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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The G20 Summit Gets Underway in Mumbai

The summit is being held at Hotel Hyatt Regency

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. Mumbai: The first day of the four-day-long G20 summit being held in Mumbai had a colourful start with guests and delegates being offered Maharashtrian phetas (a distinctive traditional turban) to wear while a tutari (trumpet) was blown to welcome them.

The summit is being held at the Hotel Hyatt Regency at Santacruz East in North West Mumbai, where the guests have been accommodated.

The delegates watching a cultural program at Taj Palace in South Mumbai. Photo Credit: CMO

The first meeting of the Development Working Group (DWG) was attended by members, guest country representatives, and invited international organisations in person.

The DWG meeting focuses on G20 collective actions for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to support developing countries in dealing with concerns relating to food, fuel, and fertiliser security.

India’s G20 Sherpa, Amitabh Kant, addressed delegates in an opening session. He said the Indian government has tried to bring good data governance and has brought several initiatives like the Data Governance Quality Index.

Less developed and developing countries will never be able to technologically lead or grow without the use of data and good governance. DWG is meeting at a time when the world is in the midst of turmoil. 

The first day witnessed two side events on “Data for Development (D4D): Role of the G20 in advancing the 2030 Agenda” and “Infusing a New LIFE (Lifestyle for Environment) into Green Development.”

The D4D side event was organised in collaboration with the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology (OSET), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). 

In his welcome address to D4D session Kant underlined the importance of good quality, real-time and accessible data to being change in the lives of citizens and make every political leader and every government servant accountable to the people.

Rajiv Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, said in his key note address that “We must view the digital economy through a combined prism of trust and protection and work together to build a new international framework for technology, the internet, and indeed data that can lead us towards sustainable development.”

In her keynote address, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development said that “financial inclusion is a powerful tool of development.” Eight of the 17 SDGs highlight it as a way to help achieve “zero poverty, no hunger, good health, gender equality, and economic growth.”

Nandan Nilekani, non-executive chairman of Infosys and former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said that “the most important data for development is one’s own data.”

The unique Indian architecture of data empowerment allows individuals and small businesses to use their own data to get access to various services, which is transformational.

The D4D side event also hosted two sessions, “Rejuvenating Legacy Systems: From Data to Public Value Intelligence” and “Models for the Future: Leveraging IoT, Big Data, and AI for the SDGs,” which were attended by participants from various walks of life.

The post-lunch side event was held under the theme “Infusing New LIFE into Green Development,” in collaboration with the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the 10YFP/One Planet Network.

In his opening address at the LiFE session, Kant said, “LiFE is critical because a country like India will see rapid urbanization, and individual and collective behaviour will make all the difference.”

The Queen of Bhutan, Jetsun Pema, who delivered the keynote address at this session, congratulated India on assuming its G20 Presidency.

She remarked that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the world is confident that India will discharge its important responsibilities as the Presidency with great prudence and success.

The side event also included a video message from Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations; a presentation on LIFE by Parameswaran Iyer, CEO, NITI Aayog; and a keynote by Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW.

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Discussions on Sustainable Development Goals 

The side event hosted two fireside discussions on boosting SDGs with LIFE and how LIFE could enable sustainable economic transformation.

Ligia Noronha, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head, UNEP (New York), Sonam Wangchuk, Founder and President, Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL), and Dr Shannon B. Olsson, Global Director, the Echo Network, participated as inspirational speakers.

Other speakers included Lord Nicholas Stern, Member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom and Chair, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Gauri Singh, Deputy Director General, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Nitin Desai, Chair, The Energy and Resources Institute, and former UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Dr Atsushi Watabe, Programme Director, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). Japan and Dr Navroz Dubash, Professor, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

The first day of the meeting ended with a cultural programme graced by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, DCM Devendra Fadnavis, and other senior dignitaries. The programme started with the auspicious “Ganesh Vandana.”

The cultural programme showcased the rich folk dance and musical traditions of Maharashtra. Delegates were also given a guided tour of the Gateway of India, which was lit up on the occasion with G20 logo projection.

Also Read: First Meeting of G20 Development Working Group in Mumbai

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  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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