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Common voice matters to Global South countries: Vietnam President

Vietnam believed that developing countries need to join hands to strengthen the global foundational elements for better development.

Global South countries need a common voice to make substantial contributions to the promotion of multilateralism, the Vietnamese President said at the Voice of the Global South Summit hosted by India. 

Vietnam's President Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the Voice of the Global South Summit held by India on Jan 12-13. Photo: Embassy of India in Hanoi 

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc addressed the Inaugural Leaders’ session of the summit hosted by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is aimed at advancing the role of developing nations in global discourse coinciding with India’s G20 Presidency 2023.

“In this context of multi-crisis, multi-challenging, and multi-transformation, we must join hands to strengthen the global foundational elements for peace and prosperity,” Phuc said at the event attended by 125 countries, the largest-ever virtual gathering of the Global South.

The joint efforts are aimed at reforming the United Nations to make it more democratic and effective and strengthen the multilateral trading system with the WTO at the center, as well as minimize trade barriers.

He called on countries to work together to effectively respond to non-traditional security challenges such as climate change, energy - food - water security, and cyber security. The move will improve the efficiency of South-South cooperation, promote the UN’s cooperation mechanisms, and strengthen the role of emerging economies. 

Phuc said in the context of global instability, Vietnam has made efforts to maintain macroeconomic stability and curb inflation, with GDP in 2022 increasing by 8.02%, reaching a scale of over US$400 billion while trade turnover hit $732 billion, up 10%.

In promoting the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, Vietnam supports and cooperates with India and other countries to implement initiatives on sustainable development under the framework of the UN, G20, ASEAN, Mekong cooperation, and international forums, the Vietnamese president emphasized.

Global South is a grouping of countries representing regions within Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. The summit held by India witnessed fruitful discussions and charted a new path through an action-oriented agenda representing the developing world's voice, perspectives, and priorities.

Vietnam's President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the summit.  

Global challenges and India’s efforts

At the meeting, Phuc said the world passed the year 2022 with many unprecedented changes, not only the heavy impacts of climate change, extreme natural disasters, geopolitical conflicts, and short-term crises intertwined with the structural transformation. All have resonated and created great, comprehensive, and profound pressure on socio-economics in all countries, especially developing countries, the “Global South”.

For that reason, the Vietnamese President highly appreciated the Government of India and Prime Minister Modi for the initiative and for chairing the organization of the Summit to connect the “southern voices” on the G20 agenda.

The Summit witnessed fruitful discussions and charted a new path through an action-oriented agenda representing the developing world's voice, perspectives, and priorities.

Addressing the Summit, Prime Minister Modi said the Global South Summit underlined that the discussions reflected the common aspirations of the Global South and the similarity of perspectives of the developing countries about the common challenges facing the world. Referring to the effect of global challenges on developing countries, he emphasized the need to redesign global political and financial governance that can remove inequities, enlarge opportunities, support growth, and spread progress and prosperity.

The Summit concluded with the announcements of five key initiatives: Friendship for Health (Aarogya Maitri) to extend essential medical supplies to developing countries affected by natural disasters or humanitarian crises; the establishment by India of a Global South Center of Excellence; the launch of a Global South Science and Technology Initiative to share expertise; Global South Scholarships for higher education in India; and Young Diplomats Forum connecting young officers of developing countries.

These represented the culmination of substantive and inclusive discussions among the participants on human-centric development, trade, technology, financing, resilient healthcare, climate action, energy security, education, and human resources. The Summit agreed that the quest for solutions to global challenges must include the voices of its biggest stakeholders, the Global South.

India would work to ensure that the inputs generated by partner countries at the Summit receive due cognizance globally and in G20 deliberations.

Global South represents three-fourths of humanity, but its voice is not represented equitably in international discourse and decision-making. The summit will advance the perspectives and priorities of the developing countries of the Global South and set their expectations for the international community as well as the G20, where for the first time, the G20 troika is led by three developing countries: India, Brazil, and Indonesia.