The Group of Twenty (G20)

G20: Empowering Collaboration for a Global Economy

The Group of Twenty (G20) is a forum for international economic cooperation that comprise 19 countries and the EU led leaders to talk global financial stability, sustainable development, and policy. Established in 1999, its members represent the world’s major economies, shape global economic governance & reply crisis.



The Group of Twenty, commonly referred to as the G20, is a premier forum for international economic cooperation. Comprising 19 countries and the European Union, the G20 brings together major advanced and emerging economies to discuss and coordinate policies pertaining to global economic stability and sustainable development. Established in 1999 in response to the financial crises of the late 1990s, in this article by Academic Block we will explore how the G20 has evolved into a crucial platform for addressing pressing global economic challenges globally.

Historical Background

The origins of the G20 can be traced back to the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998. In the wake of this crisis, finance ministers and central bank governors from major economies recognized the need for a more inclusive forum that would enable a broader range of countries to participate in global economic discussions. This led to the inaugural meeting of the G20 in 1999, hosted by Germany.

Initially, the G20 meetings primarily focused on coordinating policies to address financial and economic vulnerabilities. However, the scope of the agenda expanded significantly following the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, which highlighted the interconnectedness of economies and the need for collective action to mitigate systemic risks.

Membership and Structure

The G20 consists of 19 individual countries, namely Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Additionally, the European Union is represented by the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

The G20 operates on a rotational presidency system, with each member country assuming the role of chair for a one-year term. The presidency rotates among regional groupings, ensuring geographic diversity and inclusivity in leadership.

In addition to the annual summit of heads of state and government, the G20 conducts ministerial meetings throughout the year, covering a wide range of policy areas such as finance, trade, labor, agriculture, and energy. These meetings provide opportunities for in-depth discussions and the formulation of consensus-based policy recommendations.

Key Objectives and Priorities

The G20’s overarching objective is to promote global economic stability, sustainable development, and prosperity for all. To achieve this goal, the group focuses on several key priorities, including:

Promoting Economic Growth and Resilience: The G20 seeks to foster robust and inclusive economic growth by coordinating macroeconomic policies, promoting structural reforms, and facilitating investment and trade.

Financial Regulation and Stability: In the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, the G20 has placed significant emphasis on strengthening the international financial system. This includes enhancing financial regulation, improving transparency and accountability, and addressing systemic risks.

Trade and Investment: The G20 aims to support an open, transparent, and rules-based international trading system. Members work towards reducing trade barriers, resisting protectionism, and promoting fair and reciprocal trade practices.

Sustainable Development and Climate Change: Recognizing the importance of sustainable development and environmental stewardship, the G20 addresses issues such as climate change mitigation, energy transition, and sustainable infrastructure development.

Global Health and Pandemic Response: Recent global health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, have underscored the need for international cooperation in health governance and pandemic preparedness. The G20 plays a crucial role in coordinating responses to health emergencies and strengthening health systems worldwide.

Achievements and Impact

Since its inception, the G20 has achieved notable successes in addressing global economic challenges and promoting cooperation among its members. Some key achievements include:

Stabilizing the Global Economy: Through coordinated monetary and fiscal policies, the G20 helped stabilize financial markets and restore confidence in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. This concerted action prevented a deeper recession and facilitated the subsequent economic recovery.

Financial Regulatory Reform: The G20’s efforts to strengthen financial regulation and supervision have led to significant reforms aimed at reducing systemic risks and enhancing the resilience of the global financial system. Measures such as the Basel III framework for banking regulation and the establishment of the Financial Stability Board have bolstered financial stability and risk management.

Trade and Investment Facilitation: Through dialogue and cooperation, the G20 has contributed to the reduction of trade barriers and the promotion of trade facilitation measures. This has facilitated cross-border trade and investment flows, supporting economic growth and development.

Climate Change Mitigation: While progress on climate change within the G20 has been mixed, the group has taken steps to promote renewable energy, improve energy efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The G20’s endorsement of the Paris Agreement in 2016 signaled a collective commitment to addressing climate change at the global level.

