Marking the culmination of 18 years of achievements in international cooperation for economic stability and steady growth of the world economy, the 18th Heads of State and Government Summit of the Group of 20 (G20) will be held in New Delhi on September 8-9 2023. Under the Indian Presidency, the G20 this year will focus on the theme: ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ to affirm the value of human, animal, plant, and microorganisms and their interconnectedness on planet Earth and in the wider universe.
The Group of Twenty or G20 is an international forum for the world's major economies. It was established in 1999 and comprises 19 countries plus the European Union. The G20 members represent around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation, playing an important role in shaping and strengthening global architecture and governance on all major international economic issues.
In this report, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) provides a timeline tracing the history of the G20 and its track record of achievements.
G20 was founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 as an informal forum for the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the most important industrialised and developing economies to discuss international economic and financial stability.
The forum initially focused largely on broad macroeconomic issues, but it has since then expanded its agenda to include, inter-alia, trade, climate change, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, environment, climate change, and anti-corruption.
The G20 was upgraded to the level of Heads of State/Government in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis of 2007, and in 2009, when it became apparent that the necessary crisis coordination would only be possible at the highest political level. Since then, the G20 Leaders have met regularly, and the G20 has become the premier forum for international economic cooperation.
The first G20 Summit was held in 2008 in Washington DC. It set the scene for the most dramatic reform of global finance in over 60 years. At the follow-up summit in 2009 in London (UK), the G20 agreed to blacklist states that refused to cooperate on efforts to tackle tax evasion and avoidance. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the G20 resolved to impose stricter controls on hedge funds and rating agencies. Institutional reforms included the expansion of the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) to make it an effective supervisory and watchdog body for the global financial system. It was renamed the Financial Stability Board (FSB).
The G20 summit in Pittsburgh in 2009 established the G20 as a major decision-making body on matters relating to the global economy. The summit agreed on stricter regulations for the banking sector, which helped reduce the financial risk to governments and taxpayers. The G20 was then officially classified as the "premier forum for international economic cooperation."
The G20 summits in Toronto (Canada) in 2010, Seoul (Republic of Korea) in 2010, and Cannes (France) in 2011 focused on reducing sovereign debt, reforming the financial system, and promoting development.
The Toronto summit agreed to reduce sovereign debt and deficit spending by advanced industrial countries. The Seoul summit agreed to stricter banking regulations (Basel III Norms) and IMF reform, and also made development a priority. The Cannes Summit focused on reforming the international monetary system and establishing an agricultural market information system.
In Los Cabos (Mexico) in 2012, the G20 focused on fighting youth unemployment and creating quality jobs. They also discussed the link between development, agriculture, and green growth. The 2013 Summit in St. Petersburg, the group made progress on combating tax evasion and avoidance. They agreed on automatic exchange of tax information and the Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS).
In Brisbane (Australia) in 2014, the G20 set an ambitious goal of increasing its collective GDP by an additional 2%. They also agreed on the Common Reporting Standard for Automatic Exchange of Tax Information and the ‘Brisbane 25 by 25’ goal to reduce the gender gap in the labour workforce by 25% by 2025.
In Antalya (Türkiye) in 2015, the G20 looked at migration and refugee movement for the first time. They also agreed on financial sector reforms and supported the global climate agreement. At the Summit in Hangzhou (China) in 2016, the focus was on strengthening long-term inclusive growth and linking sustainable growth and social welfare. Digital economy was included in the agenda for the first time. G20 leaders adopted the ‘G20 Action Plan on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.
At the Hamburg Summit (Germany) in 2017, the G20 focused on addressing terrorism and climate change. They endorsed the Paris Agreement and committed to universal access to affordable and clean energy. They also launched the G20 Africa Partnership. In Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 2018, the G20 focused on fair and sustainable development. Their priority areas were the future of work, the fourth industrial revolution, health, youth, infrastructure for development, and sustainable food security. They also sought to build on the legacy of past presidencies on issues such as empowering women, fighting corruption, and strengthening financial governance.
In Japan in 2019, the G20 focused on trade and investment, excess capacity of steel, digitalization, data free flow with trust, base erosion and profit sharing, quality infrastructure investment, anti-corruption, climate change, energy, environment, displacement and migration. They also released a statement on preventing the exploitation of the internet for terrorism.
In Saudi Arabia in 2020, the G20 held its first virtual summit to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy. The leaders committed to injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy and endorsed the Debt Service Suspension Initiative and the Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI to provide liquidity relief to debt ridden countries. They also adopted an Action Plan in response to COVID-19 and convened a joint meeting of the Finance and Health Ministers.
In Italy in 2021, the G20 focused on recovery from the pandemic, economic recovery and resilience, climate change, and sustainable development and food security. They also held a Global Health Summit and endorsed the Final Political Agreement on a two-pillar solution to address tax challenges. Last year in Indonesia, the G20 focused on three main pillars: global health architecture, digital transformation, and sustainable energy transitions. They also declared to stay agile and flexible in their macro-economic policy responses, protect macroeconomic and financial stability, take action to promote food and energy security, unlock further investments for developing countries, and recommit to accelerate achievement of the SDGs.
In this year's edition, all hopes are pinned on G20 nations to take a greater leadership role in climate change mitigation and adaptation.