P20 a success, differences remain on global conflicts

Hindustan Times, October 15, 2023

The P20 parliamentary speakers’ summit ended with discussions on sustainable development goals, green energy, women-led development, and digital public infrastructure. Divergent views were expressed on conflicts between Israel and Hamas, and Ukraine and Russia. The meeting also discussed global challenges, including geopolitical tensions and economic issues. The joint statement adopted called for increased efforts against terrorist groups and emphasized the importance of parliamentary diplomacy for promoting peace and harmony.

The P20, or the G20 parliamentary speakers’ summit, ended on Saturday, paving the road for further strengthening of the G20’s process for human-centric development, although recent geopolitical tensions cast a shadow on the meet.

While the P20 held its four scheduled discussions on sustainable development goals, green energy, women-led development and digital public infrastructure for two days, divergent views were also expressed on the war between Israel and Hamas, and Ukraine versus Russia.

The tension was palpable between some countries, including the UK and Russia, a functionary said, seeking anonymity. Similarly, countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia’s viewpoints on the current situation in Israel was different from the Western point of view. “Some delegates were trying to avoid each other,” the functionary said. “As a result, no group photo could be taken.”

Global challenges, including conflicts and geopolitical tensions, were discussed at length during the meeting, often exceeding the agenda, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said. “Many members also highlighted important global challenges beyond the development agenda selected for discussion,” he said. “These include recent geopolitical events and economic issues. Several members also mentioned the situation in West Asia.”

“Some other members noted the need to strengthen multilateralism, promote international trade, and streamline supply chains. I have listened to these mentions carefully. In today’s interconnected world, we cannot view any particular issue in isolation,” Birla added. “We welcome all the additional mentions and suggestions made by the honourable representatives, and we have noted those suggestions.”

“I am confident that your valuable views and inputs in the four sessions on SDGs, green energy, women-led development and digital public infrastructure will further strengthen the G20 process for human-centric development,” Birla said in his valedictory speech. “The discussions held over the past two days have clearly underlined the importance of the parliamentary dimension of the G20 and have also established how our parliaments can work together to achieve the collective goals of One Earth, One Family and One Future.”

The 9th P20 meeting adopted a joint statement that welcomed India’s women reservation legislation and called for increased efforts “to deny terrorist groups safe haven, freedom of operations, movement and recruitment, as well as financial, material or political support.”

“All acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed,” the statement said. “We will continue parliamentary diplomacy and interfaith dialogue in relevant forums as a catalyst for promoting international peace, prosperity and harmony while supporting the peaceful resolution of conflicts and disputes,” it added.

“As public representatives, we, the members of Parliament, are in a special position to formulate the necessary policies and laws to fulfil the hopes, aspirations and needs of the public,” Birla said. “Our role is to complement the efforts of the government and we have a special contribution in ensuring good governance for the purpose of public welfare.”

This news can also be viewed at: