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From Financial Crisis to Global Cooperation: The Evolution of G20

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On 10 September 2023, the three-day G20 Summit in New Delhi ended on a high note as Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave Brazil the rotational Presidency. At the summit, the World leaders, under the theme of “One Earth, One Family, One Future”, discussed various themes like climate and energy, food security, development, digitalization and health. 

But what exactly is G20? What is the history associated with it? What is the purpose behind creating this group?

Let’s try to answer all your questions:

History Of G20 Summit

The G20, also known as The Group of Twenty, was founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. It was then a forum for the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss global economic and financial issues. The heads of State participated in the forum for international economic cooperation.

The first G-20 Summit took place in 2008 in Washington D.C., the United States to discuss financial markets and the world economy. The follow-up meeting happened in 2009 in London, the United Kingdom where countries reached a consensus to blacklist those countries that refused to cooperate in addressing tax evasion and avoidance.

The third meeting, which took place in the same year in Pittsburgh established G20 as a major decision-making body on matters relating to the world economy.

List of Summits Held After 2009

2010: Canada
2010: South Korea
2011: France
2012: Mexico
2013: Russia
2014: Australia
2015: Turkey
2016: China
2017: Germany
2018: Argentina
2019: Japan
2020: Saudi Arabia
2021: Italy
2022: Indonesia
2023: India

In the initial days, the focus of discussion in these forums was broad microeconomic policy, but now it includes trade, climate change, sustainable development, energy, environment, anti-corruption, and other issues. 

The Rotating G20 Presidency

You may be surprised to know but G20 doesn’t have a permanent leader.

And that is why, each year, a different country from the G20 assumes the presidency.  All the member countries decide who leads the presidency through a rotation system. There are 19 countries in the G20, and they split into five groups based on where they are in the world. Each year, they choose a country from one of these groups to be the leader. This rotation system started when South Korea was in charge.

In 2023, India had the presidency. It has now been passed on to Brazil by India. Next year, Brazil will host the G20 summit.

Countries Participating In The Summit

The G20 comprises 19 countries and the EU. The 19 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, The Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, The UK and the US, and the EU.

And now the big news!

African Union is now the Permanent Member of the G20

During the inaugural session, the PM of India Narendra Modi welcomed the 55-nation AU as the new member of the grouping. The African Union is a renowned organisation comprising 55 member nations. It collectively serves as the representative of countries throughout the African continent.

“Honoured to welcome the African Union as a permanent member of the G-20. This will strengthen the G-20 and also strengthen the voice of the Global South,” said PM Modi in his inaugural remarks.

G20’s 2023 Vision

What exactly was discussed in the meeting hosted by India?

The theme of India’s G20 presidency was “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which means “One Earth, One Family, and One Future.” The vision brought a spotlight on LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment). The phrase Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam finds its mention in the Maha Upanishad and is also engraved at the entry of the Central Hall of the Parliament of India.

Under India’s presidency, a new working group for disaster risk reduction took place which undertook multidisciplinary research and discussed new techniques for disaster risk reduction. India hosted over 200 meetings in over 50 cities. It gave the delegates of the G20 a glimpse of India’s rich culture and provided them with a unique experience. 

What were India’s G20 Priorities?

  • Green Development, Climate, Finance, and LiFE

At the G20 Summit 2023, India prioritised climate change, technology, and energy transitions. The issue of climate change cuts across industries, sectors, and society. India emphasised a behaviour-based movement that draws upon ancient sustainable traditions to nudge customers to adopt environmentally conscious practices.

  • Accelerated, Inclusive And Resilient Growth

India focused on those areas that can bring structural transformation. The country aimed to integrate the MSMEs into global trade, promote labour rights and welfare, address global skill gaps and build inclusive agricultural value chains and food systems.  

  • Technological Transformation & Digital Public Infrastructure

India believes in a human-centric approach to technology that facilitates knowledge sharing in areas like digital public infrastructure, financial inclusion, and tech-enabled development in sectors from agriculture to education.

  • Women-Led Development

India also used the G20 forum to highlight growth and development and focus on women’s empowerment and representation. It also included focusing on bringing women to the fore, especially in leading positions for boosting socio-economic development and achieving the SDGs.

New Delhi Consensus/Declaration

The leaders of the G20 summit arrived at a joint consensus called the G20 New Delhi Leader’s Declaration. Here are some of the key points:

  • It condemns terrorism as a serious threat to international peace, stating that all acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable
  • It highlights the need to promote equitable economic growth and ensure macroeconomic and financial stability, with a focus on protecting vulnerable populations.
  • It places emphasis on achieving strong and sustainable economic growth, advancing progress toward sustainable development goals, supporting environmentally friendly development, and revitalizing international cooperation.
  • The Declaration emphasises that the G20 members are dedicated to promoting unrestricted, open, and fair trade in agriculture, food, and fertilizers, and to avoid imposing export restrictions.
  • G20 nations pledge to strengthen the global health system, enhance the resilience of health systems, and promote the development of climate-resilient, low-carbon health systems in collaboration with multilateral development banks (MDBs).
  • The Declaration also highlights the importance of aligning financial flows with climate goals while expanding financial support, capacity-building, and technology transfer, with a specific focus on the priorities and needs of developing countries.

Summing Up

G20 presidency given to Brazil

The G20 Summit in India has come to an end. The PM of India has presented the gavel to Brazil as the country prepares to assume the presidency. However, India will still hold the responsibility till November 2023 as Brazil will officially take the helm on December 1st this year. 

“We want greater participation of the emerging countries in the decision-making process of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The unbearable foreign debt of the poorest countries needs to be addressed,” said Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva while addressing assembled delegates. 

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