Pandemic Response and Recovery: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the G20 swiftly mobilized resources and coordinated policy responses to mitigate the health, economic, and social impacts of the crisis. Efforts have focused on vaccine distribution, debt relief for low-income countries, and economic stimulus measures to support recovery efforts.

Challenges and Criticisms

Despite its achievements, the G20 faces several challenges and criticisms that impact its effectiveness and legitimacy:

Inclusivity and Representation: Some critics argue that the G20’s membership is not sufficiently representative of the global population, with certain regions and countries underrepresented or excluded. This raises questions about the legitimacy of the group’s decision-making processes and the extent to which it truly reflects the interests of all stakeholders.

Policy Coordination and Implementation: While the G20 provides a platform for dialogue and cooperation, translating agreements into concrete policy actions at the national level can be challenging. Domestic political considerations, divergent economic priorities, and differing policy approaches among member countries can hinder effective policy coordination and implementation.

Geopolitical Tensions and Conflicts: Geopolitical tensions and conflicts among G20 members, such as trade disputes or territorial disputes, can impede cooperation and undermine the group’s ability to address shared challenges. Managing divergent interests and finding common ground on contentious issues remains a persistent challenge for the G20.

Inequality and Inequity: Despite efforts to promote inclusive growth and development, the benefits of globalization and economic integration have not been evenly distributed. Rising income inequality within and among countries remains a pressing concern, with implications for social cohesion, political stability, and sustainable development.

Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability: While the G20 has made commitments to address climate change, progress has been hindered by differences in priorities and approaches among member countries. Some critics argue that the group has not done enough to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Future Prospects and Opportunities

Looking ahead, the G20 faces both challenges and opportunities as it seeks to fulfill its mandate of promoting global economic stability and sustainable development. Some key areas for future action include:

Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic: The G20’s focus in the near term will be on facilitating a swift and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This will require continued coordination of economic policies, investment in healthcare systems, and support for vulnerable populations and sectors.

Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability: Addressing climate change and promoting environmental sustainability will remain a top priority for the G20. This includes enhancing ambition in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing investment in renewable energy and clean technologies, and supporting adaptation and resilience measures.

Inclusive Growth and Development: The G20 must redouble its efforts to promote inclusive growth and reduce inequality within and among countries. This requires policies that foster job creation, improve access to education and healthcare, and empower marginalized communities to participate in and benefit from economic development.

Digital Transformation and Technological Innovation: Embracing digital transformation and technological innovation will be critical for driving economic growth and competitiveness in the 21st century. The G20 can play a key role in shaping global norms and regulations governing digital trade, data privacy, cybersecurity, and emerging technologies.

Global Governance and Multilateralism: Strengthening global governance and multilateral institutions will be essential for addressing transnational challenges such as pandemics, climate change, and cyber threats. The G20 can leverage its convening power to promote cooperation and coordination among international organizations, governments, and other stakeholders.

Final Words

In conclusion, the Group of Twenty (G20) serves as a vital forum for international economic cooperation, bringing together major advanced and emerging economies to address pressing global challenges. While the G20 has achieved notable successes in promoting economic stability and sustainable development, it faces ongoing challenges and criticisms that must be addressed to ensure its continued relevance and effectiveness in the years to come. By embracing inclusivity, cooperation, and innovation, the G20 can contribute to building a more prosperous, equitable, and resilient world for future generations. Hope you got detailed information about G20, before leaving please provide your valuable views to make this article better. Thanks for Reading!

This Article will answer your questions like:

+ Where is the headquarters of Group of 20? >

The G20 does not have a permanent headquarters. Its administration rotates annually among the member countries, with the host nation taking charge of the presidency and organizing the annual summit and meetings.

+ What are the aims of G20? >

The G20 aims to foster international financial stability by promoting dialogue on key global economic issues, coordinating policy among major economies, and addressing challenges such as financial crises, sustainable development, and climate change.

+ What are working groups in G20? >

G20 working groups are specialized committees that focus on specific policy areas such as finance, climate, trade, and development. They provide expert analysis and recommendations to support the G20's objectives and policy decisions.

