G20: SHAPING AN INTERCONNECTED WORLD (2017 | Issue 2)

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THE TEAM OF TWENTY


Gone are the days when it took two to tango. In today’s world, it takes at least 20 to tango! The challenges we are facing cannot be dealt with on a national level. A lot more can be achieved by working in close cooperation. Recognising the urgent need for dialogue and united action, the Group of Twenty was formed. What’s Up, Germany? brings you the G20 in a nutshell.

Ben

THE GENESIS

The G20 was founded in 1999 as an informal group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union in response to the global financial crisis of the late 1990s. The heads of state and government of the 19 countries and representatives from the European Union also joined the group in 2008 at the first G20 leaders’ summit held in Washington, DC. Since then, they have been meeting every year.

MEMBER COUNTRIES

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union are members of the G20.

The Team of 20Ben

BROAD AGENDA

Although the G20 originally restricted itself to economic and financial issues, this group of nations comprising the world’s major industrialised and developing countries has gone beyond crisis management. It has expanded its agenda, and today it is a major forum for global governance.

STRONG CLOUT

Home to two-thirds of the world’s population, the G20 member countries generate more than 85 per cent of the global GDP, so though their decisions are not binding, they have enough influence to bring about reform at an international level.

MODUS OPERANDI

For most people, the G20 is equated with the summit of the heads of state and government. However, the leaders’ summit is only the culmination of numerous meetings held during the year, where different issues are discussed in depth and most of the groundwork is laid. All discussions of the different working groups are coordinated by Sherpas, who are personal representatives of the G20 leaders. India’s Sherpa is Arvind Panagariya, vice-chairman of NITI Aayog. The most prominent part of the G20 is the finance track, consisting of finance ministers and central bank governors, which takes care of financial issues. But other ministers also meet to discuss other issues.

TAKE THE CHAIR

The G20’s presidency or chairmanship rotates on an annual basis between the member countries, which are divided into regional groupings. Germany currently holds the G20 presidency and will host the leaders’ summit in Hamburg on 7–8 July 2017. In 2018, Germany will hand over the G20 presidency to Argentina.

EXPANDING TIES

As the range of topics addressed by the G20 widened, the organisational framework also grew to include more partners, such as additional guest countries and international organisations. Spain takes part in the G20 as a permanent guest country. Key international organisations such as the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) also regularly attend the G20.

A KNOT THAT BINDS TOGETHER

The logo of Germany’s G20 presidency is the reef knot, which symbolises this year’s summit’s motto, “Shaping an Interconnected World”. It stands for the interconnectedness of the various issues the G20 addresses. Individual paths join together to form multicoloured strands and culminate in the reef knot. This knot also points to the long maritime tradition of Hamburg, where the 2017 G20 summit will be held.

“Shaping an Interconnected World”

“As the world grows smaller and more interdependent daily, our country’s future absolutely depends on our ability to see the connections between ourselves and our global neighbors.”
— Gilbert Grosvenor, former editor of National Geographic