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G-20 Countries: 85% Global GDP, 75% World Trade
Jun 29, 2015

The second meeting of the G-20 Employment Working Group (EWG) was recently held in İstanbul, Turkey. After that Agriculture Ministers of G-20 countries met to discuss the challenge of global food security and nutrition for an expected world population of nine billion by 2050. Turkish Ministry of Finance also hosted G20 International Tax Symposium.

The G20 is a forum where policy-makers of industrialized and developing economies meet to discuss key issues in the global economy. The G20 countries account for 85% of global GDP, 75% of world trade and about two-thirds of the world's population. 

Reasons for Formation

The Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s raised fears of a global economic meltdown and it was realised that there was an absence of a platform where the G-7 industrialized countries could meet emerging economies. The key emerging economies represented in G-20 are also the largest markets for the industrialized countries. Started in 1999 as a meeting forum for finance ministers and central bank governors of the member economies, the G-20 summit since 2008 is a platform where political leaders of the member countries also meet to discuss the global economic situation. G-20 leaders have met nine times since 2008.

Who constitutes the G-20?

Although the group has 19 of the world's largest economies as its members, it insists there are no formal criteria for membership. Apart from the G-7 industrialized nations, the G-20 also includes emerging economies like India, China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, South Korea, Argentina, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Australia. The 20th member is the European Union, which is represented by whichever country holds the EU presidency. The IMF and the World Bank also attend G-20 meetings.

How is the G-20 different from other multilateral bodies?

Unlike the European Union, United Nations and so on, the G-20 is an informal political forum. Its presidency rotates annually to represent a regional balance over time. It doesn't have any permanent secretariat and the G-20 president is responsible for bringing together the agenda and organising summits and several meetings. To ensure continuity, the presidency is formed as a troika—constituting the immediate past, present and next host countries. In 2015, the members of the G-20 troika are Australia (2014 president), Turkey (2015 President) and China (2016 President). To make the forum more representative, non-member countries are invited as guests. The invitees for 2015 are Spain, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Azerbaijan and Singapore. 

What is the G-20 Sherpas meeting?

The Sherpa is the personal representative of the head of state/government of a member state. The name is derived from the Nepalese Sherpa people who serve as mountaineering guides and porters in the Himalayas. Before a G-20 leaders' summit, like the one that is scheduled to happen in November this year, many rounds of Sherpa meetings take place. Sherpas, who are most often politicians, discuss the year's main agenda to reduce negotiation time in the summit. Suresh Prabhu is the Sherpa representing India. The meeting held on June 16-17 was the third round of Sherpa meetings in the Turkish presidency. It will be followed by the fourth round of finance and central bank deputies meeting scheduled to take place on June 15-16.

What is the agenda for this year?

According to the G-20's statement on Turkish presidency's priority for 2015, the main agenda for this year's discussions are strengthening of global recovery, enhancing resilience and buttressing sustainability. This year's discussions and meetings are focused on increasing the recovery rate of the global economy, making the international financial architecture more efficient and addressing the global energy and climate change situation. 

The main agenda for this year's G-20 discussions are strengthening of global recovery, enhancing resilience and buttressing sustainability.


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