What is the role of the G20 in 2023?
G20 Summit

What is the role of the G20 in 2023?

The very nature of our global existence depends on us finding the solutions we need to create opportunities and confront challenges – and the G20 is still the forum that can make that happen

One of the most important G20 summits will take place in September in New Delhi, India, in the midst of a year of global turbulence for all of us.

The dominant issues of our times have transcended the economic crisis that created the G20 in the 1990s. We created the G20 to break away from a Washington consensus that looked at all financial crises through the same lens. Motivated by the imperative to recognise the country- and region-specific issues that upended financial markets in Asia in 1997, it was a critically important step to establish a new global body to discuss issues of global importance to all. The G20 was founded with the understanding that globalisation required collaboration and a constructive dialogue at the most senior levels of leadership in countries around the globe.

Society’s capacity to handle wide-scale issues such as climate change and contagious diseases have become even more urgent given that they require more global solutions than ever before.

In my opinion, the G20 represents a crucial opportunity for the world. In an age of retrenchment, global alliances and discussions are imperative to solve the problems in our midst.

The strength of the G20 comes from its ability to coordinate the efforts and expertise of national governments – expertise that governments gained as they faced challenges that know no borders, from the catastrophic impact of climate change to the immigration crisis around the world and the subsequent energy crisis in Europe now arising from the war in Ukraine.

In short, knowing ‘what to do’ based on lived experience is where successful action comes from. Sharing best practices and envisioning new areas of cooperation and engagement allow us to go beyond conventional responses while forming a global narrative.

Indonesia’s presidency in 2022 set the stage where climate change ministers, health ministers, energy ministers, agriculture ministers as well as finance ministers met to discuss common issues, as they did under Italy’s presidency a year earlier, where they furthered our capacity for action. India’s presidency this year has continued with a full slate of ministerial meetings.

These ministerial meetings provide a firm foundation for the G20 leaders to act at their summits, despite the deadlock due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

More seats at the table

As our issues get more complex the table must be more inclusive. Solving our problems and navigating a way forward involves more cooperation and collaboration, nothing less. Expanding the table and listening to more voices is more difficult than with a small group of like-minded participants, but it is the only way to forge collective action against global challenges. It is heartening to hear that the African Union may soon have a permanent voice at the G20 table.

Quite simply, the most important role the G20 can play is to awaken national action, and to coordinate it as countries respond to the attacks on humanity, from infectious diseases to global warming, to the tragedy of the Ukraine invasion.

These are massive threats that no country can deal with alone.

That is why the G20 is so important.

This is a very different world now – one we should have caught up with years ago. Historically many of the world’s major problems have been differences between a wide spectrum of countries. This will continue and we will have to deal with them.

This is why the new world will not be fixed by communiqués, but by action.

Younger generations are demanding a broader and more impactful decision-making that shows them our institutions can respond to the very different world in which we now find ourselves. Most of us never thought we would live through a global pandemic – now we have a whole generation that was affected by that global experience. We showed that we could respond to an international crisis with dedicated action by all our governments. We need the same resolve in New Delhi to show we can meet the challenges of our time.

How do I see the G20 moving forward?

To start, I believe we should build on the 2022 Bali Summit and put everything into making India’s New Delhi Summit a great success. This is the new world, and we must establish the markers to success. The very nature of our global existence depends on us finding the global solutions we need to create opportunities and confront challenges and the G20 is still the table that can make collaboration and consensus building happen.