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End of Germany's G20 Presidency

The G20 in Germany – time to take stock

The motto of Germany's G20 Presidency, which ends on 30 November, is "Shaping an interconnected world". The highlight of the Presidency was the G20 Summit in Hamburg on 7 and 8 July. What will its legacy be? And which working processes will be taken forward under Argentina's Presidency?

The session focused on the G20's partnership with Africa, migration and health At the Summit in Hamburg the G20 states managed to agree on joint measures in many policy fields Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

The motto of Germany's G20 Presidency – "Shaping an interconnected world" – was a conscious choice on Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel's part. "We can achieve more if we act together than we could alone. That was the spirit in which we tackled the various topics and on which we achieved results," she said at the end of the G20 Summit in Hamburg.

Germany will be handing over the rotating G20 Presidency to Argentina on 1 December 2017. After that the Presidency will be passed on to Japan in 2018/19 and to Saudi Arabia in 2019/20.

Clear commitment to cooperate

Germany's G20 Presidency put the spotlight on multilateral cooperation. This clear commitment to multilateralism underpinned the work on all topics addressed during the Presidency and was a common thread in the Leaders' Declaration adopted by the G20 heads of state and government.

The three main focuses of Germany's G20 Presidency were: ensuring stability, improving viability for the future, accepting responsibility. Successes were not only achieved in regard to international economic cooperation, such as the agreement to reduce steel excess capacity, as tangible progress was also made on health policy, empowering women and the G20 Africa Partnership.

The G20 – More than just a summit
A brief glance at Germany's G20 Presidency diary shows how work-intensive this year's G20 process was. There were several specialist ministerial meetings and specialised conferences which ministers took part in. For the first time this year the G20 health ministers had their own specialist meeting. The G20 Africa Partnership organised an international conference which was attended by numerous heads of state and government. Working groups also met to address topics such as "development", "digitalisation" and "fighting corruption". The sherpas (the personal representatives of the heads of state and government) met five times in total.

Wide-ranging dialogue with civil society

The dialogue with civil society was one of the cornerstones of Germany's G20 Presidency. A total of seven forums were held on women, trade unions, youth, non-governmental organisations, think tanks, business and science. The aim of this civil society dialogue was to discuss new ideas and recommendations put forward by the involved actors which would then also be taken up in the negotiations.

Some of the most important outcomes of the G20 Summit in Hamburg are summarised in the following.

International trade: open and rules-based

Under Germany's Presidency the G20 underlined the need for a rules-based international trading system without protectionist policies and for open markets with a stronger WTO system. "Markets must be kept open," Chancellor Merkel stressed. The G20 agreed to strive to reduce excess capacity in the steel industry. All the G20 partners undertook to cooperate further on a multilateral level within the Global Forum.

Occupational health and safety in poorer producer countries will be improved thanks to a fund to which the Federal Government will be providing financing. The G20 want to use the fund to achieve more sustainable global supply chains.

Climate: The Paris Agreement is alive

All the G20 countries – with the exception of the United States – declared that the Paris Climate Agreement is irreversible and pledged to implement it as swiftly as possible. To that end they adopted a Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth which contains important operationalisation measures. The G20 also committed to more growth through climate action.

The German G20 Presidency focused more on environmental issues than previous presidencies had done. For instance, the G20 agreed to step up cooperation on resource efficiency and combating marine litter and poaching.

Sustainable development: Implementing the 2030 Agenda

The G20 are united in their resolve to back sustainable development and implement the ambitious 2030 Agenda. They adopted the Hamburg Update, which summarises the G20's commitments on implementing the 2030 Agenda. A voluntary peer learning process was also launched. It serves to promote information sharing between the G20 member countries on what progress they have each made on implementing the 2030 Agenda at home.

Digitalisation: Internet for all

The G20 are also agreed that the digital transformation of our societies is a major growth factor for the future. One of the global challenges we face is to involve everyone in this process. That is why the G20 want every person to have internet access by 2025. International standards and norms are to ensure smooth communication processes between the various systems in use. Argentina will continue to advance work on achieving the goals set out in the roadmap unveiled at the Digital Economy Ministers Conference in Düsseldorf in which the G20 countries pledged to enable all people to participate in the digital world by 2025, if at all possible.

Health: Better equipped to deal with pandemics

Today's passenger travel and goods traffic mean that locally restricted epidemics can very quickly become global problems and jeopardise the overall stability of the global economy. The health ministers of the G20 countries held their first specialist meeting during which a simulation exercise was conducted on crisis preparedness and responses. The outcomes represent a milestone when it comes to strengthening global health, said Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe after the meeting. The G20 were "better equipped", the Chancellor added. A new global platform was also launched at the Summit in Hamburg. The objective is to promote research and development into new antibiotics and to coordinate that work at the global level.

Financial markets: No compromises on market regulation

The G20 also agreed not to compromise on international financial market regulation. In that context the G20 also supported work on Basel III, with the aim of quickly adopting new bank equity rules. They also reaffirmed the importance of international standards on tax transparency.

Women: More support for women entrepreneurs

Women's economic participation played a key role during Germany's G20 Presidency. A World Bank fund for women in developing countries which aims to promote start-ups was launched in Hamburg. Chancellor Merkel said this showed that "the G20 is not just a two-day summit, but a process". Angela Merkel also mentioned the #eSkills4Girls initiative which aims to promote opportunities and equal participation for women and girls in developing countries in the digital economy.

Africa: More cooperation

The motto of the Africa Partnership launched during Germany's G20 Presidency is "Accepting responsibility". Compacts with Africa long-term investment partnerships with individual African states aimed at recruiting private investors – form the core elment. The gap between the richest and poorest people in this world must be bridged, said Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. That is why the G20's Initiative for Rural Youth Employment, which was launched in the context of the G20 Partnership with Africa, represents such a key outcome.

Fighting terrorism: Sharing information more effectively

The G20 intend to cooperate more closely on fighting terrorism, both in terms of working within the framework of the United Nations and sharing information more effectively. The work of the Financial Action Task Force will be reinforced in order to cut off and drain further sources of financing used by terrorists. The G20 also aim to fight radicalisation on the internet. International terrorism knows no borders and "is a threat to us all", said Chancellor Merkel.

Agriculture: Saving water and natural resources

The G20 also adopted an Action Plan on the sustainable use of water and natural resources in agriculture. Given continuous global population growth, agriculture must adopt sustainable, productive and responsible practices. It has a key role to play when it comes to fighting hunger, one of the biggest causes of refugee movements.

Antimicrobial resistance poses a threat to livestock farming and plant production in particular. That is why the G20 agreed to stop the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in food-producing animals.

Displacement: Addressing the root causes

The G20 also agreed to support the UN's planned compacts for refugees and migration and to address the root causes of displacement and expulsion. At the Summit in Hamburg the G20 heads of state and government also adopted guidelines for fair and effective integration drawn up by the G20 labour ministers. They also commissioned an annual monitoring report on flight and migration.

Handing over the domain
Germany's G20 Presidency ends on 1 December when the Presidency will be passed on to Argentina. After that Germany's G20 Presidency website will no longer be updated. New articles on the G7 and G20 will be available at www.bundesregierung.de/G7G20.

Monday, 27 November 2017