No full consensus; food security, inflation, Ukraine war top agenda


Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati delivers a speech during the opening of the Group of 20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, on July 15, 2022.

Made Nagi | AFP | Getty Images

BALI, Indonesia — Finance chiefs at the Group of 20 meeting in Bali « strongly condemned » the war in Ukraine and expressed concern over an « alarming increase of food and energy insecurity. »

That’s according to a statement issued by the G-20 host Indonesia on Sunday.

The group, which met over two days in the island resort of Bali, could not reach consensus on several issues and did not issue a joint statement. The previous G-20 finance leaders’ meeting in Washington in April also ended without the release of a joint communiqué.

Instead, a statement issued by the Bank of Indonesia on Sunday summarized the main discussion points of several rounds of meetings held privately. In particular, finance chiefs and central bank leaders from the grouping pledged to battle food insecurity and high prices which continue to « disproportionately » impact vulnerable countries.

« Many members agreed that the recovery of the global economy has slowed and is facing a major setback as a result of Russia´s war against Ukraine, which was strongly condemned, and called for an end to the war, » the statement from Indonesia’s central bank said.

Many members stand ready to take prompt collective actions on food security, including by working with other initiative.

Bank of Indonesia

host of G-20

« Members noted that existing challenges have been exacerbated, including supply-demand mismatches, supply disruptions, and increased commodity and energy prices, which have added to rising inflationary pressures and contributed to the increasing risk of food insecurity. »

« Many members noted the importance of continued action on climate change, as well as on addressing debt vulnerabilities, » it said.

All members at the meeting — which included Russia and Ukraine, virtually — pledged to use all policy tools available to tackle the food crisis. However, there was no indication that commitments were made to ensure future sanctions against Russia involving food and key supplies would be avoided.

The upending of supply chains during the pandemic — now worsened by the Russia-Ukraine crisis — have delayed and curtailed the delivery of food, fertilizer and fuel to many parts of the world including countries in Africa and the Middle East.

« Many members stand ready to take prompt collective actions on food security, including by working with other initiatives, » the statement said.

Broadly, all G-20 central banks agreed to tackle inflation and calibrate monetary policies that would rein in soaring prices.

From climate change to digital currencies

Central bank chiefs and finance ministers also reaffirmed their commitment to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control.

« We welcome the establishment of a Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) for pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response as developed by the G20 Joint Finance-Health Task Force and hosted by the World Bank, » the statement from Indonesia said.

The FIF — voluntarily funded by members — will ensure adequate, sustained and better coordinated financing for pandemic responses.

Climate change was discussed and members pledged to meet their COP26 commitments in reaching carbon neutrality and net zero targets.

The group promised to phase out and rationalize, over the medium term, « inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption. »

« We continue to recall and reaffirm the commitment made by developed countries, to the goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion climate finance per year by 2020 and annually through to 2025 to address the needs of developing countries, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions, » the statement said.

The group acknowledged there has been progress on the use of digitalization in financial transactions globally and agreed to step efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

« We welcome continued discussions on Central Bank Digital Currencies as these may be designed to facilitate cross-border payments while preserving the stability of the international monetary and financial system, » said in the statement.

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