Tangible progress made
"We can achieve more together than by acting alone," the G20 nations underscore in the Leaders’ Declaration issued at the close of the G20 leaders’ summit in Hamburg. During the conference, Chancellor Angela Merkel clearly voiced German and European interests, and, in her capacity as host, pushed for compromises. Where views diverged, there was to be no attempt to gloss over the dissent.
"We must be clear about the fact that in some G20 summit years it is progress and it should be seen as something positive if a summit manages to reaffirm an earlier position, and if it can defend multilateralism and prevent it being watered down," said government spokesperson Steffen Seibert after the summit. In other fields the summit did manage to make "tangible progress, on global health issues, on the G20 Africa Partnership, and on measures to empower women, especially in developing countries".
Speaking for the German government, Steffen Seibert summed up. "The G20 format has proved its worth, both in terms of what the states have agreed in writing and in terms of the many talks held on the margins of the summit, which keep offering approaches for new cooperation."
Ten achievements of the G20 summit
1. Affirmation of support for free trade and the WTO
Markets must remain open, and protectionism and unfair trade practices must be combatted. Participants are willing to have the conduct of all member states monitored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development). The G20 also made it plain that not all states have yet benefitted from the advantages offered by international trade. All states should benefit from the opportunities opened up by globalisation. For this reason the G20 intends to push through inclusive growth.
The G20 stated clearly that the rules-based international trading system, as represented by the World Trade Organization (WTO), plays a key role. Supplementary bilateral trade agreements can be entered into, but must be WTO-compliant. The G20 is to work for sustainable global supply chains. The G20 states are to work together to address the problem of excess capacities in industry, especially in the steel industry, in order to prevent unilateral measures. By November a substantial report is to be finalised that will offer concrete solutions.
2. Paris Agreement is irreversible
All G20 participants – with the exception of the USA – reasserted their intention to resolutely implement the Paris Agreement on climate change. To this end, they adopted the G20 Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth.
3. Partnership with Africa
The new G20 Africa Partnership aims to deepen cooperation between the G20 and Africa with a view to achieving sustainable economic development. The partnership will be based on the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
The German initiative to establish "Compacts with Africa" found a large measure of support within the G20. The measure aims to have G20 states enter into agreements with individual African states, in order to systematically improve the conditions they offer for investment, thus making them more attractive for private investors. This is to support traditional development assistance.
The G20 states are to support employment and education with the help of two initiatives: the G20 Rural Youth Employment initiative sets itself ambitious goals in improving employment opportunities and prospects for young people in rural areas. It aims to create one million jobs and five million trainee places in rural parts of Africa.
The "#eSkills4Girls" initiative is to help women and girls in Africa acquire digital skills, in order to enhance their chances of finding employment on the job market.
The African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) promotes access to energy for the entire continent. The initiative, developed and managed by African actors, aims to step up the use of renewables across the continent. By 2020 it aims to install an additional 10 gigawatt capacity to be generated by renewables.
4. Fighting terrorism together
The G20 nations intend to cooperate more closely within the framework of the United Nations. Participating states intend to share information more effectively in future, for instance, via Interpol. With a view to the financing of terrorism, the G20 is to reinforce the work of the Financial Action Task Force.
G20 participants have also agreed to improve dialogue on ways of more effectively cutting off the sources of financing used by terrorists. Terrorism and the internet was another topic that was discussed at length. The G20 expects providers of communication platforms to swiftly delete terrorist information posted online.
5. Forging ahead with digitalisation – G20 adopts roadmap
A large number of women and girls are still excluded from the use of digital technology. Worldwide about 250 million fewer women than men have access to the Internet. The G20 states intend to cooperate more closely on digitalisation, with a view to introducing all people to the digital world by 2025, if at all possible.
Under the German Presidency, the German government presented a 9-point plan to implement the "#eSkills4Girls" initiative, containing a study, various high-level events and a competition (Hackathon).
6. No compromise on international financial market regulation
The G20 intends to ensure the stability of the financial market, and has to this end adopted the Hamburg Action Plan. The Action Plan lays out the intention of the G20 to continue to work systematically in the field of shadow banking. Although the international financial architecture has been enhanced in the wake of the major financial crisis, what is needed is an international financial architecture that offers a level playing field. The BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) initiative is also crucially important in ensuring a globally fair tax system.
7. United in support for the multilateral 2030 Agenda
In 2017, the G20, under the German Presidency, translated into concrete terms its action plan to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and updated it in what is termed the Hamburg Update. The Hamburg Update gives an overview of what the G20 nations are doing together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in both industrialised countries and in developing nations.
The Hamburg Principles and Ambitions also adopted by the G20 aim to involve the private sector to a greater degree in order to reinforce infrastructure development in developing nations and emerging economies. In it, multilateral development banks commit to mobilising 25-35 per cent more private-sector funding over the next three years.
8. Fighting pandemics and antimicrobial resistance
The G20 has also pointed to the fact that pandemics can jeopardise the overall stability of the global economy. For the first time a meeting of all G20 health ministers was held. In combination with the World Bank, a variety of mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that we can respond more swiftly and more resolutely to pandemics. Another focus in the health sector is the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
9. Support for women entrepreneurs in developing countries
The G20 states have put in place a multilateral fund to support women entrepreneurs in developing countries. A fund is to be established at the World Bank with initial capital of 325 million US dollars.
The G20 states have now translated into more concrete terms the objective agreed at the Melbourne summit in 2014 of empowering women. The gender employment gap is to be reduced to 256 per cent by 2025.
And two new initiatives have been created: the "#eSkills4Girls" initiative, which focuses on education, and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, which is designed to help women in developing countries to start, expand and manage their own businesses.
10. Addressing the root causes of displacement
The G20 states intend to address the underlying root causes of displacement and expulsion. They recognise how important it is to enter into partnerships with the countries of origin of migrants and the transit states they use. They undertake to take account of the special needs of refugees and migrants and they support the elaboration of global compacts for refugees and migration within the framework of the United Nations.
They also approve guidelines for fair and effective integration of regular migration and officially recognised refugees on the labour market.