G20 : Explained

GS2 - IR 

About - The G20 is the preeminent forum for international economic cooperation and is crucial in establishing and enhancing global governance and the architecture of the world.

  • There is no permanent secretariat or staff for the G20. Instead, the G20 Presidency is chosen from among the members on an annual basis and from a new regional bloc of nations. 
  • Every year, a different Presidency is in charge as the G20 Summit is held.
  • The G20 Presidency hosts the Summit and sets the G20 agenda for a year. 


The G20 was initially created in 1999 for Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to address global financial stability after the Asian Financial Crisis. It later evolved to include Heads of State or Government due to the 2007 and 2009 global economic crises. Today, the G20 is a key platform for global economic cooperation, covering topics like trade, climate change, sustainable development, and more, with annual summits and rotating presidencies. Initially, it focused on macroeconomic issues.


  • A total of 19 nations—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—The Group of Twenty (G20) is including the European Union.

  • African Union, a group of 55 member states, is the latest member admitted to G20.
    • The G20 members account for nearly two-thirds of the world's population, over 75% of global trade, and 85% of the world's GDP.
    • The five groupings, each with a maximum of four countries, are made up of the 19 member countries. 
    • Countries from the same region are typically placed in the same category because the majority of the groupings are constructed on a regional basis. 
      • Group 1 (Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and the United States) 
  • Group 2 (India, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey) 
    • Group 3 (Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico
    • Group 4 (France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom)
    • Group 5 (China, Indonesia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea)
    • The 20th member, the EU, is not a part of any of these regional organizations.

Role of the G20 Presidency

  • The G20 Presidency is responsible for crafting the G20 agenda, in consultation with other member nations and in response to global economic changes.
  • A "troika" consisting of the current, recent past, and upcoming host nations ensures agenda continuity.
  • The G20 Presidency rotates annually among member nations, with each nation having an equal opportunity to assume the Presidency when its turn comes.
  • The current G20 Presidency is held by Group 2 members, with India as the host nation, from December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023.

Structure of G20

The Finance Track and the Sherpa Track—a metaphor from the world of mountaineering—are two parallel tracks that make up the G20. 

       1. Sherpa Track

Sherpa, the Leader's representative, is in charge of it. In other words, a sherpa is a diplomat, civil servant, or minister who is responsible for the preparations of a major conference or summit.
Socioeconomic concerns, including those related to agriculture, anti-corruption, the climate, the digital economy, education, employment, energy, the environment, human health, tourism, trade, and investment, are the focus of this article. 
Working Groups for this track consist of:

  • Agriculture Working Group
  • Anti-corruption Working Group
  • Culture Working Group
  • Development Working Group
  • Digital Economy Working Group
  • Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group
  • Education Working Group
  • Employment Working Group
  • Energy Transitions Working Group
  • Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group
  • Health Working Group

  • Tourism Working Group

  • Trade and Investment Working Group

    2. Finance Track
    Its leaders, the Finance Ministers, and Central Bank Governors, convene four times a year on average, with two of those meetings taking place concurrently with WB/IMF meetings.
    The global economy, infrastructure, financial regulation, financial inclusion, international financial architecture, and international taxation are among the fiscal and monetary policy topics that will be emphasized.
    This track's working groups and work streams consist of:

  • Framework Working Group
  • International Financial Architecture Working Group
  • Infrastructure Working Group
  • Sustainable Finance Working Group
  • Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion
  • Joint Finance and Health Task Force
  • International taxation Issues
  • Financial Sector Issues


  • Research and Innovation Initiative Gathering (RIIG)
    Along with the Sherpa Track Working Groups, the Research and Innovation Initiative Gathering (RIIG) strives to improve, intensify, and reinforce cooperation in research and innovation among the G20 member nations. By bringing together specialists from the G20 member nations in the fields of science, technology, and innovation, RIIG is advancing the work of the Academic Forum conducted during the Italian Presidency in 2021.

    During the G20 Osaka Summit in 2019, the G20 EMPOWER (G20 Alliance for the Empowerment and Progression of Women's Economic Representation) was established. By utilizing its special coalition of business executives and governments from the G20 nations, it seeks to hasten women's advancement in leadership and empowerment in the private sector.

  • Space Economy Leaders Meeting (SELM)
    The fourth SELM has been organized by the Indian Space Research Organization/Department of Space (ISRO/DOS) as part of India's G20 Presidency to continue discussions on the role of space in influencing the global economy. The Saudi Space Commission (2020), Italian Space Agency (2021), and National Research & Innovation Agency, Indonesia (2022) organized the SELM's earlier iterations. The subject of this year's SELM is "Towards a New Space ERA (Economy, Responsibility, Alliance)" in recognition of the significance of New Space in determining the nature of the global economy.

  • G20 Chief Advisors Scientific Roundtable (CSAR)
    The G20-CSAR is a fresh project that was started during India's current G20 Presidency. The G20-CSAR will bring together the Chief Scientific Advisors of the G20 Heads of State and Government with the aim of developing an effective institutional arrangement/platform to discuss international Science and Technology (S&T) policy issues, which can subsequently develop into an effective and coherent international science advice mechanism. In addition, the G20-CASR seeks to address some of the problems that the global S&T ecosystem is currently experiencing. The "One Health" initiative, fostering a shared scientific infrastructure for the benefit of everyone, collaboration in developing and cutting-edge technologies, and evolving standards are the top priorities of CSAR during India's G20 Presidency.

