G20 Virtual Leaders’ Summit 2023: Here's What To Expect

The impact of the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas conflict is expected to feature in the leaders' deliberations.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>PM Modi Delivers Inaugural Address at G20. (Source: G20 livestream)</p></div>
PM Modi Delivers Inaugural Address at G20. (Source: G20 livestream)

World leaders will meet under the Indian G20 Presidency once more on Wednesday, before Brazil takes on as the G20 host for 2024 in December.

The virtual meet will involve a review of developments during the Indian presidency and take forward outcomes from the New Delhi Leaders' Declaration agreed upon on Sept. 9 and 10.

India's G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said that while development will be on the core agenda, the world leaders may choose to discuss other issues at the virtual summit.

"Since our successful hosting of the G20 Leaders' Summit on Sept. 9-10 and the unanimous adoption of the New Delhi Leaders' Declaration, the world has actually witnessed a succession of events and several new challenges have emerged," he said, alluding to the Isreal-Hamas conflict, which began on Oct. 7.

Leaders of all G20 members, the newly inducted G20 member—the chair of the African Union—as well as nine guest countries and heads of 11 international organisations have been invited, according to a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs last week.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a G20 virtual leaders' summit will take place prior to the conclusion of India’s G20 presidency, during the New Delhi Summit.

The impact of geopolitical tensions, particularly the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas conflict is expected to feature in the leaders' deliberations.

However, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra refrained from commenting on whether the geopolitical tensions would feature in Wednesday's deliberations, and said that it "cannot be pre-judged".

According to a report by Russian state media, the event may include the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who hasn't participated in the last two G20 Leaders' summits and was represented by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in his place.

United States Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti has cast doubt on the participation of U.S. President Joe Biden due to the American national holiday of Thanksgiving on Thursday. 

Participation of leaders from Canada and China remain unknown, while India is expecting "a large majority of G20 leaders to be present tomorrow and participate in the discussions", according to Kwatra.

India's push for Multilateral Development Bank reform, addressing debt vulnerabilities, climate finance, and the use of digital public infrastructure for financial inclusion were among the key developments from the G20 leaders' summit.

...the virtual summit will provide an opportunity not only to discuss the implementation of the Leaders’ Declaration but also for leaders to share views and enhance cooperation on critical challenges that we confront and address gaps in global governance, reaffirm our existing commitments towards the Sustainable Development Goals, and move towards a reinvigorated multilateral system that is better positioned to positively impact people’s lives."
Amitabh Kant, Sherpa G20

Notably, in the last finance track meeting in Marrakech, the G20 nations adopted the roadmap proposed in the IMF-FSB Synthesis Paper for crypto assets and mandated the institutions to provide updates on the implementational process.

A review of the progress of the 2023 Indian presidency noted that of the 34 ongoing G20 development commitments, two were assessed as "completed", 31 were assessed as "on track", and one commitment was recorded as “no update received”.

The ones marked as completed include G20 support for Covid-19 response and recovery in developing countries, better known as the 'Pandemic Fund', which raised $2 billion in initial contributions from 25 donors. The other was the G20 initiative for rural youth employment in developing countries, with a focus on Africa, to create 1.1 million new jobs by 2022.

There was no update on the G20 call for financing inclusive businesses in low-income and developing countries.

India holds the G20 presidency until Nov. 30 and will be a part of the G20 Troika thereafter, during the Brazilian G20 presidency.