The Group of 20 (G20) should refocus on improving global economic governance and tackling development issues to boost confidence in the world’s economic recovery, said experts, as the G20 summit kicks off in New Delhi on Saturday.
The experts said that leaders of the world’s major economies are expected to find ways to work together and build consensus on the pressing economic challenges facing the world today.
A significant challenge for today’s world is the lack of multilateralism in global governance, said B. R. Deepak, chairperson of the Center of Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies at the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University.
“Some countries, especially in the West, are adhering to the policies of protectionism, nativism, exclusivism and perhaps not believing in the kind of multilateralism which the developing countries believe in,” he said.
He said that multilateralism is one of the key agendas of the G20, hoping the group would send a clear message to the world about the need for stronger multilateralism.
Created in 1999, the G20 is a leading forum for international cooperation on financial and economic issues. It comprises 19 countries plus the European Union, representing around 85 percent of global GDP, over 75 percent of global trade and about two-thirds of the world population.
In 2008, against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, the meetings of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors were raised to the level of heads of state and government for better crisis coordination. Altogether, 17 summits have been held.
This year’s summit, themed “One Earth, One Family, One Future,” focuses on inclusive growth, digital innovation, climate resilience and equitable global health access.
Progress is needed on specific issues at the G20 summit in India, said Hasanul Haq Inu, chairman of Bangladesh’s Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Although G20 members have differences, some common issues provide a possibility for unified decisions for progress, Inu said, stressing the need for a common approach to economic, social and environmental issues.
The lawmaker said political issues should not affect decisions on economic issues, noting that trade restrictions in many countries hinder the smooth functioning of supply chains.
ECONOMY, DEVELOPMENT MUST REMAIN FOCUS
Multiple challenges continue to weigh on global growth, including persistent inflation, financial volatility, deepening geo-economic fragmentation, and increased debt stress in emerging economies and developing countries.
Global growth is projected to fall from an estimated 3.5 percent in 2022 to 3.0 percent in 2023 and 2024, according to the World Economic Outlook Update published by the International Monetary Fund in July.
As an international forum representing the world’s major developed and emerging economies, the G20 needs to reinvigorate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and promote North-South cooperation to achieve the agenda’s goals, said Inu.
In Deepak’s view, the current economic development issues in the Global South must be addressed with effective financing and technology solutions.
“We will perhaps see more collaboration, more rolling out of policies and funding, including technology transfer from the Global North to these countries,” he said.
G20 members have a significant role to play in global governance, said Allan Behm, director of the International and Security Affairs Program at The Australia Institute.
“They are countries that can contribute enormously to human progress, especially in health and education. As their economies expand, the global economy expands at the same time,” said Behm.
CHINA’S ACTIVE ROLE
As the world’s second-largest economy and the largest developing country, China supports the G20’s leading role in addressing global challenges and improving global economic governance, calling for increased representation for developing countries in international affairs.
The voice of the Global South remains weak in international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, according to Inu.
“China can address these issues within the G20 and be a champion of Global South’s interests,” said Inu, who also appreciates China’s support for the African Union’s inclusion in the G20.
Teuku Rezasyah, associate professor of International Relations at Padjadjaran University, Indonesia, expects China to promote programs to fill the gaps in current Global South cooperation by utilizing its advantages in infrastructure, research and development, traditional medicine, renewable energy and sustainable growth.
China has taken active measures in addressing a range of global issues, Inu said, adding that he believes China “can play a very positive role” at this year’s G20 summit.