+ How many engagement groups are there in G20? >

There are currently eight engagement groups in the G20: Business 20 (B20), Civil 20 (C20), Labor 20 (L20), Think 20 (T20), Women 20 (W20), Youth 20 (Y20), Science 20 (S20), and Urban 20 (U20). These groups bring perspectives from different sectors to the G20's agenda.

+ What is the history of G20? >

Established in 1999 in response to the Asian financial crisis, the G20 initially focused on finance ministers and central bank governors. It was elevated to a leaders' forum in 2008 during the global financial crisis to enhance international economic cooperation.

+ What are the criteria for G20 membership? >

G20 membership is based on a country’s economic significance and impact on the global economy. Members are selected to represent major advanced and emerging economies to ensure diverse and comprehensive discussions on international financial and economic policies.

+ What are the main objectives of the G20? >

The main objectives of the G20 include promoting global economic growth, ensuring financial stability, enhancing international trade, and addressing critical issues such as unemployment, climate change, and sustainable development.

+ What is the role of Asian Countries in G20? >

Asian countries in the G20, including China, India, Japan, and South Korea, play crucial roles by contributing to economic growth discussions, technological advancements, and addressing regional and global economic challenges, reflecting their significant influence on the global economy.

+ What is the relationship between the G20 and the United Nations? >

The G20 and the United Nations collaborate on global economic governance, sustainable development, and climate change initiatives. The G20 complements the UN's broader mandate by focusing on economic issues, while aligning with the UN's sustainable development goals and international policies.

History of the G20

Origin and Establishment

Asian Financial Crisis (1997-1998): The seeds of the G20 were sown in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis, which began in Thailand in 1997 and quickly spread to other Asian economies, causing widespread currency devaluations, economic contractions, and social upheaval. The crisis underscored the interconnectedness of global financial markets and the need for enhanced international cooperation to address systemic vulnerabilities.

G7’s Response: At the time, the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations – comprising the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Canada – was the primary forum for international economic coordination. However, the G7’s exclusive membership raised concerns about the representation of emerging economies and developing countries in global economic governance.

Creation of the G20: In response to these concerns, finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 major advanced and emerging economies, along with representatives from the European Union, convened the first meeting of the G20 in Berlin, Germany, in December 1999. The establishment of the G20 reflected a broader recognition of the need for a more inclusive forum that would bring together a diverse group of countries to discuss and coordinate policies on global economic issues.

Early Years

Focus on Financial Stability: In its early years, the G20 primarily focused on coordinating policies to promote financial stability and address vulnerabilities in the international financial system. Meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors provided opportunities for dialogue and cooperation on issues such as exchange rate volatility, capital flows, and financial regulation.

Expansion of Agenda: Over time, the G20’s agenda expanded to encompass a broader range of economic and financial issues, reflecting the growing interconnectedness of the global economy. The group began to address topics such as trade liberalization, economic growth, development finance, and sustainable development.

Global Financial Crisis (2008-2009)

Turning Point: The global financial crisis, triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, represented a watershed moment for the G20. As the crisis spread rapidly across borders, causing a severe recession and widespread financial distress, world leaders recognized the urgent need for coordinated action to stabilize financial markets and restore confidence in the global economy.

G20 Leaders’ Summits: In response to the crisis, the G20 held its first-ever leaders’ summit in Washington, D.C., in November 2008, bringing together heads of state and government to discuss policy responses to the crisis. Subsequent summits in London, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Seoul, Cannes, Los Cabos, St. Petersburg, Brisbane, Antalya, Hangzhou, Hamburg, Buenos Aires, Osaka, and Riyadh provided platforms for leaders to coordinate stimulus measures, strengthen financial regulation, and reform international financial institutions.

Post-Crisis Era

Policy Coordination: In the years following the global financial crisis, the G20 continued to play a central role in coordinating macroeconomic policies, promoting financial stability, and addressing emerging challenges such as climate change, inequality, and digital transformation. The group also intensified efforts to reform international financial institutions, enhance financial regulation, and improve the resilience of the global financial system.

