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Sansad TV: New India Debate- G20 Presidency

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G20:

The G20 is an annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies.

  • Its members account for 85% of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of its population.
  • The G20 Summit is formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”.
  • After the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998, it was acknowledged that the participation of major emerging market countries is needed on discussions on the international financial system, and G7 finance ministers agreed to establish the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in 1999.
  • The group has no permanent staff of its own, so every year in December, a G20 country from a rotating region takes on the presidency.
  • That country is then responsible for organising the next summit, as well as smaller meetings for the coming year.
  • They can also choose to invite non-member countries along as guests.
  • The first G20 meeting took place in Berlin in 1999, after a financial crisis in East Asia affected many countries around the world.
  • Full membershipArgentina, 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.

Benefits of G20 Presidency:

  • The 17th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit  took place in Bali.
  • After Indonesia, India will assume the presidency of the G20 from December 2022 to November 2023.
  • Global agenda: India will have the opportunity to assume centre stage in proposing and setting the global agenda and discourse.
  • Global economic growth: The G20 holds a strategic role in securing global economic growth and prosperity as it represents more than 80% of the world’s GDP.
  • Leadership potential: The country’s leadership potential and diplomatic foresight in organizing such a big event and in arriving at meaningful outcomes will be tested.

Its relevance in changing times:

  • As globalization progresses and various issues become more intricately intertwined, the recent G20 summits have focused not only on macro-economy and trade, but also on a wide range of global issues which have an immense impact on the global economy, such as development, climate change and energy, health, counter-terrorism, as well as migration and refugees.
  • The G20 has sought to realize an inclusive and sustainable world through its contributions towards resolving these global issues.
  • The increased participation of emerging countries in global issues,
  • the reform of international financial institutions,
  • the monitoring of national financial institutions,
  • The improvement in the regulations of the economies whose problems led to the crisis and the creation of safety nets to prevent problems in the future.
  • The G20 also specifically helped to provide emergency funds during the 2008 crisis and plays an important role in financing for development.

The relevance of the G20 has been questioned for some time now. The reasons for the same are:

  • The G20 has merely meandered around important challenges to the world economy, doing precious little about it. Consequently, in the past few years, there has been persistent criticism of the G20. Many regard it as one more place to talk shop and photo-op.
  • The international media, at any rate, seems to have very little interest in the summit’s official agenda – future of work, infrastructure for development and sustainable food future – and remain focused largely on the bilateral talks like USA-China in the garb of trade wars.
  • The irony is that the single most important challenge to global economic stability today is being posed in an area that the G20 refused to include in its initial agenda at the time of its formation in 2008-09, namely, international trade.
  • While the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is an invitee to the G20, multilateral trade was consciously kept outside the G20’s ambit so that the G7 could continue to manipulate the WTO agenda.
  • Yet, when faced with the current challenge to global growth from the unilateral trade policy actions of the US, the G20 will together talk only about long-term issues like the future of work, infrastructure and food, while immediate trade-related issues arising from US unilateralism will only be discussed in bilateral on the sidelines.

Way Forward:

  • With the intellectual and analytical resources available to leaders of the G20 countries, some review should be undertaken of mistakes made in the past, and how these could be repaired and avoided in fu
  • It would be desirable to devote an entire session of the G20 to the problem of terrorism.
  • What is the point in focusing only on economic growth when the disparities across the globe and power politics lead to serious and lasting threats to human security globally.