G20 financial leaders hold a meeting in India

The Group of 20 (G20) financial leaders meet up every few months to figure out how to deal with ongoing global issues.

G20 financial leaders hold a meeting in India
India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks during a press conference after a G20 Finance Ministers' and Central Bank governors' meeting at Gandhinagar, India, July 18, 2023. REUTERS/Amit Dave

The backstory: The Group of 20 (G20) financial leaders meet up every few months to figure out how to deal with ongoing global issues, and there are a lot of challenges they have on their minds lately. The war in Ukraine is still ongoing, and there are worldwide economic consequences to that, especially with the supply chain and energy sourcing. Other important things affecting the global economy include climate change and rising debt in developing countries.

More recently: Earlier this week, Russia quit the Black Sea grain deal, so it’s no longer guaranteeing the safe passage of food exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea. With Ukraine being a major grain supplier to developing countries, worldwide food security has been thrown into limbo. This could also jack up food prices pretty much everywhere. It’s not clear if the deal could be revived in the future, but Ukraine has said it’s prepared to continue efforts to ship grain even without Russia’s cooperation in the deal.

The development: A two-day G20 financial leaders summit was held in Gujarat, India, on Monday and Tuesday this week. The main goal of the recent G20 summit was to work on strengthening the global economy, with global economic growth happening unequally and slower than leaders wanted.

A big focus of the event ended up being the Black Sea grain deal. During the meeting, several G20 reps condemned Russia's decision to quit the agreement. Global debt was another major talking point. The group discussed debt restructuring deals, bank reform and funding to fight climate change. The meeting ended without a joint statement because the reps couldn’t agree on one, with Russia wanting to call its invasion of Ukraine a "special military operation" and other members wanting to use the term “war.” India, which currently has the G20 presidency, ended the meeting by releasing a chair summary instead of a joint statement.

Key comments:

“What we need are coordinated international efforts to navigate this challenging period,” India’s Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman said in her opening remarks for the meeting on Monday.

"In the Global North, climate change means emissions reductions," World Bank chief Ajay Banga wrote in an op-ed ahead of the meeting. "But in the Global South, it is a matter of survival, because hurricanes are stronger, heat-resistant seeds are in short supply, drought is destroying farms and towns, and floods are washing away decades of progress."

“The world is looking to the G20 to make progress on key challenges like climate change and pandemics as part of our work to strengthen the global economy and to support developing countries,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.