Germany’s G20 Presidency and Its Outcome through Russia’s Prism

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The G20 gathering of nations, which was preceded by hard work of numerous task forces, experts, and dialogue groups, has opened in Hamburg. Russia’s B20, Think20, W20 and Y20 representatives shared their views on the key developments under German presidency.

The B20 has refocused on innovations for the first time since Russia’s G20 presidency

Larionova_IMGP9861Marina Larionova, B20 Russia Sherpa, Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).

The distinguishing feature characterizing the recent B20 summit is two new task forces to address digitalization and energy efficiency, as well as climate change and sustainable use of resources.

In a way, the B20 has refocused on innovations for the first time since Russia’s G20 presidency. The year of 2013 saw our Innovation Task Force put forward broad recommendations, particularly for digitalization.

The most interesting proposal for investment promotion and facilitation was brought forward by the Trade and Investment Task Force, which deals with:

Policy Action 3.1: Strengthen a reliable legal environment

Policy Action 3.2: Support sustainable investment facilitation

Policy Action 3.3: Explore a potential multilateral investment framework

All the three recommendations by the Digitalization Task Force arouse keen interest. However, Recommendation 3 for embracing artificial intelligence is of particular interest.

As it says, the G20 “should support the evolution of human-centric artificial intelligence and related technologies by ensuring informed public dialogues on opportunities and challenges, supporting development and deployment of innovation, and accelerating the rollout of smart infrastructure”.

Both Russia’s and Germany’s G20 presidencies witnessed an intensive period of work by task forces to table their proposals, which has already become a B20 trend. Unfortunately, the difference is that a B20-G20 meeting has not been held this time.

The task of stimulating economic growth, creating jobs and labor markets’ adjusting to technological changes cannot be accomplished without the participation of business-structures. Therefore, the B20 will clearly remain relevant to the modern world.

Nowadays the Think20 (T20) is a strong independent network of research institutes and think tanks from G20 countries

Sergey Drobyshevsky, Scientific Director of the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (IEP)

Under Germany’s G20 presidency, the T20 centred the work of its 12 task forces on the following issues:

  1. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  2. G20 and Africa
  3. Closed or isolated economies
  4. Climate policies and finances
  5. Financial resilience
  6. Forced migration
  7. Global inequalities and social cohesion
  8. International cooperation for tax policies
  9. Sustainable and inclusive growth
  10. Digital economy
  11. Hunger eradication and sustainable agricultural development
  12. Trade and investments

Articulating the interests of different countries, each task force headed by its local organizations presented the results of its work, namely memos and policy briefs, at T20 summits.

The results of the T20’s work found their way into “20 Solution Proposals for the G20”, the highlights from the 2017 Berlin summit. I consider recommendations for digitalization most interesting. The list includes:

  • Developing cooperation among G20 member-states on employment and education policies for the digital age
  • Expanding cooperation in strengthening digital safeguards
  • Adopting joint measures to safeguard the financial system from cyber-attacks
  • Harnessing the potential of blockchain technology and rethinking competition policy to make global governance processes more inclusive and accountable.

Дробышевский1-235x300Secondly, as I see it, the T20’s guidelines for the 2030 Agenda, a universal mechanism for “human development and shared prosperity within planetary boundaries”, are of paramount importance. T20 participants introduced an initiative “to renew the G20 commitment to the 2030 Agenda and stressed the key role of the multilateral system in its implementation”. In addition, the T20’s report suggested that “a G20 engagement group dedicated to cities as implementers of the 2030 Agenda be set up”.

Basically, 2013 was the first year of the T20 outreach format launched at the 2012 Los Cabos summit, during Mexico’s G20 presidency. Over the recent years, the Group has undoubtedly gained traction. Russia’s G20 presidency saw the only T20 meeting for countries to get acquainted with each other and consider the main items of the president’s agenda, whereas today’s Group constitutes a strong independent network of research institutes and think tanks from G20 member-states. It has a broad agenda, puts emphasis on its continuity and promotes its own vision of relevant issues submitted to Sherpa meetings and gatherings of G20 finance ministers, central bank governors and heads of government.

I believe that the T20 should be heading towards stronger institutionalization. A permanent body, for example, the secretariat, should be established. It should comprise representatives of leading research centers, which have actively participated in Think 20 activities from the outset. The think tanks should include CIGI, Brooklyn Institute, Institute of World Economics and Politics (IWEP) of the CASS, RANEPA, and many others. The body will facilitate continuous cooperation among various organizations, ensure greater continuity while addressing a range of issues, and make the format more meaningful for the meetings of G20 Sherpas and leaders.

