Last week this page gave an overview into what the G20 is and what their summits are about. It helped understand what the group of 19 states and the EU stands for. It is the background to understanding the outcomes of the meeting in Antalya which will be discussed today.
It should be mentioned at the very outset that Turkey’s G20 Presidency ended with the Antalya Summit on November 15 & 16. Turkey held over 170 meetings during its G20 presidency – more than any previous host. The outcomes of these meetings are reflected in the wealth of topics covered in the leaders’ communiqué. The overall communiqué provides a strong emphasis on inclusivity and developmental issues including the sustainable development goals (SDGs), access to energy, climate change and the refugee crises. Two matters that need special mention are the inclusion of the Internet for the first time in a leaders’ declaration and the focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The economic and financial agenda is less innovative, with successes in these areas limited to the completion of ongoing initiatives by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the monitoring of progress on implementation of reforms and targets, as well as institutional capacity building.
Economic and Financial Agenda
The summit takes into account the unpredictability of the global economy. It underscores the risks involved in uncertainties, shortfall in global demand and the geopolitical challenges that are faced by the global markets. It seeks to advance the macroeconomic policies to achieve sustainable and balanced growth. It draws attention to the Antalya Action Plan which is a commitment to overcome global economic challenges.
The most important financial reform included is that of sovereign debt restructuring, which came to the forefront after the Argentine debt situation. This augmented the need for a new global structure to resolve and restructure sovereign debt issues. Another financial reform that was finalized was the international standard on total loss absorbing capacity (TLAC) for global systematically important banks (G-SIB). Strengthening the resilience of financial institutions and enhancing the stability of financial systems are crucial to sustaining growth and development. The G20 proposed the implementation of the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project. This is towards reaching a globally fair and modern international tax system. In order to strengthen developing economies’ engagement in the international tax agenda, a framework for the involvement of interested non-G20 countries and jurisdictions will be prepared by 2016. This involves providing technical assistance to interested developing economies in tackling the domestic resource mobilization challenges. It also commits to the exchange of information on-request as well as automatically by 2017 or end-2018.
The summit also sought the implementation of the G20 High-Level Principles on Integrity and Transparency in the Private Sector, G20 Anti-Corruption Open Data Principles and the G20 Principles for Promoting Integrity in Public Procurement. It seeks to build a culture of transparency and anti-corruption through the implementation of the 2015-2016 G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan.
Youth employment and SMEs
Welcoming the B20 and L20 joint statement on jobs, growth and decent work, the leaders’ communiqué highlights inequalities in the employment sector. It seeks to promote better quality jobs in line with the G20 Framework on Promoting Quality Jobs and on improving and investing in skills through the G20 Skills Strategy. It highlights the inequalities in unemployment, underemployment and informal jobs and seeks to better integrate youth into the labor market and promote entrepreneurship.
The communiqué acknowledges country specific investment strategies which seek to boost investment across the board. Whilst encouraging private sector participation in investment it promotes public sector support in developing quality infrastructure. In an attempt to promote the involvement of SMEs in growth, trade, and investment the SME Finance Forum launched its global member network in a ceremony hosted by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Special Advocate for the Secretary General of the UN for Inclusive Finance for Development and Cevdet Yılmaz, the Deputy PM of Turkey. Established by the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) and managed by IFC, the SME Finance Forum brings together private and public sector players to share knowledge, spur innovation, and provide a new voice in policy discourse. Its ultimate goal is closing the enormous SME finance gap, estimated at over $2 trillion worldwide. A special focus on long-term financing for SMEs will be supported by the Joint Action Plan on SME Financing and the G20/OECD High-Level Principles on SME Financing as guidance. It also seeks to coordinate trade better to provide access to SMEs ino global value chains (GVCs).
The summit gives great emphasis to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the need to involve low-income developing countries. To this end it will develop an action plan in 2016 to further align work with the 2030 Agenda.
The communiqué re-emphasizes the importance on investments in clean-energy technologies and also refers to the critical importance of research and development in this area. To this end, the leaders endorse the G20 Toolkit of Voluntary Options for Renewable Energy Deployment. The emphasis on cooperation for the development and diffusion of clean energy technologies in supporting energy access and efficiency reflects a more long-sighted outlook regarding the contribution of technology and innovation in achieving developmental and sustainability targets. It is equally important for the G20 to increase its attention on global cooperation mechanisms and regulatory frameworks to ensure global diffusion of new technologies to tackle global challenges not only of energy access and climate change but also of food security and health epidemics. It seeks to take the discussions on this to the year 2016 by asking its Energy Ministers to report back on energy collaboration in 2016.
In addition to facilitating the easy access to energy, the leaders also highlighted the importance of Food Security and Sustainable Food Systems. This underlines the commitment to improve global food security and nutrition and ensure the production, consumption and sale of food is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
With the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) commencing in Paris tomorrow and concluding on December 11th, the G20 underscored the importance of the below two degree goal as stated in the Lima Call for Action. The Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) declarations presented by individual countries this year have already proved inadequate. Yet, the leaders did not go beyond repeating their “determination to adopt a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the UNFCCC” which was repeated in previous years.
Although the G20 focuses on economic issues, each year its leaders address humanitarian crises at the Summit. And this year, it focused on the Syrian refugee crisis, due to its scale and the all encompassing political, socio-economic consequences. To this end, the leaders have pledged an improved fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, but details on its strategy remained vague. The United States stated that it would step up its efforts in this fight, but again, no specific details were provided. The leaders sought a coordinated and concerted effort to addressing this issue and called on “all states to contribute to responding to this crisis, and share in the burdens associated with it”. It also underscored the importance of proactive measures such as “refugee resettlement, other forms of humanitarian admission, humanitarian aid and efforts to ensure that refugees can access services, education and livelihood opportunities.” The communiqué also highlights the importance of addressing the root causes of displacement.
The attacks in Paris roughly two weeks ago led to the absence of French President François Hollande from the G20 summit on Sunday, November 15. This year’s G20 host is currently coping with 2 million refugees and is operating as the chief transit country to the EU for Syrian refugees. These factors and many others led to the G20 pledging to increase cooperation on combating ISIL, with measures such as tightening borders, increasing intelligence-sharing and cracking down on terrorist financing,
Lastly, the leaders’ communiqué incorporated an important statement on internet technologies for the first time in its communiqué. It called for cooperation on cyber security, especially against attacks on economies and businesses, bringing to the G20 agenda the need for global policy coordination to respond to the urgent requirement of accompanying regulatory frameworks relating to the Internet. It further seeks to “bridge the digital divide” which needs to focus on skills development and the continuous education of the public.
Overall, the twenty world’s most powerful economies sought to increase actual and potential growth of their economies, support job creation, strengthen resilience, promote development and enhance inclusiveness of all its policies. The next meeting will be held in Hangzhou in September 2016 under the Chinese Presidency and thereafter the 2017 summit will be held in Germany.