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NITI Aayog's Collaborative Report Charts Path For Global Sustainable Growth – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

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NITI Aayog's Collaborative Report Charts Path for Global Sustainable Growth

Policy Update
Yashica

“A swift, just and equitable transition to renewable energy sources must be underpinned by deep emission cuts and scaled up finance”

Bhupender Yadav, Minister of Labour and Employment, and Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The July 2023 G20 conference hosting 40 leading thinkers from 14 countries, culminated in a G20 report titled “A Green and Sustainable Growth Agenda for the Global Economy” in December 2023. It was launched by the Hon’ble Minister of Labour and Employment, and Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav.

The major focus of the report is on a just transition to renewable energy and the importance of climate finance for sustainable growth. The report aims to provide a realistic global view of critical aspects such as climate, energy, technology, and jobs. As per the Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Shri Suman Bery, this report can be seen as a transfer of knowledge to Brazil for its subsequent G20 presidency.

NITI Aayog, the Government of India’s premium policy think tank, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the Global Development Network (GDN) were the key collaborators of the report. 

The report provides insights into the 6 sessions of the conference. Energy, climate, growth, technology, and jobs were themes for day 1 followed by multilateralism, resilience, and inclusion for day 2.

Session 1 

It focused on ‘Energy, Climate, Growth’ emphasising a just transition to sustainability. It focused on the challenges faced in doing so, including trade-offs in climate action, the need for global cooperation, and so on. Resilience funds, technological development, circular economies, and green energy partnerships are some of the solutions that were brought forward to combat climate change. Robert Stavins, AJ Meyer, Professor, Energy and Economic Development, Harvard University, Cambridge MA (USA), suggested another solution for countries like India, which is a major contributor to the global energy economy, with over 80% of the country’s energy needs met by non-renewable resources.

As per Robert, the country should focus on carbon pricing because of its feasibility, lower cost, and long-term impact. Additionally, a “flexibility mission” was also suggested for developing nations like India in order to adapt and innovate in response to environmental shifts.

Session 2 

It focused on the changes in the current geopolitical arena combined with dilemmas in policy formulation due to environmental pressure as well as advancements in Artificial Intelligence. Increased labour participation, investment in digital education and technological infrastructure, a regulatory framework for AI advancements,  and international cooperation are a few strategies suggested by the panellists for a way forward.

Paul Samson, President, of the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) Waterloo (Canada)  analysed the demographic shifts and patterns showcased by China, the USA, and India in terms of economic advancements in the last 20 years. He also referred to the ‘India Stack’ as a tool for India’s AI advancement and its probable role as a leader for developing countries in the digital sector.

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    (Source: NITI Aayog Report on Green Growth)

Session 3 

It highlighted the changing global economy with the emergence of a new trend of “slow-balisation” or de-globalization characterised by trade restrictions and limited technology diffusion. The panel also discussed China’s dominance in the global economy in spite of deglobalization and the negative effects of the same in Europe.

The session titled “Growth Implications of a Fractured Trading System” referred to focus on boosting the manufacturing sector, managing exchange rates, and initiatives like the Gati-Shakti Masterplan as proposed plans for India’s potential future growth. BVR Subrahmanyam, CEO, of NITI Aayog (India), emphasised the increasing importance of behind-the-border issues as trade matters, and India’s evolving stance in negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with a focus on the environment, labour, gender, and transparency.

Session 4

It gave a peak into the fractured financial system and how a more efficient and sustainable system is essential to recover from economic disparities between developed and developing regions. The informal, inefficient, and fragmented global debt architecture adds to these challenges, with many low-income countries already facing or nearing a debt crisis.

The delayed transition to net-zero emissions worsens the climate crisis, necessitating significant upfront financing, primarily from private sources. According to the panellists, scaling up green financing requires innovative tools and policies, especially for regions like Africa.

Financial safety nets, expanding bilateral ties, and strengthening the legal framework are other essential suggestions proposed in the session. As per Tao Zhang, Chief Representative for Asia and the Pacific, Bank of International Settlements (BIS) Hong Kong (China), market-based incentives are important to achieve a net zero transition.