Peryshkina: W20 is One of the Youngest G20 Engagement Groups

Перышкина-1024x683Alyona Peryshkina, Director of AIDS Infoshare Foundation, Co-chair of BRICS and G8/G20 Russian NGOs Working Group

The Women 20 (W20) is one of the youngest G20 engagement groups whose work paves the way for an upcoming G20 summit. Such groups engage in a broad consultative process ahead of the major event. The first W20 meeting took place in Istanbul under the Turkish presidency in 2015. China encouraged the dialogue further in 2016. It is good to know that during the German presidency women’s interpretation of the ongoing economic processes and their recommendations will be presented to G20 leaders.

Interestingly, the parties to the W20 dialogue maintain continuity between the annual meetings. They keep in mind the priorities proposed under the previous presidencies. This year the discussions have revolved around stepped-up efforts to guarantee greater wage equality for women, to increase female labor force participation, to encourage female entrepreneurship, to empower women involved in business relations and to improve the work-life balance for women who need to take care of minors and incapacitated people. These issues have been chosen for good reason as they are apparently of considerable relevance to each G20 state.

The W20 consultation process has produced the Implementation Plan and the Communiqué to be handed over to the world leaders at the Hamburg Summit.

Argentina is expected to preserve the W20 format in 2018.

The Y20 agenda includes global rules for cyberspace and the role of the young in global governance

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel und Bundesfamilienministerin Katarina Barley (SPD) beim Gruppenfoto mit Jugendlichen beim Y20-Dialogforum (Youth 20) 2017 im Bundeskanzleramt teil.

Ekaterina Sorokova and Alena Nikolaeva, Y20 Summit delegates from Russia, MGIMO-University students

The Y20 German summit (Y20) was held in Berlin on June 2-8. 68 delegates from the G20 states and international organizations, including the African Union, APEC, WTO, ILO, NEPAD, OECD, as well as specialized UN bodies, took part in the forum. A 30-page final document was adopted, in which the delegates presented their approach to global issues and recommendations on the eleven agenda items.

Чуков-1024x680Roman Chukov, Y20 Russia Sherpa and Chair of the Board at the Russian Center for Promotion of International Initiatives, spoke at large about Russia’s contribution to the event. “Russia initiated the dialogue back in 2006, when the first G8 Youth Summit was organized. Since then, the Y20 Summit and the BRICS Youth Summit, which Russia hosted in 2013 and 2015, have remained of relevance. We invited the Y20 delegates to the Russian House of Science and Culture in Berlin.”

The four-day work of the Y20 Summit allowed gaining a common understanding of issues related to the global economy, global trade, employment, digitalization, environmental protection and combating climate change, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, women’s empowerment, status of refugees, countering terrorism, fighting corruption, health and well-being. Some issues stimulated lengthy in-depth discussions.

The Russian delegates joined the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development and Digitalization working groups. The 2030 Agenda is vital for the international community, as world leaders gradually realize the need to address global challenges as well as local and regional problems. The major issues include combating poverty and inequality, tackling environmental problems, improving world trade and so on.

Фото-с-российским-флагом-225x300The key recommendations of the Digitalization group focused on granting universal access to the Internet, developing new programs to promote digital literacy and ICT in education, establishing an international legal framework for Internet regulation; stronger cybersecurity and the spread of e-government technologies. The delegates agreed that “Internet governance should be open, democratic, socially-oriented and based on universally recognized principles of international law”. They believed that states should participate in the process on an equal footing. The delegates also pointed to the need for a relevant legal framework under the UN auspices. On the whole, the G20 representatives gave their backing to the Russian approach to Internet governance and cybersecurity at the task force sessions and at the plenary sessions.

During the presentation at the Chancellery, Angela Merkel expressed keen interest in IT trends and specifically commented on shared rules and norms for the Internet. “…I suppose right now we should put in a lot of effort to make any new ICT technology ultimately work for common betterment, for the good of mankind. I think we can create a certain framework there. But even right now rules and norms are very different … We still have a long way to go to establish an international regulatory framework … We already had a similar experience with financial markets. There was no international regulation there, and then one day the world was hit by a devastating crisis … I think that we have not yet finalized the discussion of Internet regulation, and we must keep on working”.

The summit left a very favourable impression since the Youth 20 Dialogue lived up to its name and proved to be a meaningful platform for fruitful interaction.

Image used: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

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