Inclusiveness, implementation and investment– these three Is will form the top priorities for the Group of twenty (G-20) summit to be hosted and chaired by Turkey in November in the shadow of a global economic slowdown.
A broad agenda for the G-20 heads of states was formulated in a series of pre-summit brainstorms between the overseas Sherpas (senior ministers) and official engagement groups of policy wonks, women, youth, business and civil society at Bodrum island last week.
“In 2015, the Turkish G-20 presidency will focus its efforts on ensuring an inclusive and robust growth through collective action,” Turkey’s G-20 Sherpa ambassador Ayse Sinirlioglu told a group of international journalists, while sharing specifics of an ambitious roadmap that will address a worrying trend of sluggish global trade which has led to downsizing of the GDP growth targets for most major economies.
To this end, Turkey will push for an inclusive growth both within and among G-20 nations, a closely-monitored implementation of the summit mandate and investments infrastructure.
G-20 is a premier forum for global economic and financial cooperation that brings together the world’s advanced and emerging economies representing around 85 per cent of the global GDP. India is one of its members.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, G-20 has broadened its multi-lateral ambit from an overarching aim of a balanced, sustained and strong growth to diverse issues such as climate change, energy, unemployment and women empowerment.
This time, Turkey has put ‘inclusive growth’ as the new element on the G-20 table. “That’s because we are seeing a rising inequality in both developed and developing countries” she said, adding “ while inequality is a significant issue from moral, social and political standpoints, a body of scientific evidence proves that rising inequality is having a very negative implications on the long-term growth rates.” To address the issue, a sub-group will suggest “actionable policy recommendations” for G-20 nations to adopt.
According a high priority to its implementation, the Turkish presidency has pushed for a robust monitoring system on collective commitments of G-20 nations. Last year’s Brisbane G-20 summit, for instance, had committed itself, among many other goals, to raise the collective GDP by 2.1 per cent by 2018 – a target it’s yet to deliver on. “In a way, we are holding ourselves accountable. As the global GDP stands down-sized, it’s important now for G-20 to turn words in action and deliver on its objectives,” said Sinirlioglu. “Otherwise, there is risk of losing the credibility”.
The call for action on accountability assumes significance in the wake of criticism – as voiced by country delegates of Think-20 group – that G-20 has become more like a talking shop and is paying only lip service to critical issues like climate change. “We have global issues but no global governance,” said Tim Bernes of Canada.
Few, however, are convinced about the monitoring mechanism for G-20 given that it’s an informal platform of nations. India, for one, has expressed its skepticism over having an outside oversight for G-20 mandated domestic growth strategies.
(The writer was in Istanbul on invitation from the Turkish government)