The expert, Manjeev Singh Puri, Former Ambassador of India to the EU and distinguished Fellow, of The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi (India), focused on leveraging multilateral banks as a means to facilitate the flow of capital from industrialised countries to green projects in developing nations. According to him, the goal is to create a global impact by supporting sustainable and green initiatives in large developing countries, recognizing that climate change is a shared challenge.

Session 5

This session was on ‘Multilateralism: Geopolitics, Governance and the Global Commons’ emphasised managing global tensions as well as integrating emerging economies such as India into the global economy as crucial. However, challenges such as a shift from a unipolar to a multipolar world order, rising protectionism, and the COVID-19 pandemic have created a systemic crisis, transmitting severe recessions from the Global North to the Global South via trade channels.

The way forward involves reforming the World Trade Organisation, promoting plurilateral initiatives and regional trade agreements, and fostering comprehensive partnerships. Focus on more tangible SDG goals, extending the developing world’s presence in the G20 could yield better outcomes. Lastly, Expert, Ramesh Chand, referred to considering global commons, both existing entities like oceans and forests and those aimed to be created, such as initiatives for decarbonization and sustainability, while formulating policies. 

Session 6 

It revolved around the potential challenges and strategies for inclusion and adjustment in the global development landscape. According to the panellists, developing countries like China and India contribute to lowering global inequality, however, disparities persist, especially in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa. Focusing on sustainable development, multidimensional poverty going beyond income, and addressing issues in areas such as health, and social and economic inclusion are a few focus areas to reduce inequality. As per the expert, Vinod Kumar Paul, India has made significant progress in reducing multidimensional poverty, with a notable decline in rural areas. He also emphasised meeting SDG targets globally.

Way Forward

The collaborative report by NITI Aayog charts the way for sustainable future growth. Leveraging the G20 as a representative of the Global South and putting achievable goals within the SDG framework is emphasised for better outcomes. The large view of sustainability, encompassing human well-being beyond the economy, is vital. The report underscores the pivotal function of technology like AI and Digital Public Infrastructure in bringing about economic transformation in developing countries. With the release of this report, it is aimed that a larger focus would be given to inclusivity and sustainability on a global scale and within G20 as well.

References:

  1. Dhruvaksh Saha. 2023. “Sustainable debt management on agenda for NITI’s global green push.” Business Standard, December 19, 2023.
    https://www.business-standard.com/india-news/sustainable-debt-management-resilience-funds-on-agenda-niti-aayog-123121901190_1.html.
  2. Global Development Network. 2023. “G20 Conference on A Green and Sustainable Growth Agenda for the Global Economy.” Global Development Network, July 28, 2023. https://www.gdn.int/g20-conference-green-and-sustainable-growth-agenda-global-economy.
  3. Nilekani, Nandan. 2023. “A Green and Sustainable Growth Agenda.” NITI Aayog. https://www.niti.gov.in/sites/default/files/2023-12/REVISED_Report-on-G20-Conference-on-Green-Growth_FINAL-REVISED.pdf.
  4. Poswal, Manish. 2023. “Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav to Unveil Report Proposing Green Agenda for Global Economy.” DD News, December 19, 2023. https://ddnews.gov.in/national/environment-minister-bhupender-yadav-unveil-report-proposing-green-agenda-global-economy.
  5. Poswal, Manish. 2023. “India leads G20 sustainability agenda with release of key climate report.” DD News, December 21, 2023.
    https://ddnews.gov.in/national/india-leads-g20-sustainability-agenda-release-key-climate-report.
  6. Press Information Bureau. 2023. “Press Information Bureau.” Press Information Bureau, December 20, 2023.
    https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1988779.
  7. Sharma, Yogima S. 2023. “NITI Aayog bats for structural reforms of MDBs.” The Economic Times, December 19, 2023. https://m.economictimes.com/news/economy/policy/niti-aayog-bats-for-structural-reforms-of-mdbs/articleshow/106131591.cms.

Yashica is a Research Intern at IMPRI and currently pursuing B.A. Political Science Honours from Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi.

Disclaimer: All views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and not necessarily to the organisation.

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Acknowledgment: This article was posted by Aasthaba Jadeja, a research intern at IMPRI.

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