Engagement Groups of G20

Through the engagement groups, which are made up of non-government participants from each G20 member, communication is fostered as part of the G20 countries' commitment to consult relevant stakeholder communities. These organizations frequently produce suggestions for the G20 Leaders that aid in the formulation of policy. 
The following are the engagement groups:

  • Business 20 
  • Civil20
  • Labour 20
  • Science 20
  • Parliament 20
  • SAI20
  • Startup20
  • Think20
  • Urban20
  • Women20
  • Youth20

G20 Summits

1. Washington DC, London, Pittsburgh- 2008 & 2009

  • The first G20 Summit in 2008 marked a significant reform of global finance in over 60 years. 
  • Following the 2008 financial crisis, the G20 blacklisted states for tax evasion and avoidance efforts. They imposed stricter controls on hedge funds and rating agencies, expanded the Financial Stability Forum, and averted a shift to protectionism. The G20 also agreed to refrain from imposing new trade and investment barriers for 12 months. 
  • In 2009, stricter regulations for the banking sector were established.

2. Toronto, Seoul, Cannes- 2010 & 2011

  • In 2010, the G20 adopted directives to reduce sovereign debt and pledged budget deficit reductions. In Seoul, they adopted stricter bank regulations and agreed on reforms in the IMF. 
  • The Seoul Consensus included development policy issues, making development a standard agenda item. 
  • In Cannes, the G20 reformed the international monetary system and established the Agricultural Market Information System for food market transparency.

3. Los Cabos, St. Petersburg, Brisbane - 2012, 2013 &2014

  • In 2012, the Los Cabos Summit focused on youth unemployment, creating quality jobs, and promoting development, agriculture, and green growth. 
  • In 2013, the G20 agreed on automatic tax information exchange and the Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). 
  • In 2014, the Brisbane Summit set ambitious goals, including increasing collective GDP by two percent and reducing the gender gap in the labor workforce by 25% by 2025.

4. Antalya and Hangzhou – 2015 & 2016

  • In 2015, the G20 addressed migration, refugee movement, financial sector reforms, and climate agreement. They issued a statement on terrorism. 
  • In 2016, they focused on long-term inclusive global economy growth, sustainable growth, and social welfare. The digital economy became part of the agenda. The G20 Action Plan on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development guides their work.

5. Hamburg - 2017

  • The G20, under the German Presidency, focused on 'Shaping an interconnected world' and terrorism, holding a Leaders' Retreat on 'Fighting Terrorism'. 
  • The Hamburg Declaration endorsed the Paris Agreement's irreversibility and emphasized energy security. Leaders committed to aligning policies with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

6. Buenos Aires -2018

  • Argentina's G20 theme focuses on 'Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development', prioritizing the future of work, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, health, youth, infrastructure, and sustainable food security. It builds on past presidential legacy on issues like empowering women, fighting corruption, and climate action.

7. Osaka - 2019

  • The 2019 G20 Summit in Japan addressed trade, investment, steel capacity, digitalization, data flow, anti-corruption, climate change, energy, environment, and displacement, with leaders addressing internet exploitation for terrorism.

8. Saudi Arabia - 2020

  • The 15th G20 Summit, held under the theme "Realising Opportunities of the 21st Century for All," was the first virtual Summit in G20 history. 
  • The Saudi Presidency convened an Extraordinary Virtual G20 Leaders' Summit on 25 March 2020 to discuss the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and forge a coordinated global response. 
  • The leaders released a statement on COVID-19 expressing commitment to fight the pandemic, safeguard the global economy, address international trade disruptions, and enhance global cooperation to counter the pandemic's impact. 
  • The G20 committed to injecting over USD 5 trillion into the global economy to counter the social and economic impact of the pandemic. 
  • Under the Saudi Presidency, the leaders endorsed the Debt Service Suspension Initiative and the Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI to provide liquidity relief to debt-ridden countries. The DSSI has provided relief of over USD 5 billion to more than 45 countries and has been extended till the end of 2021. 
  • The 16th G20 Summit focused on recovery and key highlights summits, such as development security, empowerment, climate change, research on health, and nutrition. The G20 Progress theme chose four focuses: economic security, women's empowerment, and the fight against climate change.

9. Italy - 2021

  • The 16th G20 Italy summit focused on recovery and key highlights, including development security, empowerment, and the Rome Declaration. The summit called for the detection and declaration of hunger by the G20 Agreement, tax reform of 15%, and support for the Taliban to resolve the crisis. 
  • The summit included a joint declaration for support in response to food security, a meeting in Afghanistan, and a private sector presentation. 
  • The G20 Council adopted a motion to strengthen recovery, global health security, and information technology. The Italian Prime Minister's first-ever G20 of the Ministers, Finance Ministers at the Atatürk Conference continued to discuss emerging issues, such as the agriculture sector and tax challenges faced by multinational leaders during human migration. 
  • The G20 also addressed issues of food security, with the Global Health Forum focusing on women's health, global health, and food men's 2021 D-19 event. The summit also focused on the role of the G20 in addressing global health and food security issues.

10. Bali - 2022

  • The 17th annual G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, marking the first meeting since Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The summit focused on condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine, economic slowdown, and rising food and energy prices. 
  • The final communiqué included economic measures and political commitments for global health architecture, sustainable energy transition, and digital transformation. The summit also highlighted the growing role of emerging countries from the Global South in overcoming geopolitical differences.

11. India - 2023

  • The 18th G20 summit was held at 'Bharat Mandapam' in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.
  • The G20 nations have agreed on the inability of governments to take territory by force and emphasized the suffering of the Ukrainian people. The African Union was declared a permanent member and plans for a Spice Route are being presented to normalize relations between Israel and Gulf Arab states.
  • G20 leaders aim to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030, and phase out coal, but lack climate commitments. India, Brazil, and the US join the Global Biofuels Alliance for biofuel production.

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