The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for international economic cooperation and decision-making. The G20 accounts for 85 per cent of the world economy, 76 per cent of global trade, and two-thirds of the world's population, including more than half of the world's poor. The G20 represents all geographic regions of the world, but remains small enough to be an effective decision-making body. The members of the G20 are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union.
G20 leaders meet annually and their last meeting took place in Brisbane, Australia on 15-16 November 2014. Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors also meet regularly to discuss ways to strengthen the global economy, reform international financial institutions and improve financial regulation and implement the key economic reforms that are needed. Senior officials and working groups coordinating policy on specific issues also meet regularly. The G20 is also supported by international organisations, including the Financial Stability Board, the International Labour Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.
Australia held the G20 Presidency in 2014. Australia’s G20 host year came to an end on 1 December 2014, following the Brisbane G20 Leaders’ Summit. At the Summit, leaders agreed to substantial actions to lift global growth and job opportunities and to make the global economy more resilient. These actions are outlined in the Brisbane Leaders’ Summit Communique.
Australia handed the G20 Presidency to Turkey as 2015 host on 1 December 2014. Australia remains in the G20 troika of immediate past, present and future hosts, alongside Turkey and China (2016 host) until 1 December 2015.
In 2015, Turkey will focus the G20’s efforts on ensuring inclusive and robust growth through collective action. This focus has been formulated as the ‘three I’s’ of the Turkish Presidency: Inclusiveness, Implementation, and Investment for Growth. Information on Turkey’s host year can be found at the G20’s official website G20.org (managed by Turkey in 2015). Turkey’s priorities are outlined here.
Australia’s Presidency (2014)
Brisbane hosted the G20 Leaders’ Summit on 15-16 November 2014. Hosting the G20 gave Australia a valuable opportunity to bring together leaders, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, Trade Ministers and Employment and Labour Ministers from major developing and advanced economies to address critical economic and financial challenges facing the world. Under Australia’s leadership the G20 delivered a significant agenda with global growth and jobs at its centre. Read more about Australia’s host year in the G20 Leaders’ Communique Brisbane Summit, 15-16 November 2014 or onAustralia’s G20 host year website (archived).
In 2014, the G20 set itself an ambitious goal to lift the G20’s GDP by at least an additional two percent by 2018. Actions the G20 has committed to take are set out in the Brisbane Action Plan and inmember countries’ comprehensive growth strategies. These growth strategies contain measures to lift investment, increase trade and competition, and boost employment, and along with macroeconomic policies, will support development and inclusive growth and help to reduce inequality and poverty. Analysis by the IMF-OECD indicates that these commitments, if fully implemented, will deliver an additional 2.1 percent by 2018, or more than US$2 trillion to the global economy and create millions of jobs. The G20 has also committed to monitor and hold each other to account for implementing the commitments. See also G20 Employment Plans.
Other outcomes from the Brisbane Leaders’ Summit include:
- A Global Infrastructure Initiative. A multi-year work program to lift quality public and private infrastructure investment, driven by a Global Infrastructure Hub to be established in Sydney. Leaders also endorsed complementary initiatives by other bodies to ensure developing countries can share in increased investment in infrastructure. Read the G20 Note on the Global Infrastructure Initiative and Hub.
- Agreement to reduce the gap between female and male labour force participation rates in G20 countries by 25 per cent by 2025, taking into account national circumstances. This could bring over 100 million more women into jobs globally, significantly increase global growth and reduce poverty and inequality.
- Agreement to discuss ways to make the global trading system work better when leaders meet in 2015
- Endorsement of a new G20 Anti-Corruption Action plan, and a commitment to implement G20 Principles on Beneficial Ownership.
- Endorsement of a set of principles on G20 collaboration on energy issues and agreement to an Energy Efficiency Action Plan to strengthen global energy markets, make international energy institutions more inclusive and improve energy access.
Building a stronger, more resilient global economy was a key theme of Australia’s host year. In Brisbane, leaders recognised that key aspects of the core commitments made in response to the financial crisis had been delivered, but critical work remained to to build a stronger and more resilient financial system. The G20 stated its commitment to finalise the remaining elements and fully implement the agreed financial regulatory reforms, while remaining alert to new risks. The G20 is also taking action to ensure the fairness of the international tax system and to secure countries’ revenue bases. In Brisbane, leaders welcomed the significant progress on the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan to modernise tax rules. In addition, to prevent cross-border tax evasion, the G20 also committed to implement the global Common Reporting Standard for the automatic exchange of tax information (AEOI) on a reciprocal basis by 2017 or end-2018. Leaders also welcomed the deeper engagement of developing countries in the BEPS project to address their concerns and help build their tax administration capacity and implement AEOI. Leaders also noted their deep concern about the humanitarian and economic impact of Ebola and issued a stand-alone statement of the G20’s commitment to fight the current Ebola outbreak and support the urgent coordinated international response.
