The Think 20 (T20) is an open and independent network of think tanks from around the world that provide public policy proposals to the G20. Its goal is to develop concise, research-based policy recommendations to enable a broader vision in directing the G20 policymaking process. The T20 seeks to demonstrate that technical knowledge is at the service of the world’s population and countries’ growth and development.
And this is very much needed. Our world is currently going through challenging times. Global problems demand cooperative responses and institutions that can generate stable commitments. In our current context, multilateral institutions are finding it difficult to reach global solutions. The G20 is more important than ever before – no one country can solve these challenges by itself.
In 2018, during Argentina’s G20 presidency, the Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI) and the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC) were mandated by the Argentine government to organise and co-chair the T20 process for the year. As the heads of these organisations, we both agree that this has been an exciting and very productive process, and we have thoroughly enjoyed working with our fellow global institutions.
At the start of the process, the working groups were organised into 10 separate task forces that worked on concrete and relevant policy challenges. These task forces provided a platform for the free exchange of evidence-based views and opinions among experts from more than 150 think tanks and senior representatives of the private sector and international organisations from more than 60 countries. This successful process resulted in the elaboration of more than 80 policy briefs with evidence-based policy recommendations to address global challenges such as climate change, food security, multilateral trade and global inequality. These are all available on the T20 Argentina website.
In September, we hosted the T20 Summit in Buenos Aires, where we presented a selection of these policy recommendations in the T20 communiqué, along with the engagement group’s vision. We are honoured to have presented this document to Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri at the summit, which was attended by over 1,000 participants from more than 68 countries. The T20 community came together not only to learn and strengthen what we had been working on throughout the year, but also to look back at how far we have come.
If one reads over the policy briefs it is easy to see the global challenges we have to face: climate change, food security, the distribution of the costs and benefits of trade and technology, inequality including gender inequality, needed investment in infrastructure for development, and more.
These are collective-action problems in which countries have little incentive to implement individual solutions because these are costly. They can involve conflicts of interest, and those who instigate solutions will not be the only ones to reap the benefits. However, global well-being is unattainable if each country is not prepared to make concessions and strive to promote international cooperation.
Our recommendations include advising the G20 to start a dialogue to redesign the World Trade Organization and prevent increases in recent trade frictions, that it should play a central part in the fight against climate change and that it needs to strengthen the abilities of cities to lead climate change mitigation.
Furthermore, the G20 needs to redesign a new social contract that contemplates the design of a high-quality education system which enables workers to collaborate and interact with next-generation robots. There should also be a social protection system that protects those who may become displaced, as not everyone may be able to adapt readily to new technologies to make these transitions smoothly.
Achieving true equality
Closing gender gaps must be at the heart of this new social contract. Gender economic equity is imperative for the global economy.
At the T20, it is our duty to think, produce evidence and actively look for new solutions in order to achieve an economically prosperous, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive future. The world depends on our work now more than ever before.