The 18th G20 Leaders' Summit: A mix of optimism and concern
Song Qingrun

Editor's note: Song Qingrun is a professor at School of Asian Studies of Beijing Foreign Studies University. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN. It has been translated from Chinese and edited for brevity and clarity.

The 18th Leaders' Summit of the Group of Twenty (G20) convened in India from September 9 to 10. The G20 Summit is an annual multilateral diplomatic summit, grand in scale and set for the global stage. Against the backdrop of the global economic downturn and mounting development challenges, expectations for the summit were exceptionally high. Thanks to efforts of various parties, the summit has seen several achievements.

Firstly, leaders of the G20 adopted the New Delhi Leaders' Declaration, which covers issues such as climate change, green development, gender equality and counter-terrorism. The declaration underscores the leaders' resolution to act in concrete ways through partnerships, and their commitment to accelerate strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth, as well as the full and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

The declaration also reaffirms the need to address global challenges by reinvigorating multilateralism, reform and international cooperation, strengthening the voice of developing countries in global decision making, and advancing global digital economic development.

Secondly, the G20 expanded by including the African Union as a permanent member. Closer cooperation between developed and developing countries within the G20 framework is of paramount significance in addressing global challenges and advancing global sustainable development. 

With 55 member states, the African Union has a total population of about 1.4 billion and a combined GDP of approximately $3 trillion. Its inclusion into the G20 will further elevate the representation and status of developing countries within the group, thus injecting greater confidence and impetus into global development.

Despite malicious defamation and pressure from some countries before and during the summit, China made great efforts to ensure the successful hosting of the G20 Summit and advocated for cooperation among G20 members to tackle common challenges. 

Chinese Premier Li Qiang pointed out that "humanity is bound by a common stake. No one is unaffected by the events of major crises and common challenges, and solidarity and cooperation is the only right way forward."

China has contributed considerably to global development within the G20 framework. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in April this year that China attaches great importance to debt issues in Africa and actively helps African countries cope with the issues. He pointed out that China has contributed more to the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) than any other G20 member. The latest research findings of the SAIS China-Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins University show that China has actively participated in the G20's DSSI, and contributed 63 percent of debt service suspensions. 

Furthermore, Jin Keyu, professor of economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science, remarked at the Summer Davos Forum in June that China is poised to achieve an economic growth rate of around 5 percent this year, contributing to 35 percent of global economic growth.

It has been difficult for the consensus to be reached at the G20 Summit, and it will be even harder for parties involved to take collective action. Challenges persist in the implementation of the summit’s declaration. As the world faces an increasing number of common challenges, the G20 should overcome internal differences, enhance cooperation, and continue to spearhead global development.

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