The Global South
ContextThe unwillingness of many leading countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to stand with NATO over the war in Ukraine has brought to the fore once again the term “Global South.”
- The term “Global South” was coined by Alfred Sauvyin 1952, in an analogy with France’s historical three estates: the nobility, the clergy and the bourgeoisie.
- It was first used in 1969 by political activist Carl Oglesby.
- But it was only after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union– which marked the end of the so-called “Second World” – that the term gained momentum.
- Until then, the more common term for developing nations – countries that had yet to industrialize fully – was “Third World.”
- The term “Global South” is not geographical. In fact, the Global South’s two largest countries – China and India – lie entirely in the Northern Hemisphere.
- Rather, its usage denotes a mix of political, geopolitical and economic commonalities between nations.
- Colonisation: Major commonality between the South countries is that most have a history of colonisation, largely at the hands of European powers.
- Exclusion from prominent organizations: The region’s historical exclusion from prominent international organisations – such as from the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.
- Economic issues: In general, they are poorer, have higher levels of income inequality and suffer lower life expectancy and harsher living conditions than countries in the “Global North”.
- India’s rich history as the leader of the Non-Aligned Movement and its economic and geopolitical clout in global politics are propelling New Delhi to play a greater role in global geopolitics. Assuming the position of G-20 Presidency in 2022-23 is a testimony to this.
- Narrative to global geopolitics: Being the leader of the Global South, India provides a voice to the Global South Movement.
- Whether on the question of climate change, energy transition, taking a stand on normative issues or protecting the Global South’s interest, India played a proactive role in international forums over the years.
- Forerunner in sustainable energy transitions: India is the forerunner in global and sustainable energy transitions. At various Climate Summits, India resisted the onslaught from the Global North and protected the interest of the Global South be it on the question of climate financing, limiting the emission norms.
- Significant contributions to the arena of energy transition framework are
- International Solar Alliance
- push to hydrogen-based fuel
- technical assistance to the countries of the Global South in harnessing solar energy and hydrogen-based fuel
- Democratising international relations: Reforming the United Nations and broadening the UN Security Council’s permanent membership are some of the constant demands India has raised over the years.
- Economic emergence: The concept is being reiterated now partly because of the economic emergence of some of these South countries, such as India and China, in the last few decades.
- Political visibility: This economic shift has gone hand in hand with enhanced political visibility. Countries in the Global South are increasingly asserting themselves on the global scene.
- Emerging challenges to the nature of global geopolitics:
- Resource + Security: Supply securitisation of food and energy, technology transfer, energy transition, and climate change issues and their impact on the global community.
- Genuine multilateralism: The other important challenge is in the form of the need for “genuine multilateralism” of the institutions of global governance to provide an equitable voice to all countries.
|Challenges before the Global South||Required Measures|