|Full form||Group of Twenty|
|Purpose||To discuss key issues in the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation and sustainable development.|
|Membership||21 members: 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom and United States) and 2 regional organizations (European Union and African Union)|
|GDP share||Around 80% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP)|
|Trade share||Over 75% of the world’s trade|
|Population share||About two-thirds of the world’s population|
|Land area share||About 60% of the world’s land area|
|Formation||Founded in 1999 as a forum for the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of major economies; elevated to the level of Heads of State/Government in 2008|
|Presidency||Rotates annually among members; India holds the Presidency from 1 December 2022 to 30 November 2023|
|Summit||Held annually, usually in the second half of the year; the latest summit was held in Rome, Italy on 30-31 October 2021|
What is G20? Full information about G20
The G20, or the Group of Twenty, is an intergovernmental forum that brings together 20 of the world’s largest economies to discuss and cooperate on issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. The G20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union (EU), and the African Union (AU). Together, they account for around 85% of the global gross domestic product (GDP), 75% of the global trade, and two-thirds of the global population12
History and evolution of G20
The G20 was founded in 1999 as a response to several world economic crises that exposed the need for a more inclusive and representative forum for international economic cooperation3 Initially, the G20 was a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries and the EU. The first meeting was held in Berlin on December 15-16, 19994
The G20 gained more prominence and influence after the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, which demonstrated the interdependence and vulnerability of the world economy. In November 2008, the first G20 summit of heads of state or government was held in Washington D.C., where the leaders agreed on a coordinated action plan to restore global growth and prevent future crises. Since then, the G20 leaders have met at least once a year to review the progress of their commitments and address new challenges facing the global economy. The most recent summit was held in New Delhi on September 9-10, 2023.
The G20 has also expanded its agenda beyond economic and financial issues to include other topics of global importance, such as development, health, energy, environment, trade, terrorism, migration, and digitalization. The G20 has also established various working groups and task forces to facilitate dialogue and cooperation among its members and with other stakeholders on specific issues.
For example, the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group was established in 2010 to promote transparency and accountability in the public and private sectors. The G20 Development Working Group was established in 2010 to support low-income and developing countries in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth. The G20 Digital Economy Task Force was established in 2016 to foster innovation and digital transformation in the global economy.
How does G20 work?
The G20 operates as an informal forum without a permanent secretariat or a formal decision-making mechanism. The G20 presidency rotates annually among its members according to a pre-determined system that ensures a balanced representation of different regions and economic groups. The presidency sets the agenda and hosts the summit for that year. The current president of the G20 is India (2023), followed by Brazil (2024) and Italy (2025).
The G20 works through two tracks: the finance track and the sherpa track. The finance track consists of meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors throughout the year to discuss economic and financial policies and prepare recommendations for the leaders’ summit. The sherpa track consists of meetings of personal representatives (sherpas) of the leaders throughout the year to discuss broader issues related to the summit agenda and coordinate political positions among the members.
The sherpas also engage with various outreach groups that represent different sectors and interests of society, such as business (B20), civil society (C20), labor (L20), think tanks (T20), women (W20), youth (Y20), urban (U20), science (S20), health (H20), education (E20), agriculture (A20), culture (CulT20), media (M20), sport (SporT20), faith (FaiT20), etc. These groups provide inputs and recommendations to the sherpas and the leaders on various issues related to the summit agenda.
The main outcome of each summit is a leaders’ declaration that summarizes the main agreements and commitments made by the members on various issues. The declaration is not legally binding but reflects the political will and collective vision of the members. The declaration also sets out an action plan for implementing and monitoring the commitments made by the members.
The implementation and follow-up of the commitments are overseen by various working groups and task forces under the finance track and the sherpa track. The G20 also works closely with other international organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations (UN), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to ensure coherence and coordination of policies and actions.
What are the achievements and challenges of G20?
The G20 has been credited with playing a key role in responding to the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and preventing a deeper recession. The G20 members agreed on a coordinated fiscal stimulus package of $5 trillion, a reform of the international financial system, and a strengthening of the global financial safety net. The G20 also established the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to monitor and regulate the global financial system and prevent future crises.
The G20 has also contributed to advancing the global development agenda and supporting low-income and developing countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The G20 has launched several initiatives to promote inclusive and sustainable growth, such as the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth (2010), the Multi-Year Action Plan on Development (2010-2015), the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2016), and the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialization in Africa and Least Developed Countries (2016).
The G20 has also mobilized resources and enhanced cooperation to address global challenges, such as poverty, hunger, health, education, energy, climate change, infrastructure, trade, investment, innovation, digitalization, migration, terrorism, corruption, etc.
However, the G20 has also faced some challenges and criticisms in fulfilling its role and mandate. Some of the challenges and criticisms are:
- The G20 lacks legitimacy and representation as it excludes more than 170 countries from its membership and decision-making process. The G20 is also accused of undermining existing international institutions, such as the UN and the IMF, that have broader and more democratic participation.
- The G20 lacks accountability and transparency as it operates as an informal forum without a formal mechanism for monitoring and enforcing its commitments. The G20 is also criticized for being influenced by powerful countries and interest groups that may not reflect the interests and needs of the majority of the world population.
- The G20 lacks effectiveness and coherence as it faces difficulties in reaching consensus and implementing its agreements among its diverse members that have different economic models, political systems, and priorities. The G20 is also challenged by emerging issues and crises that require rapid and coordinated responses from its members.
The G20 is an important forum for international economic cooperation that brings together 20 of the world’s largest economies to discuss and address issues related to the global economy.
The G20 has played a significant role in responding to the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and advancing the global development agenda. However, the G20 also faces some challenges and criticisms in terms of its legitimacy, accountability, transparency, effectiveness, and coherence. The G20 needs to continue to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs and expectations of its members and stakeholders in a complex and dynamic world.