Details of the outcomes of previous G20 summits can be found here.
Agency Responsibilities (2014 host year)
Each G20 host country establishes a temporary secretariat or taskforce for the duration of its term to coordinate the group's work and manage its meetings. The G20 Taskforce in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet oversaw the overall whole of government policy, security and operational arrangements for the G20 in 2014, including the sherpas meetings and the Brisbane Leaders’ Summit. The Treasury led policy development and logistics for the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meetings (also known as the G20 finance track) and related preparatory meetings. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade steered engagement and policy of Australia's development and trade agenda with the Development Working Group meetings and the G20 Trade Ministers meeting. International engagement activities under Australia's G20 host year were also supported by Australia’s diplomatic network and the appointment of a G20 Special Representative located in the Department. The Department of Employment drove dialogue and information sharing on employment issues and strategies for boosting workforce participation through the G20 Task Force on Employment meetings followed by the Labour and Employment Ministers meeting.
G20 members represent around three-quarters of global trade, making the G20 well-placed to discuss ways to improve the growth of global trade. At the Brisbane Summit, leaders initiated an ongoing conversation on the future of the global trading system, taking into account the importance of trade to economic growth and changing patterns of world trade. Throughout the year the G20 focused on how trade contributes to economic growth and on ways to boost global trade. DFAT supported Australia’s Trade and Investment Minister, Mr Robb, in hosting trade ministers from each of the G20 member countries and invited guests, alongside representatives of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), World Bank Group and World Trade Organization (WTO), for a G20 Trade Ministers’ Meeting in Sydney on 19 July 2014. For more information about the meeting see the Chairman’s Summary. Australia welcomes Turkey’s decision to hold a G20 Trade Ministers’ meeting in 2015. More information on Turkey’s host year can be found at G20.org. See also Australia's trade and investment with the G20.
In 2014, G20 members focused on the contribution trade makes to economic growth and ways to boost global trade. Read Minister Robb’s Opening Remarks delivered at the 19 July Trade Ministers’ Meeting.
Strengthening development is central to the G20's objective of achieving strong, sustainable and balanced growth and ensuring a more robust and resilient global economy. DFAT led the policy agenda and management of the G20 Development Working Group meetings in 2014. In 2014, the G20 contributed to development by:
- encouraging the right conditions to attract private sector investment in order to increase financing for infrastructure investment
- ensuring that developing countries can reap the benefits of the G20's efforts to improve the international tax system, including in combatting base erosion and profit shifting and increasing the information shared between tax authorities
- assisting developing countries to expand the use of formal financial services through the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (see below) and taking action to reduce the cost of transferring remittances into developing economies
- setting long term priority objectives so that the G20 can make a real impact on the underlying causes of food insecurity and malnutrition, and
- strengthening the G20's contribution to human resource development in developing countries.
In 2014, the G20 also looked at the post-2015 development agenda and considered how the G20 can best support the UN-led process to define a new development framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals. G20 Leaders endorsed the 2014 Brisbane Development Update at the Brisbane G20 Leaders’ Summit on 15-16 November, 2014. In 2015, Turkey will place development at the center of its G20 agenda. More on Turkey’s host year can be found at G20.org.
Highlight: Australia and the G20 – Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion
The Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) is the main implementing mechanism of the G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan, which was endorsed by G20 leaders at the 2010 G20 Summit in Seoul and was updated under Australia’s presidency in 2014. The other major deliverable in 2014 was a Plan to Facilitate Remittance Flows which will guide work to strengthen the evidence base informing new policy action in recognition of the importance of remittances for developing and emerging economies. The G20 recognises that access to finance for individuals and enterprises is one of the main pillars of the global development agenda of achieving strong, sustainable and balanced growth. The GPFI functions as an inclusive platform for G20 countries, non-G20 countries and relevant stakeholders for peer learning, knowledge sharing, policy advocacy and coordination. Spearheading the implementation of this work are the three key Implementing Partners: the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The World Bank joined the GPFI as an Implementing Partner in 2012, followed by the OECD in 2013, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development and Better Than Cash Alliance in May 2014.
Australia considered outreach to be a central element of our responsibilities as host in 2014. The Australian Government appointed a G20 Special Representative (located in DFAT) to support Australia's G20 sherpa and visit G20 and non-G20 countries to meet officials, international and regional organizations, other stakeholders and the media to discuss the G20 and its agenda. Australia’s missions around the world also made a significant contribution to G20 outreach throughout the year. They partnered with think-tanks and held their own events and activities to highlight Australia's G20 priorities and deepen understanding of the importance, purpose and objectives of the G20. Australia also worked closely with Turkey in 2014 and will continue as a member of the Troika, in 2015. More on Turkey’s host year can be found at G20.org.
G20 outreach was a high priority for Australia in 2014.