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Editorial Articles

Issue no 31, 28 Oct - 03 Nov 2023

P20 Summit: Strengthening the Role of Parliaments in Global Governance


Ritesh Kumar

India hosted the G20 Parliamentary Speakers' Summit, also known as the P20 Summit, in New Delhi on 13-14 October 2023. Steered by Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Om Birla, the summit unanimously adopted the P20 Joint Statement - a collective declaration that embodies the dedication and cooperation of Presiding Officers from various nations who convened to discuss critical global issues in the wake of the G20 Leaders' Summit and India's G20 Presidency.

During this summit, a diverse range of topics was addressed, reflecting the shared commitment to advancing global well-being. These topics encompassed the acceleration of progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the transformative power of technology in fostering an inclusive digital economy, the imperatives of global economic recovery, food and energy security, climate change mitigation, inclusive energy transition, sustainable production and consumption patterns, multilateralism revitalisation, peace-building, counter-terrorism, global skill mapping, disaster risk reduction, and the fortification of the global health architecture.

Some notable highlights of the Joint Statement are as follows:

·         The statement emphasises the pivotal role of parliaments in ensuring accountability for the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. It underscores the significance of international development cooperation guided by equal partnerships and national ownership. It demonstrates the importance of global economic cooperation by emphasising the need for promoting a rules-based, open, transparent, and non-discriminatory trading system, with a particular mention of the Parliamentary Conference on WTO. 

·         The Joint Statement highlights the need to bridge the digital divide. It welcomes the G20 Framework for Systems of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), emphasising the importance of safe, secure, trusted, accountable, and inclusive digital public infrastructure. The statement also recognises the need for comprehensive financing mechanisms, particularly for Low and Middle-Income countries (LMICs), to facilitate their development of DPI ecosystems suited to their needs.

·         The commitment to leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) responsibly for the public good is evident in the statement. It underscores the importance of protecting human rights, ensuring transparency, fairness, accountability, regulation, safety, ethics, biases, privacy, and data protection in AI development.

·         The Joint Statement recognises the significant role of Parliaments in promoting women-led development and addressing gender discrimination. It acknowledges the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls and emphasises their substantial role in economic recovery underscoring the G20's commit-ment to promoting women's access to education and professional opportunities, financial and digital inclusion, and the elimination of gender-based violence.

·         The statement underscores the importance of providing a safe, caring, and protective environment for children, along with access to education and the elimination of violence. This commitment reflects the recognition of children as the future of the world and the need to protect their rights and well-being.

·         The Joint Statement highlights the enduring significance of democratic values, including the rule of law, justice, and people's participation in decision-making. It calls for a more inclusive and reinvigorated multilateralism that addresses contemporary global challenges and promotes democratic values both domestically and in international relations.

·         The statement also emphasises the importance of sustainable consumption and production and acknowledges the role of sustainable lifestyles and energy transitions in achieving Sustain-able Development Goals (SDGs).

·         The Joint Statement underscores the need for diplomacy, dialogue, and the peaceful resolution of global conflicts and crises. It highlights the adverse impact of conflicts on the global economy and stresses the importance of upholding international law and principles.

The Joint Statement reinforces the belief in the power of international cooperation to address the world's most pressing challenges. Within this context, two pivotal developments have emerged from the P20 Summit, carrying the potential to serve as the linchpins for forthcoming collabor-ations and discourse. These developments encompass:

1.      Tougher Take on Terrorism- A conspicuous emphasis on countering terrorism, indicating a renewed focus on addressing the critical global concern of terrorism and security, which remains a persistent and evolving challenge in our interconnected world.

2.      Emphasis on Skill-Mapping and Skills-Based Migration Pathways: The pressing need to bridge the skills divide and promote skills mobility, recognising the indispensable role of skill development and knowledge sharing in fostering innovation, economic growth, and ultimately, in achieving the shared objectives of develop-ment and security within the dynamic framework of the G20.

Tougher Take on Terrorism: One pivotal moment during the summit was Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's remarks, "Terrorism in any part of the world, in any manifestation or for any reason is an act against humanity. Perceived as oblique reference to the deadliest attack by Hamas on Israeli soil in 50 years, it consolidated India's persistent role in raising the issue of terrorism on global platforms,  given its historical experience as a victim of cross-border terrorism. Prime Minister Modi aptly highlighted the challenges and the lack of consensus on the definition of terrorism, particularly within the United Nations. His call for a "tough approach" against terrorism resonated with the global commitment expressed in the joint statement.

It is significant that the Joint Statement rejects terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whether it's based on xenophobia, racism, religious beliefs, or any other ideologies. This unified condemnation underscores that terrorism remains one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, transcending borders and affecting all nations.

The Joint Statement also emphasises that effective counterterrorism measures are not conflicting goals with the protection of human rights; instead, they are complementary and mutually reinforcing. The commitment to a holistic approach rooted in international law is evident, aiming to strengthen international cooperation and prevent terrorist groups from finding safe havens, operational freedom, and the resources to sustain their activities. In light of their legislative, budgetary, and oversight functions, the participating nations pledged to actively contribute to the global fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

Emphasis on Skill-Mapping and Skills-Based Migration Pathways

Another significant theme that emerged from the P20 Summit was the recognition of the crucial role that skill development and labor mobility play in addressing global challenges.

