Getting G20 Leaders To Talk To Each Other May Be Harder Than Putting A Man On The Moon.

A security guard walks past a model of the G20 logo outside a park ahead of the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, on September 4, 2023 . Photo: Anushree Fadnavis.
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The G20 summit has started this week in Delhi, India. The G20 countries represent 85% of the world’s ecoomy and two-thirds of its population, so it should be pretty influential, right? But the truth is that with the world so divided over issues like the war in Ukraine, making economic agreements is not so easy, especially if your country needs grain grown in Ukraine to feed its people.

And when major world leaders like Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Xi of China don’t even show up to meet their fellow world leaders, things look even worse.

The G20 started in 1999 in the wake of the Asian financial crisis as a forum for finance ministers and central bank governors to discuss global financial and economic issues.

After the global financial crisis that started in 2007, it was upgraded to the level of heads of state and in 2009 it was designated the “premier forum for international economic cooperation”. At the time, the G20 nations agreed to spend $4 trillion to revive their economies and that of the world, cut back trade barriers and carry out reforms of their financial systems.

Since then, leaders of the G20 member countries convene each year to discuss economic and financial matters, and increasingly, broader global concerns.

In 2009, reports of a proposed Iranian nuclear plant took centre stage at the G20 summit. In 2016 Chinese President Xi Jinping and United States President Barack Obama formally announced accession to the Paris climate agreement at the group’s meeting in Hangzhou, China.

More recently, the G20 faced criticism for failing to offer a robust response to vaccine needs, including by suspending patents, though it did agree to suspend debt payments by some of the poorest countries in the world.

Analysts concur that the G20’s sheer heft – it makes up 60 percent of the world’s population and more than 80 percent of the global economic output – makes it a relevant platform.

But that can also be a drawback as with 19 member countries today – including competing superpowers like the US, China and Russia —  and the European Union, it is increasingly dealing with interests that are not always aligned.

India has recently put a spacecraft on the moon, but using diplomacy to get world leaders to talk to each other? That is much harder.

Source: Al Jazeera.


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