India’s G20 secretariat along with the United Nations India Country Office organised a day-long “Model G20 Meeting” at Sushma Swaraj Bhawan in New Delhi on February 17, 2023. The meeting was the first official Model G20 event and a simulation exercise of a G20 meeting where school students essayed the roles of delegates of G20, Guest countries and international organisations.
The meeting saw participation of a total of 8 schools from Delhi/NCR, viz. British School, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sector 8 R.K Puram, Lycee Francais International de Delhi, Modern School Barakhamba Road, Pathways World School Gurugram, Russian Embassy School, Ryan International School Vasant Kunj and Springdales School Dhaula Kuan. In total, over 60 high school students, representing 12 nationalities including 10 G20 countries participated in the meeting.
During the meeting, the students deliberated on the theme “Youth for LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment)”. They discussed and exchanged views on the role of global youth in making LiFE initiative a mass movement for Climate Action.
The idea of LiFE was introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. The idea promotes an environmentally conscious lifestyle that focuses on ‘mindful and deliberate utilisation’ instead of ‘mindless and wasteful consumption’.
The LiFE Movement aims to utilise the power of collective action and nudge individuals across the world to undertake simple climate-friendly actions in their daily lives. The LiFE movement, additionally, also seeks to leverage the strength of Youth and social networks to influence social norms surrounding climate. LiFE plans to create and nurture a global network of individuals, namely ‘Pro-Planet People’ (P3), who will have a shared commitment to adopt and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles. Through the P3 community, LiFE seeks to create an ecosystem that will reinforce and enable environmentally friendly behaviours to be self-sustainable.
The theme for the Model G20 event - “Youth for LiFE” was identified keeping in mind the critical role which the global youth, being the agents of change, could play in Climate Action through the LiFE initiative.
The meeting was jointly inaugurated by India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant and United Nations India Resident Coordinator Shombi Sharp. Addressing the students, Kant stressed on the leading role that the youth could play in Climate Action through Mission LiFE. He welcomed the initiative of international students coming together for a “Model G20 Meeting” and deliberating on critical issues such as combating climate change and the role of youth therein.
Reflecting on the importance of multilateralism, Sharp said that the only way to solve common problems is through common solutions – overcoming differences and coming together. He added that India was uniquely positioned to bring other countries across divides together during its G20 Presidency.
The participating students, following intense rounds of negotiations throughout the day, concluded the meeting by adopting an outcome document titled, “Guiding Principles for Youth-led Mission LiFE”. The outcome document was handed over to the Chair of the G20’s Youth Engagement Group (Youth 20 or Y20) for consideration at their official Y20 meeting.
The “Model G20 Meeting” introduced the school students to the process of negotiations in a typical G20 meeting process. Certificates and medals were presented to the Best Speakers, the Best Delegation, and the Best Consensus Builders. The activity was organized by the G20 secretariat as part of the secretariat’s Jan Bhagidhari outreach.
The Group of Twenty (G20) comprises 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkiye, United Kingdom and United States) and the European Union. The G20 members represent around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
The G20 was founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis as a forum for the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss global economic and financial issues and was was upgraded to the level of Heads of State/Government in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis of 2007, and, in 2009, was designated the “premier forum for international economic cooperation”.
The G20 Summit is held annually, under the leadership of a rotating Presidency. The G20 initially focused largely on broad macroeconomic issues, but it has since expanded its agenda to inter-alia include trade, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, environment, climate change, and anti-corruption.
The G20 Presidency steers the G20 agenda for one year and hosts the Summit. The G20 consists of two parallel tracks: the Finance Track and the Sherpa Track. Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors lead the Finance Track while Sherpas lead the Sherpa Track after Finance Track.
The G20 process from the Sherpa side is coordinated by the Sherpas of member countries, who are personal emissaries of the Leaders. Finance Track is led by Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the member countries. Within the two tracks, there are thematically oriented working groups in which representatives from the relevant ministries of the members as well as from invited/guest countries and various international organisations participate.
The Finance Track is mainly led by the Ministry of Finance. These working groups meet regularly throughout the term of each Presidency. The Sherpas oversee negotiations over the course of the year, discussing agenda items for the Summit and coordinating the substantive work of the G20.
In addition, there are Engagement Groups which bring together civil societies, parliamentarians, think tanks, women, youth, labour, businesses and researchers of the G20 countries. The Group does not have a permanent secretariat. The Presidency is supported by the Troika – previous, current and incoming Presidency. During India’s Presidency, the troika will comprise Indonesia, India and Brazil, respectively.
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