Annual Summits: The annual G20 summits emerged as key moments for leaders to assess the state of the global economy, identify priority areas for action, and make commitments to address pressing challenges. The summits provided opportunities for dialogue, cooperation, and consensus-building among leaders from diverse political and economic backgrounds.

Recent Developments

COVID-19 Pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic, which emerged in late 2019, presented an unprecedented challenge to the global economy, health systems, and social cohesion. In response, the G20 mobilized resources, coordinated policy responses, and launched initiatives to mitigate the health, economic, and social impacts of the crisis. Efforts have focused on vaccine distribution, debt relief for low-income countries, economic stimulus measures, and strengthening global health governance.

Future Outlook: As the world grapples with the ongoing effects of the pandemic and confronts other systemic challenges such as climate change, technological disruption, and geopolitical tensions, the G20 remains a critical forum for international economic cooperation. Looking ahead, the G20 faces opportunities to drive sustainable and inclusive recovery, promote global health security, advance digital transformation, and strengthen multilateralism in the face of evolving global threats and uncertainties.

Key topics discussed in G20 Summits

Global Economic Outlook: G20 leaders typically assess the state of the global economy, including trends in economic growth, employment, inflation, and trade. They exchange views on current economic challenges and prospects for recovery, and discuss policy responses to promote sustainable and inclusive growth.

Financial Stability and Regulation: G20 leaders discuss measures to strengthen the stability and resilience of the global financial system. This may include discussions on financial regulation, supervision, risk management, and efforts to address systemic risks, such as those posed by financial institutions deemed “too big to fail.”

Trade and Investment: G20 summits provide opportunities for leaders to address issues related to international trade and investment. Discussions may focus on promoting open, transparent, and rules-based trade, reducing trade barriers and distortions, and advancing efforts to liberalize trade and investment flows.

Climate Change and Sustainable Development: G20 leaders engage in discussions on environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. This may include commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support renewable energy deployment, and promote sustainable infrastructure development.

Digital Economy and Technological Innovation: With the increasing digitization of the global economy, G20 leaders discuss policies related to the digital economy, including digital trade, data governance, cybersecurity, and the impact of technological innovation on economic growth, productivity, and job creation.

Inclusive Growth and Social Cohesion: G20 summits address issues of income inequality, poverty alleviation, and social inclusion. Leaders discuss strategies to promote inclusive growth, enhance access to education and healthcare, and address social disparities to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared equitably.

Global Health and Pandemic Preparedness: Recent G20 summits have placed greater emphasis on global health issues, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders discuss pandemic preparedness, vaccine distribution, healthcare infrastructure, and international cooperation in addressing health emergencies.

Infrastructure Investment and Development: G20 leaders discuss strategies to promote infrastructure investment and development, particularly in areas such as transportation, energy, and telecommunications. This may include discussions on financing mechanisms, public-private partnerships, and infrastructure resilience.

Financial Inclusion and Development Finance: G20 summits address issues related to financial inclusion, access to finance, and development financing for low-income countries. Leaders discuss measures to enhance access to banking services, promote financial literacy, and mobilize resources for sustainable development projects.

Geopolitical Risks and Global Governance: G20 leaders exchange views on geopolitical risks, regional conflicts, and challenges to international peace and security. Discussions may cover topics such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, geopolitical tensions, and efforts to strengthen global governance and multilateral institutions.

