2019 G20 Osaka Summit

WHAT IS THE G20 SUMMIT?

The Group of Twenty, more commonly referred to as the G20, is a now annual gathering of 20 of the world’s major industrialized and emerging economies.

The G20 was created in response to criticism that the Group of Seven (G7) was outdated and overly restrictive. Aside from Japan, no county from outside of North America and Europe is a member of the G7. As such, the G20 seeks to recognize the role of emerging economies in the leadership and further direction of global affairs.

The participants are leaders from 19 countries and the European Union (EU). 

The 19 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Republic of South Africa, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America . 

Together these countries account for around three quarters of global gross domestic product (GDP). Data from the International Monetary Fund suggests that expansion of the G7 to the G20 will be evermore justifiable over time as the share of global GDP commanded by the non-G7 G20 countries continues to grow.

In addition, the leaders of the invited countries and the representatives of the invited international organizations participate in the summit together with the leaders of the G20 members.

The expansion of the G20 summit saw diversity in development experiences, as well as cultural and geographic factors. While Canada received a score of 82 out of 100 in the most recent addition to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, Mexico and Russia scored 30 and 29 respectively. 

The demography of origin is also very varied among the economies of the G20. Many of the highly industrialized economies, including Australia, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and the United States have a high number of international migrants as a proportion of the total population. In the context of a global political discourse that is increasingly skeptical of globalization, questions about international openness can be directed from the corridors of power towards China.

Climate issues looked set to play a prominent role at G20 Germany 

Climate change is widely recognized as one of the world’s largest collective problems. Despite dismissive statements about the validity of global warming by recently elected President of the United States Donald Trump, climate issues looked set to play a prominent role at G20 Germany. The United States is the largest CO2 emitter in the group by a significant margin, making the potential isolation of Trump from Merkel, Modi, Macron, and Co. on climate issues a point of poignant discussion.

The presence of many of the actors that pull the strings of the global economy, as well as the international media that follows such a meeting, represents an ideal opportunity for those unhappy with the global state of affairs to protest. Unfortunately, it also brings with it a high-security concern from potential terrorist activity. In response to these two factors, security at such events is generally very high. For the 2017 edition of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, an additional 15,000 police officers were allocated to the city from other German states. With 100,000 protestors expected to demonstrate against the G20 and its participants, 11 helicopters, 62 police horses and 153 police dogs were also deployed in the area.

Summit Venue: Osaka

It will be held on 28–29 June 2019 at the International Exhibition Center in Osaka. It will be the first-ever G20 summit to be hosted in Japan.

Osaka attracted over 11 million international visitors in 2017. Osaka has drawn international attention as the economic, cultural and transportation hub of western Japan and the central city of the nation’s second largest economic region “Kinki”. The origin of current Osaka dates back to ancient times. The prosperous Naniwa Harbor (the former name of Osaka Harbor) served as a gateway to continental Asia for trade and diplomacy. The nation’s capital named “Naniwanomiya” (7th century) was the political center established in current Osaka and attracted many people.

Osaka has continued to grow and prosper as a key urban center even as the nation’s political center shifted to Kyoto, Kamakura and then Edo (Tokyo). Savvy use of the region’s bountiful waterways and ports made Osaka indispensable to the logistics supporting the nation’s economy. Recognizing Osaka’s geographical advantage from early on, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (a samurai ruler known as one of the “great unifiers” during the Warring States period (c. end of 15century-end of 16century)) built Osaka Castle in 1583 and developed Osaka as a metropolis.

Final Words

Currently, the United States is the G20’s largest economy in terms of GDP with 18.57 billion dollars in 2016. The fact that South Africa, the smallest economy of the G20, has registered a GDP figure of 294 billion dollars in 2016 suggests sitting at the informal table does not equate to equal persuasion in the speech. Given the large differences in the populations of the G20 countries, it is not surprising that larger economies do not necessarily have the highest rates of GDP per capita. While the United States remains at the top of the list, Australia and Canada complete the first three.

 

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