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Day 1 of G20 Development Working Group Meeting in Mumbai

Mumbai, : The first meeting of the Development Working Group (DWG) under India’s G20 Presidency is currently underway in Mumbai. Members, Guest countries and invited International Organizations are attending the meeting in person.

The three-day Development Working Group meeting will focus on G20 collective actions for accelerating progress on the SDGs, and support to developing countries in dealing with immediate concerns relating to food, fuel and fertiliser security.

The first day of the meeting witnessed two side events on “Data for Development (D4D): Role of G20 in advancing the 2030 Agenda” and “Infusing new LiFE into Green Development”.

The D4D side event was organised in collaboration with the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology (OSET), and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The event was designed as a curtain-raiser for further deliberations on D4D that would take place in the Development Working Group under the Sherpa Track during India’s G20 Presidency.

They D4D session began with a welcome address by Shri Amitabh Kant, India’s G20 Sherpa. In his address Mr Kant underlined the importance of good quality, real-time and accessible data to being change in the lives of citizens, of developing countries, and even developed countries. He said that data will make every political leader, every government servant accountable to their people.”

The session also witnessed keynote addresses by Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology and Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development; and Shri Nandan Nilekani, Non-Executive Chairman, Infosys & former Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar in his address. said that, “We must view the digital economy through a combined prism of trust and protection. We must work together to build a new international framework for technology, internet, and indeed data that can mainstreams the public good and sustainable development.”

In her keynote address, Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development said that “Financial inclusion is a powerful tool of development. 8 of the 17 SDGs highlight it as a way to help achieve zero poverty, no hunger, good health, gender equality & economic growth.

Shri Nandan Nilekani in his address said that, “the most important Data for Development is one’s own data. This is where the unique Indian architecture of data empowerment allows individuals and small businesses to use their own data to get access to various services, which is transformational”.

The D4D side event also hosted two breakout sessions on ‘Rejuvenating Legacy Systems: From Data to Public Value Intelligence’, and ‘Models for the Future: Leveraging IoT, Big Data and AI for the SDGs’ which were attended by participants from various walks of life, including representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society and the private sector.

The post-lunch side event was held under the theme, ‘Infusing New LiFE into Green Development’. The event was organised in collaboration with the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the 10YFP/One Planet Network.

The side event emphasised on how India’s LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) initiative can catalyse multilateral action for achieving the SDGs, including climate and development goals. Collective climate action and LiFE are priorities of India’s G20 Presidency.

In his opening address at the LiFE session, India’s Sherpa Shri Amitabh Kant said “LiFE is critical because a country like India will see rapid urbanisation and individual and collective behaviour will make all the difference.”

Her Majesty Queen of Bhutan, Jetsun Pema who delivered a keynote address at this session congratulated India on assuming its G20 Presidency. She remarked that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the world is  confident that India will discharge its important responsibilities of the Presidency with great prudence and success.”

The side event also included a video message from Ms Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, a  presentation on LiFE by Shri Parameswaran Iyer, CEO, NITI Aayog, and a keynote by Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, CEEW.

The side event hosted two fireside discussions on boosting SDGs with LiFE and how LiFE could enable sustainable economic transformation. Ms Ligia Noronha, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head, UNEP (New York), Mr Sonam Wangchuk, Founder and President, Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL), and Dr Shannon B Olsson, Global Director, the echo network, participated as inspirational speakers.

Other speakers at the session included Lord Nicholas Stern, Member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom and Chair, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE; Ms Gauri Singh, Deputy Director General, IRENA; Mr Nitin Desai, Chair, The Energy and Resources Institute and former UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Dr Atsushi Watabe, Programme Director, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES); and Dr Navroz Dubash, Professor, Centre for Policy Research.

The first day of the meeting ended with a cultural program which was graced by the Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Eknath Shinde, Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister Shri  Devendra Fadnavis and other senior dignitaries.

The cultural program showcased the rich folk dance and musical traditions of Maharashtra. The Abhang, Koli, Sufi, Lavni, Gondhal and Jogva were some of the folk-dance forms that were presented to the delegates. A surprise element of the day was a high-energy percussion performance – Puneri dhol by a 50-member troupe, majority of whom were women. Delegates were also given a guided tour of the Gateway of India which was lit up on the occasion with G20 logo projection.

An excursion to the famous Kanheri Caves in Mumbai has also been planned for the visiting delegates.