What To Look For At This Year’s G20 Summit

What is the G20?

The G20 or Group of Twenty, is a group of 19 individual countries plus the European Union, represented by the European Commission and the European Central Bank. The original meeting in 1999 included only finance ministers and central bank governors but has since been expanded to include heads of state, finance ministers, foreign ministers, and think tanks. This group meets annually to discuss financial and socio-economic issues facing the world.

The annual summit is hosted by a different member nation each year. This year’s summit will be hosted by Saudi Arabia. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the summit will take place virtually over two days on November 20 -21. An emergency meeting of the G20 leaders was held in March of this year to talk about the Covid-19 pandemic and to prepare for its impacts.

Why is it important?

Collectively, G20 members represent about 80% of the world’s economic output, two-thirds of the global population, and three-quarters of international trade. Topics typically include economic growth, international trade, and financial market regulation.

What is expected to come out of it this year?

As the world is facing both the health and fiscal consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic it is likely that much of this year’s conference will be focused on recovery. It is also expected that the summit will address the calls to action coming from the G20 engagement groups that have been taking place over the past few months. These engagement groups are focused on specific topics such as business and women. These calls to action include:

A call from the W20 and UN Women in July to recognize women as drivers of economic recovery and resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. Dr. Thoraya Obaid, Women 20 chair said, “While we work to recover from the damage caused by this global crisis, we have an opportunity to correct a historical fault regarding women and their role in the society. G20 leaders must grasp this opportunity to enable women’s potential fully and equally with men – this is critical to economic recovery now and for future crisis-cushioning.”

Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaking during the B20 or Business Summit called on countries and businesses to fund the vaccine, he said “We have to come together to collectively finance a globally accessible vaccine, cure and set of treatments because Covid-19 will not be fully eradicated in any country until it is finally eradicated in every country.”

How to Be Involved

While the actual sessions of the G20 will not be publicly available, press releases, speeches, and other materials will be available for download after the summit here.