference the "human suffering" caused by the war but did not mention Russia's invasion, which began the war. Even though Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend, his influence undoubtedly colored many discussions, through the presence of his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. Also absent was China's leader, Xi Jinping, for reasons not officially given.

The joint statement did reference the United Nations charter, admonishing nations from seizing territories from other nations. To some observers, it was a step back from the G20 resolution last year, which specifically mentioned Russia's invasion.

Significantly, on Saturday, the first day of the two-day summit, the leaders, focused on climate issues, agreed to increase the use of renewable energy threefold and to target more funds for dealing with climate-related disasters. However, the leaders stopped short of reducing the reliance on coal as an energy source. Collectively, the G20 entities emit 80 percent of the greenhouse gases that are advancing global warming and house 93 percent of the world's coal power plants. In the same vein, India introduced a global biofuel alliance, the members of which include Brazil and the United States.

The other major announcement on Saturday was of plans to create a modern-day Spice Route, increasing trade between Europe, the Middle East, and India in the way that the ancient eurasian network Silk Road did for Europe and China.

In a fundamental change, the G20 leaders agreed to accept the African Union as a permanent member, on par with the European Union, which is the G20's only non-country entity. The AU, with its 55 members, has long complained that it has only one country, South Africa, among the G20, which dates to 2009. As envisioned, the project would create a network of railways and ports to enable more efficient trade along the route from the Indian subcontinent to ways west.

Gandhi memorial

Other agreements between the world leaders included a pledge to develop responsible human-centric rules for the development of artificial intelligence.

As one of their last official acts, the leaders, many of them barefoot, walked to the Rajghat memorial site where the famed Indian activist Mohandas Gandhi was cremated. He was assassinated in 1948.

The presidency of the G20 now moves to Brazil.

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Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2023
David White

Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2024
David White