A Rendezvous with Destiny?
The Group of 20 held their 2018 meeting in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, on November 29 to December 1, 2018. In most of their meetings, the heads of state have discussed economic issues. This time around, however, politics dominated the deliberations. Although the trade spat involving the United States and China was on the minds of the leaders attending the meeting, nothing of substance was achieved. A number of political issues came up for discussions mostly in the bilateral conversations among the leaders. The news that President Donald Trump cancelled his planned meeting with Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart, dominated the event.
The G-20 summit this year voiced a risk warning. “G-20: Darkening global economy outlook points to bumpy 2019 ride” highlighted the Financial Times magazine in its special report on G-20 published on Nov. 29. Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the IMF, informed the G-20 world leaders that the 2017 rapid growth will not return soon. She said that, globally, “risks are beginning to materialize.” For his part, UN chief Antonio Guterres said, “This is a make-it-or-break-it moment.”
The G-20 summit, established as a risk management platform in 2008 in Washington, DC in response to the global financial crisis, marked its 10th anniversary in 2018. Its core mission is promoting dialogue while preserving diversity in the process of developing global policies that tackle major issues; it is an occasion to shape positive trade agenda and reduce trade strains.
In a phase of consensus-scarcity in the political surroundings, with major setbacks facing globalization and multilateralism, fairness and sustainability were the highlights of the G-20 2018. The summit selected “Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development” as its theme reviewing consensus, a core value carried by the summit over the last decade, looking back through history to see what has been achieved and laying the foundations of consensus for the following years. This 10th anniversary was envisioned as the perfect time for reflecting upon all the shared values, accomplishments and effectiveness of the global forum and is a learning process on how to cooperate systematically. Mauricio Macri, president of Argentina, the host country of the summit, in a message of unity and shared responsibility in his remarks conveyed that the solution is “dialogue, dialogue and dialogue.”
Since its inception, the scope of the G-20 agenda has stretched to bring in a wider array of topics and challenges, including sustainable development, agriculture, trade, energy, climate change, gender equality and migration.
In the 2018 summit, several of these challenges were discussed stressing emerging priorities related to: the future of work, sustainable food future, gender mainstreaming, taxation and the infrastructure for development. This was in addition to supporting the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and delivering a people-centred plan and a vision to the future advocating for free and fair access to justice.
Read More: FROM SUMMITS TO STRATEGIC TENSIONS
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