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Keynote address by EAM, Dr. S. Jaishankar at the G20 Development Ministers’ Meeting

Posted on: June 12, 2023 | Back | Print




Welcome to Varanasi, the confluence of sacred waters and origins of ancient wisdom.

It is only appropriate that we meet in this eternal city to culminate our work - the crucial development agenda which aims to propel global efforts to help those most in need.

The world today faces unprecedented and multiple crisis. From the pandemics to disruptions in supply chains, from the impact of conflict to climate events, our era is becoming more volatile and uncertain by the day. Added to this is stubborn inflation, rising interest rates and shrinking fiscal space for many nations. As always, in such times, the weak and the vulnerable bear the brunt.


If progress towards the SDGs was already falling short before COVID-19, this has only been further exacerbated by it.

The climate change also continues unabated, with a disproportionate impact on Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.

Prospects for a global economic recovery remains dim amidst supply chain disruptions, prolonged debt crisis and pressures on energy, food and fertilizer security.

The Development Ministerial is an opportunity for us as the G20 to demonstrate solidarity on these developmental issues.

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


The SDG agenda is a landmark not only in its universality, in that it applies to all countries but also in its integrity, in that it can only be successful as a comprehensive agenda.

Unfortunately, since its adoption in 2015, not only have we seen the political momentum wither, but we have also witnessed fragmentation in international priorities wherein some goals are deemed more important than others. Such cherry picking is not in our collective interest.

As the world struggles with the multiple interlinked crisis that have emerged, we have witnessed a painful illustration of that very interlinked nature of the Sustainable Development Goals.

It is in this context that India has put forward an ambitious 7-year Action plan for Accelerating progress on the SDGs which presents a coordinated, integrated and inclusive road-map for G20 actions. The Action plan not only galvanizes a strong G20 commitment to the development agenda but also puts forward transformative actions on the three core agendas. And these are:

1. Bold, decisive actions on fostering Data for Development and Digital Public infrastructure which are needed around the world to jumpstart innovations at the grassroots level. India’s own experience with these innovations has transformed our societies and governance in less than half a decade. And that is what you heard from the Prime Minister.

2. Investing in Women led Development not only helps to accelerate progress across all the SDGs, but it also delivers results on the ground for all sections of society.

3. Securing Globally Just transitions will help ensure the future survival of the planet, while meeting the aspirations of its diverse people.

These transformative actions will act as a force multiplier for accelerating progress across all the SDGs and will contribute to a more effective and stronger multilateral system.

We, as the G20 need to be bold in our ambition. We need to come together to address the crisis as one. The theme of the Indian Presidency ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ therefore is an urgent call for action.

As ‘One Earth’, we must demonstrate solidarity for those in need. Truly leave no one behind, mobilize resources and direct our efforts where they are most needed.

As ‘One Family’, we must break all silos and destroy all fragmentations. We need to integrate our approaches, build systems that leverage synergies rather than rely on trade-offs. Reinvigorate the systems which deliver on our agendas and ensure that all voices at home and outside are equally heard and taken into account.

For ‘One Future’, we must keep the aspirations of our young people at the center of our actions. Our actions today must not put their future in danger. We must invest in our collective future today and ensure that it is built on the foundations of equality, mutual respect and solidarity.

As we redouble efforts to rescue the SDGs and offer relief to those most in need, we also need to speak of the revival and reform of institutions and systems which will deliver on these goals.

Reforming the global governance architecture and reviving global decision making to be more representative are fundamental for building a future where truly no one is left behind. Such efforts will facilitate development models wherein no region, no country and no individual will be left behind. These efforts will enable human-centric globalization without creating Climate Crisis or Debt Crisis.


We are meeting at a pivotal moment with multiple important forums and events still ahead of us – the G20 Summit, the SDG Summit, the COP28 and the Summit of the Future. It is in our hands to shape the discussions at these future forums. We must put the development agenda at the heart of these discussions. The international community must speak in unison for those most in need.

It is essential that we constantly strengthen the international architecture and governance systems for the protection of Global Order, Global Laws, and Global Values. In doing so we would invariably find ourselves on the path where diplomacy, dialogue and cooperation take precedence over competition, conflict and divisions. Choosing peace, cooperation and multilateralism is essential for building our collective future.

With such an ambitious task on our hands, our actions must also be equally bold and purposeful. G20 needs to play a key role in assuring that this higher purpose remains well within our grasp. Our efforts will strengthen the hands of our Leaders when they come together at these historic summits, that I have spoken about, which are still ahead of us. The Action Plan that we adopt here today in Varanasi provides such a roadmap for the G20 to galvanise the critical momentum and ambition for these efforts.

I Thank you for your attention.