India to focus on MDBs, climate finance during G20 presidency, says Sitharaman

India is preparing to focus on several key issues like multinational development banks, debt situation and climate change during its G20 presidency next year, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

During the just concluded annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the Indian delegation, including Sitharaman, briefed finance ministers and central bank governors of G20 countries on India’s priorities as the president of the grouping of the world’s major economies.

India will assume the presidency of the G20 for a year from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023.

“We had an informal breakfast with G20 members. There was a very positive and cooperative mood. Unhesitatingly, I found all of them extending cooperation and saying India’s year as president should take on issues and we’re all here to support and cooperate with you. And that was expressively said,” Sitharaman said in response to a question here on Saturday.

The minister said she did not lay out the agenda in detail but spoke about the broad issues that India will be interested in.

“In no particular order, I wish to say that we will certainly be wanting the G20 members to discuss how the multilateral development banks can better leverage the endowment that they have,” she said.

“Also, think in terms of getting other sources through which their finances can improve because one, they have to be more nimble in reaching out for development funding and two, they have to better effectively deploy the resources that they have.

“So that will certainly be one of the things that we will be working out and how that becomes an agenda point and how specifically we’re going to try to make it is subject to taking inputs from everybody,” she added.

Sitharaman said the debt situation is also likely to be on the agenda.

“I know solutions were arrived at during the pandemic, the sustainability initiatives. Now that period is gone. Now the vulnerabilities of more countries are coming out, many middle-income countries themselves are at high risk,” she said.

The common framework has not really delivered as much as it was expected to. So that will certainly be one of the issues that India would want the members to discuss during its presidency and have some kind of outcome, she said.

“Third, we’ll be talking about climate finance… we think a large part of this debate will have to be within the UNFCCC. So, environment-related issues should emanate from there. Certainly, there will be a role for the multilateral bodies,” she said.

Sitharaman is on a six-day visit to the US, which began on October 11. Besides attending the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, she held bilateral meetings with her counterparts from several countries during the visit.

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