Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

The G20 Is Ground Zero For Bridging Divisions And Finding Answers: Guterres

November 15, 2022

The G20 is ground zero for bridging divisions and finding answers and the summit comes at crucial time when the world is facing the most pivotal, precarious moment in generations, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said. People everywhere are getting hit from every direction – battered by runaway climate change and squeezed by a cost-of-living crisis. Geopolitical divisions are triggering new conflicts and making old ones even more difficult to resolve, he said.

With the global population now at eight billion and growing, action or inaction by the world’s largest economies, the G20, will be critical to determine if everyone gets to live on a peaceful and healthy planet and the G20 is ground zero for bridging divisions and finding answers to these crises and more. Guterres, who reached Bali from the COP27 Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, said that the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees is slipping away.

“We are dangerously close to tipping points at which climate chaos could become irreversible.   Science tells us that global heating beyond that limit poses an existential threat to all life on earth.”

But global emissions, and temperatures, continue to rise, he pointed out while saying that insanity consists in doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It is obvious we need a new approach. He said that he had proposed a historic pact between developed and emerging economies – a Climate Solidarity Pact that combines the capacities and resources of developed and emerging economies for the benefit of all.

“G20 countries are responsible for 80 per cent of global emissions and G20 leaders can make or break the Climate Solidarity Pact that I intend to present again tomorrow,” he said. Under this pact, these countries would make extra efforts this decade to keep the limit of 1.5 degrees alive and wealthier countries and International Financial Institutions would provide financial and technical assistance to help the emerging economies accelerate their renewable energy transition.

The Climate Solidarity Pact can save lives, livelihoods, and our planet. It can help end dependence on fossil fuels while providing universal, affordable, sustainable energy for all, he said. Developing countries cannot access the finance they need to reduce poverty and hunger, and invest in sustainable development.

“I therefore urge G20 economies to adopt an SDG stimulus package that will provide governments of the Global South with investments and liquidity and offer debt relief and restructuring.” This will enable emerging economies to invest in healthcare, education, gender equality and renewable energy, he said.

G20 countries are the world’s most powerful economies, with a majority on the boards of Multilateral Development Banks, and so they can and must make it happen.

“My message on food is that we need urgent action to prevent famine and hunger in a growing number of places around the world. The Black Sea Grain Initiative, and efforts to ensure Russian food and fertilizers can flow to global markets, are essential to global food security,” he said.

Powerful tech companies are running roughshod over human rights and personal privacy and providing platforms for deadly disinformation, in pursuit of profits. “Let’s be clear: disinformation kills. Undermining public health kills and these are life-and-death issues. We urgently need global guardrails on technology, and I will suggest a way forward based on a Global Digital Compact for an open, free, secure and inclusive internet.”

Girja Shankar Kaura

The writer is a Delhi-based freelance journalist, who has reported and written on a wide range of subjects in an extensive career.