The 2nd meeting of G20 Sherpas is underway against the backdrop of the idyllic backwaters of Kumarakom in the district of Kottayam, Kerala. Over 120 delegates from G20 Members, 9 invitee countries, and various international and regional organizations were welcomed to the meeting being held from 30 March to 02 April 2023 and chaired by Indian G20 Sherpa, Shri. Amitabh Kant.
2. The formal proceedings were inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri. V. Muraleedharan on 31 March 2023. Welcoming the Sherpas to Kerala, he said that the Indian Presidency’s theme, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “One Earth One Family One Future” has found resonance across the world, because of its all encompassing, inclusive message, capturing the diverse global challenges of the day. He also appreciated the support extended by all G20 countries, guest countries and international organizations to the Indian presidency for the successful conclusion of 46 G20 meetings so far in 27 different cities around the country.
3. Detailed discussions on the main priority areas identified by the Presidency were held, with the first session focusing on Technological transformation and the second one on accelerated, inclusive and resilient growth as well as women-led development. Delegates highlighted the relevance of digital public infrastructure, the need to bridge the digital divide and the usefulness of data for development and appreciated the focus accorded by India‘s G20 Presidency to this area and its relevance for the SDGs. Interventions by countries also clearly highlighted the need for women’s empowerment and women’s leadership at the center for development. Delegates also emphasised the importance of accelerated efforts to return to a path of resilient growth and recovery which also takes everyone along.
4. The Sherpas took stock of the progress made in the various G20 Sherpa track working groups of Digital Economy, Health, Education, Tourism, Culture, Agriculture, Trade & Investment, Employment and Anti-Corruption. The Sherpas commented on the various proposed actionable deliverables as well as suggested the way forward on important deliberations being held in these working groups such as digital public infrastructure, data for development food security, digital health and pandemic preparedness, prevention and response, tech-enabled education, global skill mapping, etc.
5. G20 Sherpas also participated in ‘Kayal conversations’ (discussions at the backwaters over high tea) where they discussed in an informal setting ways to take forward the agenda of G20 and deepen cooperation and understanding on shared concerns. The Indian G20 Sherpa, Shri. Amitabh Kant also held productive bilateral discussions with his counterparts throughout the day.
6. The first formal day of meetings concluded with ‘Charchayum Aharavum’, a cultural evening and dinner. Hon’ble Governor of Kerala, Shri. Arif Mohammad Khan and Chief Minister of Kerala, Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan attended the dinner along with the Chief Secretary of Kerala, Shri. V.P Joy. Distinguished dignitaries and the G20 delegates witnessed a spectacular rendition of ‘Oathirum Mohitham’, a play based on the vadakkan pattu (traditional ballads of Kerala) and various dance-forms providing them a glimpse into the rich heritage of Kerala.
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