EAM Jaishankar cites supply chain disruptions and an ongoing debt crisis as the top challenges facing the world

Prospects for a global economic recovery remain bleak amid supply chain disruptions, an ongoing debt crisis and pressures on energy, food and fertilizer security, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday, calling for a unified global approach to addressing the challenges. Speaking at the G20 Development Ministers’ Conclave held here, he also said that India had presented an ambitious seven-year action plan to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), providing an integrated and inclusive roadmap for G20 action.

The roadmap focuses on digital public infrastructure and advancing data for development, as well as investing in women-led development and energy transition to protect the planet.

“The world today faces unprecedented and diverse crises – from the pandemic to supply chain disruptions, from the impact of conflict to climate events – our times are becoming more volatile and uncertain by the day,” Jaishankar said.

“In addition, there is persistent inflation, rising interest rates and the shrinking fiscal space of many countries. As always in times like this, the weak and vulnerable bear the brunt,” he said.

The Secretary of State said that progress towards the SDGs was already insufficient before the COVID-19 pandemic and has worsened.

In 2015, the United Nations set out a set of “Sustainable Development Goals” with a focus on ending poverty around the world, protecting the planet and ensuring well-being and prosperity for all.

“Prospects for a global economic recovery remain bleak amid supply chain disruptions, an ongoing debt crisis and pressures on energy, food and fertilizer security,” he said.

Jaishankar said the G20 development ministers’ meeting was an opportunity for “us to demonstrate solidarity on these development issues.”

“The decisions we make today have the potential to contribute to an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future,” he said.

The Secretary of State noted that climate change is continuing unabated and is having a “disproportionate impact” on least developed countries and small island developing States.

“The SDG agenda is a milestone not only because of its universality, since it applies to all countries, but also because of its integrity, since it can only be successful as a comprehensive agenda,” he said.

“Unfortunately, since its adoption in 2015, we have seen not only a loss of political momentum, but also a fragmentation of international priorities, with some goals being considered more important than others. Such cherry picking is not in our collective interest,” he said.

Jaishankar said India has presented an ambitious seven-year action plan to accelerate progress on the SDGs.

“As the world grapples with numerous interconnected crises, we have seen a painful example of the close interdependence of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

“In this context, India has presented an ambitious seven-year action plan to accelerate progress on the SDGs, which sets out a coordinated, integrated and inclusive roadmap for G20 action,” the minister added.

Jaishankar said that the action plan not only inspires strong commitment to the G20 agenda, but also proposes transformative actions on the three core agendas.

The first area, he explained, is bold, decisive action to boost data for development and the digital public infrastructure needed around the world to spur innovation at grassroots level.

The second area is investing in women-led development and the third is securing “globally just” transitions that will contribute to the future survival of the planet.

India, in its capacity as the current Chair of the G20, is hosting the Conclave of Development Ministers of the G20 member countries on 11-13 June.

The focus is expected to be on disruptions in global supply chains, food and energy security challenges and the impact of climate change, among others.

The conclave of G20 development ministers follows the Voice of the Global South summit hosted by India in January, and decisions made at the Varanasi meeting will also feed into the UN summit on the SDGs in September.

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