There was a strong convergence on the need to end the Ukraine war and secure food and fertilizer supplies, particularly for poorer nations suffering the brunt of the conflict, at the first meeting of G 20 sherpas here on Monday.
The war in Ukraine cropped up during an informal “chai pe charcha (a chat over tea)” that took place on Monday evening. According to sources, the overwhelming opinion was in favour of the war ending soon. India has previously flagged the problems of wheat and fertilizer shortages and resultant high prices and inflation which has hurt millions of households in Africa and Asia.
The meeting of the sherpas got off to a purposeful start with India’s bid to focus the agenda on outcomes in climate finance, food security and technology transformation that will help poorer nations found a resonance at the deliberations.
Ahead of the discussions, informal discussions on Sunday evening stretched past 2 am Monday as delegates worked to ensure the agendas framed for sectoral working groups are result oriented. “Meeting informally has seen everybody breaking boundaries and silos. They (sherpas) are responding to our priorities,” said Amitabh Kant, India’s G 20 Sherpa.
Former foreign secretary and India’s G 20 coordinator Harsh Shringla said the discussions of the sherpas had got off to a fine start. “Sherpas discussed some of the broad priorities outlined by the Prime Minister at the Bali summit. They felt these were everybodies priorities. It was a great start to what is going to be a very ambitious and result oriented Indian presidency,” he said.
According to an official release, Kant highlighted India’s duty as “de facto voice” of the Global South, using its role as G20 Chair to forge win-win collaborations between developed and developing nations. Ajay Seth, secretary, department of economic affairs outlined key economic challenges facing the world that require a collective boost to he capacity of G20 countries to respond as one.
The discussions saw International Monetary Fund officials Luis Breuer and Kritina Kostial speak on pressing global economic challenges and offered what the release said were key ideas to make economies more resilient. “I think through G 20 efforts and multilateral agencies we can do a lot to ease the pain of developing economies,” said Kostial.
The sherpas posed for a group photo in the shadows of the historic City Palace where they also interacted with the media as well. Along with accompanying officials they were also taken on a tour of the sprawling palace.