Anthony Albanese G20 summit
Anthony Albanese told the G20 summit the world was at a "critical juncture". Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

World stability at ‘critical juncture’, PM tells G20

Andrew Brown September 10, 2023

Anthony Albanese has used his final speech at the G20 summit to urge countries to come together amid a “critical juncture” for the world.

Speaking on the second day of the gathering in New Delhi, the prime minister pleaded for economic co-operation from world leaders in order for countries to be more resilient.

Amid growing tensions in the Indo-Pacific region and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he said it was more crucial than ever for countries to uphold rules-based order.

“Colleagues, we are at a critical juncture. People around the wold are doing it tough. Growth is slow and inflation persistent, sovereign debt risks are elevated,” he told the summit on Sunday.

“Now is the time for us to come together, to preserve the open and inclusive system that has served us well and the rules norms, and robust institutions, that underpin a prosperous global economy.”

The address to the G20 comes after leaders agreed to a consensus declaration of summit outcomes, which included a repudiation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Nations agreed on the Ukraine conflict that all states “must refrain from threats” and that “today’s era must not be war”.

There had been concern before the start of the summit the event would be the first time the G20 has not delivered a consensus statement, due to Russia being unwilling to condemn its own military action in Ukraine.

The prime minister welcomed the leaders’ declaration and said the G20 had delivered its most striking condemnation of Russia’s invasion.

“The G20 has delivered a strong consensus on Russia’s war on Ukraine, that message is very strong language and is the strongest language yet to be agreed by the international community,” he told reporters on Saturday night.

“A backdrop of this G20 has been the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the impact it’s having on the global economy, on food security, as well as obviously the devastating impact of of this war on the people of Ukraine.”

However, the declaration made concessions in that “there were different views and assessments of the situation”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend this year’s G20, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov taking his place.

In the speech to the summit, the prime minister said Australia stood united with Ukraine in the conflict, saying Russia had enacted a “horrific human toll”.

“Peace and stability is not a gift, nor is it a given. It has to be built, defended and upheld,” he said in the address.

“Without peace and stability, prosperity and development will remain elusive to too many people around the world.”

The leaders’ declaration also noted global support for measures needed to ease cost of living measures, as well as encouraging the tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030.

Mr Albanese also noted the need for climate change solutions in his speech, and the need for a net-zero emissions transition.

The prime minister met with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the summit on Saturday.

The pair talked about regional security in the Pacific climate change and attempts to finalise a free-trade deal with the European Union.

He also held talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is hosting the summit this year.

The pair, who had already met in India and Australia earlier this year, discussed the comprehensive economic cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Mr Albanese had held informal talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on a free-trade agreement between Australia and the EU, with both speaking about the need to finalise the deal as soon as possible.

He also held formal bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, along with informal discussions with US President Joe Biden.

Earlier on Sunday, world leaders at the summit laid wreaths at Rajgaht, a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, with this year marking 75 years since the Indian leader’s death.

Presidency of the G20 will then be transferred to Brazil, who will host next year’s leaders’ meeting in Rio de Janeiro.