G20 summit sees climate change, food crisis on the agenda

Leaders of the world's biggest economies have begun two-days of talks at the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi. The global food crisis and climate change are included on the agenda for a meeting that comes amid a widening split in the international community.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has worsened a food and energy crisis and deepened divisions among some countries.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his opening address to call for seeking common ground between the US and Russia, among others. He said a global trust deficit should be reversed and that it is time for world leaders to move together.

India has sought to distance itself from both the West and Russia since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. It aims to play a coordinating role in geopolitics.

Modi also announced that the African Union has been granted permanent member status in the G20 bloc, furthering his drive to give a greater voice to developing and emerging economies known as the Global South.

But recent ministerial meetings leading up to the summit have failed to issue a joint statement due to differences over the wording on the war in Ukraine.

Last year's summit in Indonesia managed to agree on a joint declaration by incorporating opinions from both the US and Russia. But it could be difficult this time to reach a consensus even with such a compromise.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are not attending. This could suggest to some a diminishing role for the G20.

The war in Ukraine and climate change have hit countries in the Global South especially hard with rising food and energy prices.

It remains to be seen whether G20 leaders will make headway toward resolving global issues.