G20 leaders are meeting in Italy this weekend for their first face-to-face summit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a look at what the G20 is, what’s on the agenda and why it is important…
What is the G20?
The G20, or the Group of 20, is a group made up of 19 countries and the European Union. A larger version of the G7, the G20 was originally established in 1999 as an organisation to monitor and address developments in the world economy.
The G20 is often thought to represent the world economic order better than the G7 due to its size, though its size does mean that divisions are more likely on big issues due to there being more voices at the table.
The G20 usually holds a summit annually, with engagement groups feeding into its work, including the Business 20, Youth 20, Think 20, Women 20, Labour 20, Urban 20, Civil 20 and Science 20. These groups hold discussions before the G20 summit – the Youth 20 held its summit back in July.
Each year there is a host nation of the G20 – this year it is in Italy.
What has the G20 done before?
The G20 has been operating for over 20 years, during which time it has held discussions and made agreements on numerous economic issues.
For example, the G20 discussed the collapse of the Lehman Brothers and the global financial crash, agreeing to inject £748bn into the global economy. The G20 made progress in changing the governance of global finance and since the financial crisis, has discussed a wide range of other issues from inequality to climate change.
Who is part of the G20?
The G20 consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
What’s on the agenda this year?
Top of the agenda for this year’s summit is COVID-19 and Climate Change.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on the world economy, and recovery rates for different countries have differed. Many countries which have lower incomes than some western powers also have minimal vaccination rates against COVID-19, and this is likely to be discussed at the summit this weekend.
Climate Change will be a key topic, with the G20 summit coming just days before the COP26 Climate Change summit. World leaders have been warned that urgent action is needed to cut global emissions and tackle the climate emergency – the summit this weekend and COP26 provides opportunities for world leaders to discuss these issues and make commitments to tackle them.