Relevance of G-20 for Development


The later half of the 1990s had witnessed sea changes in the global power politics. While the US remained the dominant power, there emerged many economic power, from the global South, like China and India. The subsequent East Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 highlighted the need for greater economic cooperation between the developed and developing countries. A number of multilateral forums were established to initiate an informal dialogue between the different countries.

The Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors of the Group of Eight (G-8) announced the their intention to broaden the dialogue on key economic and financial policy issues among the systematically important economies, and to achieve stable and sustainable world economic growth that benefits all. This gave birth to the G-8, which comprised of countries like- USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia.

These 8 countries were later joined by 11 emerging and developing countries, namely- Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Africa and Turkey, along with the European Union to form the G-20.

The G-20 meets once a year to discuss international economic issues. This summit is popularly known as the Leaders Summit, which bring together leaders from the Heads of the States. The discussion is done by the ‘Sherpas’, who are the personal representatives of the leaders of each nation. The meetings also invite other stakeholders, like business representatives, representatives of the labour union, academicians, young people and civil society organisations, in order to facilitate an inclusive and representative dialogue.

Till date, 8 G20 Leader summits have concluded. The 9th G20 Leaders Summit will take place in Brisbane, Australia, on November 15-16, 2014. This summit is a special one, specially after the arrival of the global economic crisis of 2008. G20 has evolved as a crisis manager group making an effort to move towards economic and financial stability. However, there is a concern that the issues of development have not been adequately found in the G20 agenda. The official recognition of the civil society had also started as late as in 2013, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

One of the main agendas of G20 is the promotion of shared economic growth and sustainable growth and development. G20 is also trying to foster and adopt internationally recognised standards in areas like financial transparency, international tax cooperation and combating money laundering.

Till, as late as 2010, G20 did not formally recognise issues relating to development. It was first recognised in the Seoul Summit of 2010, where leaders from different countries endorsed economic growth as an agenda. However, this is only possible when there is shared economic growth and a fair distribution of income among the countries. There has been an underachievement among the G20 countries, in this respect.

According to the Standarised World Income Inequality Database, 2012, only four member-countries of the G20, namely- Brazil, Korea, Mexico and Argentina, have been able to reduce income inequalities in the past 20 years. In the US, the richest 1% persons of the world, possess over 40% of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom 80% possess only 7%.

India’s Role

India has been achieving a appreciable economic growth rate since the introduction of the new economic policies of 1991. As a result, India has become an important player among the global South. This has resulted in the better partnership of India, with the important players of the world, and an active engagement in the international forums.

India’s leaders have voiced their opinions regarding the rebalancing of the global governance through the reform of international financial institutions like World Bank and IMF, and checking macroeconomic imbalances, and scrutinising protectionist measures. India has an important agenda of widening the scope of the G20, beyond the traditional goals of economic growth and development.

However, the proposed Leaders’ summit at Brisbane has its objective of- Economic Development with Sustainable Growth, Job Creation and Open Trade. Here, development has been defined as creating conditions for developing countries to attract infrastructure investment, strengthening tax system and improving access to financial services. Thus, there is an absence of the social issues from the Summit.

Courtesy: Employment News

Team Aspirant Forum

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