Multilateral bodies need to be rejigged for more climate finance: Kant

For India to get access to more long-term lending and blended finance from multilateral institutions, these bodies need to be restructured and “built up for the needs of the 21st century”, G20 sherpa Amitabh Kant said on Friday.

India has taken up the G20 presidency for 2023 and will be the host nation for this year’s summit.

“These multilateral financial institutions were created in the post-world war, Bretton woods era, and are not designed to finance both sustainable development and climate finance,” Kant said delivering the Public Affairs Forum of India’s (PAFI) Annual Lecture on Friday.

One of the key challenges of the G20 engagements taking place would be how to channelise the $200 billion worth of private assets available in the world towards global development, he said.

Sustainable development

India has also set its sight firmly on the issue of delivering long-term sustainable growth at a time of recession across the world.

“Long-term sustainable growth is critical for the world at a time when structural reforms are needed across the world. This would lead to creation of better infrastructure, greater demand, raise consumption, and lift people above the poverty line,” Kant said.

Arguing that 200 million people have fallen below the poverty line globally as a result of global events, Kant said the UN’s sustainable development goals have also been affected.

India will also fight for climate action and climate justice at the summit, Kant said.

“At 1.5 degree centigrade (of possible global temperature rise), the total space available for developing economies is 2400 giga tonnes of carbon emissions, of which close to 90 per cent is occupied by the developed world,” he said.

As a result, a key challenge for developing countries would be to industrialise without carbonising. “Decarbonising many of the carbon-reliant industries, such as refineries, fertilisers and long-distance transportation, would also be important,” he stressed.

Tech innovation

On the issue of data and technological innovation, Kant stressed India’s model for technological and data innovation is different from the big tech model of the US or the one adopted by Europe which focused on data privacy.

The big tech model allows private enterprise to own data. “Whether it was Tencent or Alibaba in China, or Google, Microsoft, and Facebook in the US, the big tech players were the innovators and data keepers,” Kant said.

“The Indian model is very distinct in that it created public platforms on which private players were allowed to innovate,” he said.

India is the only country which has created public tracks on which corporates have innovated. India does 11x more digital transactions than US and Europe do together, 3x than what China does, he said.

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