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What is and how has the G20 been transformed

Since its inception in the late 1990s, the Group of 20 It has transformed from an international body to address financial crises into a forum to address urgent global issues such as access to vaccines and climate change.

Is the structure of the G20 adequate to respond to the changing needs of our time? That will be known when the leaders of the world’s largest economies meet in person for the first time in the era of COVID-19 in Rome.

Who are the members?

The Group of Seven industrialized countries – which was for some years the Group of Eight until the suspension of Russia due to its annexation of the Crimean peninsula – is probably the best known of the “G”. The Group of 20 includes the seven: Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

These are joined by countries with strong or growing economies: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey. The 20th member is the European Union, and since it includes 27 nations – three of them from the G7 – the G20 represents the interests of many more countries.

What are the figures?

In terms of population and economic weight, the G20 is impressive. The member countries comprise 60% of the world’s population and 80% of the world’s GDP. There is a lot of exchange between the members: the G20 countries represent 75% of world foreign trade.

How it began?

The Group of 20 is considered the leading international forum for economic and financial cooperation. Following the 1997 Asian economic crisis and its aftermath, the G7 finance ministers expanded the group in 1999 to give a voice to other countries.

After the 2008 global financial crisis triggered by the subprime mortgage debacle in the United States, Washington lobbied to elevate the G20 to the level of heads of state and government.

The leaders at the Pittsburgh summit in 2009 proclaimed their intention to leave behind “an era of irresponsibility and adopt a series of measures, regulations and reforms to meet the needs of the global economy in the 21st century.”

Does the G20 keep its relevance?

Some suggest incorporating new members, especially in view of the urgency to tackle climate change. After the global crisis caused by US subprime loans, “the emergence (of the G20) as a forum for international coordination of measures seemed the only silver lining to end this mess,” says Rosario Forlenza, professor of contemporary history. and Anthropology from the Roman University LUISS.

But he and others note that South Africa is the only African country in the G20. In terms of climate, “Africa is crucial,” says Forlenza. The absence of Nigeria, the country with the largest economy and the most populous in Africa, thus appears as a huge gap.

Previous work

Before the arrival of the presidents and prime ministers in Rome, the “Sherpas” have been working out an agreement for the final declaration of the G20. In this context, the term “Sherpa” to refer to diplomats and other officials is an acknowledgment of the Himalayan people who are known for their prowess in mountaineering and who lead the climb to the top.

As in a work with many acts, in the months before a G20 summit meetings are held at the ministerial level on foreign affairs, trade, finance, education, health and development, from which commitments come.

In Venice, the G20 finance ministers supported a broad review of the international tax system that would apply a 15% tax to companies to prevent the largest from seeking refuge and tax havens. The Rome summit is an opportunity to seal the deal before the curtain falls.

The crux of the matter

The G20 summit is an opportunity for the host country to lobby for the issues that matter most to them. Italian Premier Mario Draghi is a strong supporter of empowering women in the economic sector.

An economist and former president of the European Central Bank, Draghi often emphasizes how the marginalization of women from the workforce hinders economic growth. The 2014 summit in Australia set a goal of reducing the gender employment gap by 25% by 2025.

Outside the bubble

Italian security forces will install a tight security perimeter around the summit venue in EUR, a neighborhood outside Rome known for its fascist-era architecture.

The protesters plan to hold events in the historic heart of the city to draw attention to their causes despite being miles from the leaders. Tibetan activists have called for an event at the Colosseum on Friday afternoon, coinciding with the arrival of most of the leaders in Rome.

Those protesting human rights violations call for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.



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