Richard Butler | Exclusive Report by Dev Nadkarni of The Indian Weekender | JAN 16th, 2023
India opened the Voice of Global South Summit on January 12 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering the opening address, ushering in a new and energising approach to geopolitics.
The phrase “Global South” refers to the region of the world that is primarily in the southern hemisphere, to the south of the industrialised, developed countries, and has comparatively low levels of economic and industrial development. The nations of Latin America, Asia including small nations in the Pacific Islands region are included in the Global South grouping.
The Voice of South Summit was held virtually on 12-13 January 2023, with 10 sessions in total. India PM Modi hosted the first session and inaugurated the summit. This was followed by sessions at Ministerial level, each dedicated to address and find solutions to the most pressing concerns of the developing world.
The digital summit included numerous ministerial-level discussions. India has always acknowledged and articulated the needs of the Global South, whether it was at the United Nations Security Council or multilateral forums.
On December 1, 2022, India assumed the G20’s Presidency. It is felt that the interests and priorities of the Global South often do not receive due attention and focus in key global forums, including G-20.
The virtual summit served as a platform to generate ideas from the developing world that would inter-alia feed into the process leading up to the G20 summit in 2023. Around 140 countries of the Global South were invited to participate.
India’s theme for its G-20 Presidency is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, that is, ‘One Earth. One Family. One Future’ . The world is entering a phase of greater uncertainty and turmoil. India firmly believes that a consultative and outcome oriented approach is the need of the hour.
In the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, India believes that views and perspectives of the large number of countries outside the G20 should be included in the discussions and outcomes across various verticals. It is therefore necessary for the Global South to join hands and share its vision for humanity’s common challenges, and find solutions to the development imperatives of the world.
Two Pacific Island countries, Samoa and Vanuatu, participated in the summit. Samoa was invited for the Health Ministers’ Session on 13 January. The theme of the session was ‘Cooperation to Build Resilient Healthcare Systems’, and the main topics of discussion were ‘building capacities in healthcare, sharing of best practices and digital public goods in health, ensuring holistic human development, traditional medicine, creation of regional hubs for healthcare.’ Samoan Health Minister Valasi Luapitofanua To’ogamaga Tafito Selesele addressed the meeting.
Vanuatu was invited for the Energy/Petroleum Ministers’ Session on the same day. The theme of the session was ‘Energy Security and Development: Roadmap to Prosperity’, and the main topics of discussion were ‘ensuring access to energy sources amidst increasing global instability, energy diversification, un-tapping the energy potential of the developing world, renewables, international solar alliance, etc.’
Vanuatu’s Energy Minister Ralph John Regenvanu participated in the Summit from Abu Dhabi.