After Indonesia’s tenure in 2022, the turn of the year saw India assume the presidency of the G20 for 2023.
From 22 to 24 January 2023, the city of Gandhinagar in Gujarat, India, hosted the Inception Meeting of the Business 20 (B20) Engagement Group of the G20 to discuss the global economy and some of the most pressing issues facing our world with the business community. The meeting gathered Indian Ministers and delegates, as well as influential international business leaders and policy makers.
As a member to the B20, The Bridge Tank attended the summit in Gandhinagar, represented by its chairman Joel Ruet. Besides the public sessions at the Mahatma Mandir, the Inception Meeting notably marked the launch of the B20 Task Forces and Action Groups, to which The Bridge Tank will be an active contributor in the year to come.
Focussing its participation on three great themes: sustainability, research & innovation, and bridging the gap between Africa and the G20, at the invitation of the Indian Presidency of the G20, The Bridge Tank is now member to both the B20 India Taskforce on Energy, Climate Change and Resource Efficiency, and the B20 India Action Council on African Economic Integration.
Setting the tone for India’s 2023 G20 presidency
Organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which has taken up the B20 India Secretariat, the Plenary Sessions of the B20 Inception Meeting, held at the Mahatma Mandir on January 23rd, set the tone for the summit and for India’s year presiding over the G20.
The inaugural session highlighted the vision, thematic priorities, and values which will drive the B20 India. Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), reminded participants of the acronym R.A.I.S.E – Responsible, Accelerated, Innovative, Sustainable and Equitable business – which will serve as the cornerstone of B20 India.
During his opening address on the requirements to deliver a successful B20 India, Mr N Chandrasekaran, Chair, B20 India, and Chairman, Tata Sons, stressed the role of reducing inequality thanks to digital transformation. He went on to underline some of the main priorities identified for B20 India, including sustainability, energy transition, mobility, biodiversity, water management and the UN SDGs.
Sustainability and energy transitions: B20 India Taskforce on Energy, Climate Change and Resource Efficiency
The centrality of the fight against climate change and the place of energy transitions and sustainable development in the B20 India priorities were introduced during the plenary session by Mr Som Parkash, Hon’ble Minister of State for Commerce & Industry.
Minister Parkash said that “India, under G20 Presidency, needs to work towards prioritizing fight against climate change and environment degradation through efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean energy.”
This priority, in line with B20’s R.A.I.S.E motto, was echoed one day later, on January 24th, during the first meeting of the B20 India Taskforce on Energy, Climate Change and Resource Efficiency, which The Bridge Tank attended as a member of the Task Force.
The meeting, chaired by Mr T V Narendran, B20 India Co-Chair of Taskforce on Energy, Climate Change and Resource Efficiency and CEO & MD Tata Steel Ltd, presented the task force’s priorities and expected outcomes.
Hoping to accelerate energy transitions, resource efficiency, and adaptation measures in G20 economies, the task force’s priorities were pointed out to be in broad alignment with G20 priorities on climate change.
The goal is thus to address the following key issues :
- global net zero transitions;
- energy security and energy access;
- just transitions;
- circular economy and resource efficiency;
- climate finance and technology innovation;
- adaptation and resilience.
The Task Force’s Priorities cover a variety of themes including:
- Enhancing global cooperation in accelerating net-zero transition through global industry-specific coalitions, and channelling investments and financing towards global priorities and pathways;
- Improving investments, development and commercialisation of green-energy technologies;
- Improving climate finance through new financing pathways for energy transition, setting clear energy mandates for multilateral development banks, and harmonizing the development of national carbon markets;
- Improving resource efficiency through regulatory frameworks, policies, business and financing models which encourage circular economy;
- Implementing adaptation policies taking ecosystem-based approaches to provide resilient infrastructure, ensuring gender-inclusive adaptation, and mobilising finance for the implementation.
The expertise The Bridge Tank has accumulated over the years in energy trajectories and energy transitions, in addition to its various research and consulting projects centred on climate finance and blended finance but also contributing to the development of circular economy and sustainable development models will serve as valuable building blocks of The Bridge Tank’s contribution to the B20 Task Force, which will meet again on 14-15 March 2023.
Connecting Africa and G20: B20 India Action Council on African Economic Integration
Addressing B20 India’s efforts to represent the issues relevant to the global economy, Mr Sanjiv Bajaj, President of CII & Chairman & Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv Ltd, introduced the audience of the Plenary Session to the focused agenda and Action Council on the Economic Integration of Africa, which hopes to strengthen ties between African economies and the G20.
As a long-time advocate for a greater integration of the African continent in G20 actions and now a contributing member of the B20 India Action Council on African Economic Integration, The Bridge Tank salutes this initiative.
On January 24th, the last day of the Inception Meeting, The Bridge Tank thus also took part in the introductory session of the B20 India Action Council on African Economic Integration, which discussed the objectives and priorities of the council.
The meeting raised three main expected outcomes to bolster the economic integration of the African continent:
- The formulation of a Technical Assistance Facilities (TAFs) Programme by G20 members, in order to accelerate the AfCFTA implementation through technical and financial assistance to the 54 African nations
- Commitments by G20 states to each enter into customized Preferential Trade Agreements with at least 20 African nations (with a minimum of 100 tariff lines on products or services being liberalized in each of these agreements)
- Commitments by G20 states to each launch a minimum of 3 development finance programmes benefiting at least 5 African nations (either bilaterally or through multilateral institutions), covering themes like: industrial park programmes, energy or transport infrastructure projects, health, education and skilling initiatives, or micro, small, and medium enterprises funding programmes.