The first-ever G20 meeting in Assam began on Thursday with Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurating the two-day event, which will deliberate on sustainable financing solutions.
More than 100 delegates, including 95 foreign officials, comprising representatives of G20 nations, guest countries and international organisations have assembled in Guwahati for the discussions of the influential world grouping. "Today’s meeting being held in the vicinity of this magnificent land of Guwahati has a special meaning to it as communities from diverse ethnicity and culture, socially coexist in harmony with nature through sustainable practices," Sonowal said during his inaugural speech.
The G20 group through the '1st Sustainable Finance Working Group Meeting' (SFWGM) in Guwahati is sharing a timely message of sustainable finance to maximise sustainable investment, the Union Shipping, Ports and Waterways Minister said. "As the world continues to battle the fragilities of our fundamental global systems exposed more so by COVID-19, India's G20 Presidency has come at a crucial midpoint of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda.
"It is most opportune for our nation to catalyse a fundamental mindset shift and benefit humanity by acting collectively and together," he added. The Union minister, who hails from Assam, also highlighted various initiatives undertaken by the Indian government for sustainable development in different sectors to fight increasing climate change impacts. "There is an increasing sense of urgency and call for action about putting the global economy on a path towards sustainable development. No doubt, implementation of SDGs in the face of climate change is a priority for governments around the world," Sonowal said.
He, however, stressed that enormous amounts of financial resources and investments are needed to finance sustainability and climate related activities. "Research suggests that billions and trillions of dollars need to be mobilized if we hope to achieve the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development as well as the goals of the Paris Agreement for climate action," Sonowal said. Plugging this massive finance gap will require a coordinated effort between the public and private sectors, and from the local to the global level, he added.
"I am sure that our Presidency can steer the empowerment of international institutions that respond to the realities of the 21st century and direct global governance in the 'decade of action' to deliver the SDGs," Sonowal said. The social cost of not achieving the SDGs should urge us to join efforts and make use of synergies to reach a better world for current and future generations, he appealed to the members of the grouping.
"India's G20 agenda promises to be inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented and decisive, and of human-centric globalisation. Let us join together to make India's G20 Presidency a presidency of healing, harmony and hope," the Union Minister said. The three main agendas of the Guwahati edition of SFWGM are mobilisation of timely and adequate resources for climate finance, enabling finance for the sustainable development goals, and capacity building of the ecosystem for financing sustainable development, Ministry of Finance (MoF) Adviser Geetu Joshi said.
MoF adviser Chandni Raina said the G20 Sustainable Finance Working Group aims to mobilise sustainable finance to help ensure global growth and stability, and promote the transition towards greener, more resilient and inclusive societies and economies.