Amidst the pressing and often alarming global issues that seize the headlines, there exists an undercurrent-a quiet force that holds the potential to shape our shared future. Skill development, though not always the immediate focus of international attention, underpins many of our most critical global goals, from economic prosperity to sustainable development. Recognising the profound interplay of skills and global challenges, the P20 Summit subtly but unmistakably underscored the importance of this undercurrent that, once harnessed, can set us on a course toward achieving our common aspirations.

As our world faces a multitude of complex challenges - from food security and poverty to dwindling resources and the pressing issue of climate change - the imperative for collective action has never been more apparent. The G20, representing a diverse cross-section of the global community, recognises that addressing these multifaceted issues calls for coordinated efforts, shared strategies, and the realisation of interconnected goals. In this age of global interdependence, the significance of the G20's mission extends far beyond individual nations, emphasising the vital need for collaborative solutions to secure a brighter and more sustainable future for all.

In this context, the importance of skills mapping and labor mobility cannot be overstated. These elements play a crucial role in the pursuit of shared objectives among G20 nations. Skills mapping, which involves identifying and harnessing the talents and expertise of individuals on a global scale, empowers countries to address critical skill gaps, fostering innovation and economic growth. Simultan-eously, labour mobility, when well-managed and skill-based, benefits both the countries of origin and destination, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise. It contributes to enhancing the global workforce, fostering collaboration, and, ultimately, advancing collective goals like finding solutions to pressing global challenges. The emphasis on these aspects in international forums like the G20 underscores the acknowledgment that addressing the multifaceted challenges facing the world necessitates a comprehensive approach, leveraging the talent and mobility of individuals across borders to find innovative solutions.

The P20 Joint Statement placed significant emphasis on the establishment of meticulously organised, recurrent, and skills-focused migration pathways among countries. This emphasis under-scores a resolute commitment to the advancement of global skills development and the facilitation of labour mobility that aligns with a growing global consensus on the importance of harnessing skills and talent for global economic growth and development. Let's explore why skill mapping and mobility are essential and the benefits they offer:

Addressing Global Talent Shortages: Skill mapping involves the identification and assessment of skills and talents within a region or country. This process helps to identify gaps in the labour market and understand where specific skills are in demand. As the global economy becomes increasingly knowledge-based, skill mapping becomes crucial for addressing talent shortages in various industries and sectors.

Bridging Skill Gaps: Skill mapping is instrumental in bridging skill gaps. By identifying areas where certain skills are lacking, governments and organisations can design targeted training and education programmes to equip individuals with the skills needed for employment. This approach fosters inclusivity and equal access to economic opportunities.

Facilitating Economic Growth: Well-integrated and adequately skilled workers benefit both their home countries and the countries they migrate to. For origin countries, skill development and mobility can reduce unemployment and underemployment, while destination countries gain access to a skilled labour force that can contribute to economic growth and innovation. This mutual benefit is a core driver of labour mobility.

Tackling Global Workforce Challenges: The world is facing significant workforce challenges, including aging populations and the need for a highly skilled workforce in emerging technologies. Skill mapping and labour mobility can help address these challenges by allowing talent to flow to where it is most needed. This is particularly relevant in sectors like information technology, healthcare, and engineering.

Promoting Innovation and Diversity: Mobility allows individuals from diverse backgrounds to bring their skills, knowledge, and perspectives to new environments. This diversity is a catalyst for innovation and creativity, as individuals with different experiences and expertise can collaborate to find unique solutions to complex problems.

Mitigating Brain Drain: Brain drain, or the emigration of highly skilled individuals from developing countries to more developed ones, has been a concern. Skills mapping and mobility initiatives can help mitigate brain drain by ensuring that individuals have opportunities for development and employment in their home countries.

Promoting Legal and Safe Migration: Human trafficking and illegal migration can lead to exploitation and dangerous conditions for migrants. The commitment to well-managed, regular, and skill-based migration pathways, as mentioned in the Joint Statement, underscores the importance of legal and safe migration. This approach helps protect the rights and safety of migrant workers.

Enhancing Global Competitiveness: Skills mapping and labour mobility contribute to the competitiveness of nations on the global stage. Countries that can attract and retain skilled talent are better positioned to compete in the global economy.

Fostering Collaboration: Collaboration among G20 countries to address global skill gaps and facilitate labour mobility is a positive step towards creating a more interconnected and cooperative world. Such collaboration can lead to the sharing of best practices, policies, and strategies for skills development and migration management.

Conclusion: The P20 Summit concluded with several other noteworthy outcomes including opportunity for nations to strengthen bilateral relations. Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Shri Om Birla, engaged in bilateral meetings with Parliamentary leaders from various countries, including Russia, Singapore, Turkey, the Netherlands, and South Africa. These discussions not only showcased India's diplomatic outreach but also signified its commitment to deepening ties with countries across diverse sectors, from culture to trade, and addressing global challenges together.

The P20 is a testament to the growing importance of parliamentary diplomacy in the G20 framework. It brings together Parliamentary leaders from diverse countries to deliberate on critical issues. The summit is recognition of the role that legislative bodies play in shaping domestic and international policies, and it underscores the need for close coordination between governments and parliaments. In the context of the global inter-connectedness, the P20 Summit reinforces the notion that political and economic issues are intertwined, and a multilateral approach is essential.

The author is Delhi correspondent of an international multi-media platform. Feedback on this article can be shared at: feedback.employmentnews@gmail.com

Views expressed are personal.