The G20 is an international forum for dialogue and coordination aimed at promoting international financial stability among its leading industrialized and emerging-market member nations. Since it was established, the G20’s agenda has expanded beyond macro-financial issues, to include socio-economic and development matters.
The Leaders’ Summit
The first-ever G20 Leaders’ Summit was held in Washington D.C. in November 2008. Saudi Arabia assumed the presidency of the G20 in December 2019. The G20 Leaders’ Summit for 2020, chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, will be held virtually on November 21 and 22.
Member countries and organizations
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, U.K., U.S., EU.
The member countries vary considerably in terms of population, economic growth, level of infrastructure development, and digitalization.
International organizations that have historically contributed to the G20’s work include the World Bank, OECD, the International Monetary Fund, Financial Stability Board, Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations.
COVID-19 and the G20
Due to the impact of COVID-19 containment measures on economic activity, the G20 member countries’ economies shrunk a total of 6.9% in Q2 2020, which is significantly larger than the 1.6% contraction at the height of the financial crisis in Q1 2009. The G20 countries’ year-on-year GDP plunged 9.1% in Q2 2020, following a 1.7% contraction in Q1 when the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The OECD stated that China is the only G20 country that recorded an 11.5% growth in Q2 2020, while India and the U.K. recorded the most significant drops in GDP of 25.2% and 20.4% respectively. In October, the IMF projected that global output would decline by 4.4% this year, with a 5.2% rebound in 2021.
Collective efforts to fight COVID-19
The G20 has contributed over $21 billion to support the production and distribution of, and access to, diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines in the fight against the pandemic. It also injected over $11 trillion into mitigating the impact of the virus on the global economy
G20 countries launched a debt suspension initiative for the world’s least developed countries that will allow beneficiary countries to defer $14 billion in debt payments due this year so they can instead use the money to finance their health systems and social programs.
Important past decisions by the G20
In 2009, the leaders of the G20 countries reached an agreement to help struggling economies to tackle the global financial crisis, with measures worth $1.1 trillion. The pledge included $500 billion for the IMF to lend to struggling economies, $250 billion to boost global trade, $250 billion for a new IMF “overdraft facility” and $100 billion for international development banks to lend to the world’s poorest countries.
Despite the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, in 2017 the G20 leaders reiterated the importance of fulfilling the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change commitments by developed countries to assist developing countries in mitigation and adaptation actions in line with the accord.
At the 2019 G20 in Osaka, Japan, G20 leaders collectively supported bilateral and plurilateral trade liberalization practices consistent with the World Trade Organization. The agreement by China and the U.S. to end their trade war and resume negotiations presented a milestone towards achieving bilateral and plurilateral trade in the world.Saudi ArabiaCOVID-19G20 Leaders