Academic References on the G20

  1. Kirton, J. J., & Kokotsis, E. (Eds.). (2013). The Group of Twenty (G20). Routledge.
  2. Hölscher, J., & Tosun, J. (Eds.). (2013). The G20, Development and the International Financial Architecture. Palgrave Macmillan.
  3. Kirton, J. J., & Bracht, C. (Eds.). (2016). G20 Governance for a Globalized World. Routledge.
  4. Broome, A., & Seabrooke, L. (Eds.). (2017). Towards a New Global Financial Architecture: The G20 and the Future of International Economic Governance. Palgrave Macmillan.
  5. Dent, C. M. (2018). The G20. CQ Press.
  6. Ravenhill, J. (2019). Global Political Economy. Oxford University Press.
  7. Gordon, P., & Kerstenetzky, C. (2017). Governance and Finance at the End of History: The Rise of the G20. Springer.
  8. Schirm, S. A. (2019). The G20’s Role in Global Economic Governance. Springer.
  9. Narlikar, A. (2010). The G20: Perceptions and Reality. German Marshall Fund.
  10. Flammer, C., & Hoberg, G. (2016). Do the G20 countries care about the G20? Evidence from Google Trends data. Review of International Organizations, 11(4), 507-533.
  11. Matthews, D. (2015). The G20 and the governance of international finance: A study in the politics of recognition. Review of International Political Economy, 22(1), 7-35.
  12. Broome, A., & Seabrooke, L. (2017). Seeing like the G20: Governance technologies and hybrid financial governance. New Political Economy, 22(2), 193-209.
  13. Fuchs, D., & Klann, N. (2013). Paying a visit: The Dalai Lama effect on international trade. Journal of International Economics, 91(1), 164-177.

Full form of G20: The Group of Twenty

Founded on: 26 September, 1999

Member States: 21 member states including European Union and African Union

Chairman: President of Brazil, Lula da Silva


Criteria for G20 memberships

Economic Size and Importance: The G20 aims to bring together the world’s major economies to address global economic challenges. As such, countries with large and influential economies are generally considered for membership. Factors such as gross domestic product (GDP), GDP per capita, trade volume, and foreign exchange reserves are important indicators of economic size and importance.

Regional Representation: The G20 seeks to achieve a balance of representation across different regions of the world. While some regions, such as North America and Western Europe, are represented by individual countries (e.g., United States, Germany), others may be represented by regional organizations or blocs (e.g., European Union). Regional diversity ensures that a wide range of perspectives and interests are represented within the group.

Systemic Importance: In addition to economic size, countries may be considered for G20 membership based on their systemic importance to the global economy. This includes factors such as the size and stability of their financial markets, the extent of their integration into the global trading system, and their role in international trade and investment flows.

Contribution to Global Governance: G20 members are expected to actively contribute to global economic governance and participate constructively in international cooperation efforts. This may involve adhering to international norms and standards, honoring financial commitments, and engaging in multilateral initiatives to address shared challenges such as financial stability, trade liberalization, and sustainable development.

Recognition and Acceptance by Existing Members: Ultimately, decisions regarding G20 membership are made by the existing members of the group. Prospective members must receive the approval and endorsement of the current G20 participants, who assess their qualifications and suitability for membership based on the aforementioned criteria.

Role of Asian countries in G20

Economic Significance

Growth Engines: Several Asian countries, including China, Japan, India, and South Korea, are among the world’s largest economies and key drivers of global economic growth. Their economic dynamism, large consumer markets, and export-oriented industries contribute to shaping the trajectory of the global economy.

Trade and Investment: Asia is home to some of the world’s busiest trading hubs and production centers, facilitating the flow of goods, services, and investment across borders. Asian countries play pivotal roles in global supply chains, export-oriented industries, and international trade agreements, influencing patterns of trade and investment worldwide.

Policy Influence

Macroeconomic Stability: Asian countries’ monetary and fiscal policies have significant implications for global macroeconomic stability, given their large foreign exchange reserves, trade surpluses, and currency exchange rates. Their decisions on interest rates, exchange rate management, and fiscal stimulus measures can impact financial markets and investor confidence globally.

Financial Regulation: Asian financial markets, including stock exchanges, bond markets, and banking systems, are integral components of the global financial system. Asian countries contribute to shaping international financial regulation, standards, and best practices, particularly in areas such as banking supervision, capital markets development, and anti-money laundering efforts.

Global Challenges

Climate Change: Several Asian countries are among the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases and face significant environmental challenges, including air and water pollution, deforestation, and natural resource depletion. Asian countries’ participation in G20 discussions on climate change mitigation, renewable energy, and sustainable development is crucial for addressing these pressing global challenges.

Health Security: Asia has been at the forefront of global health crises, including infectious disease outbreaks such as SARS, MERS, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Asian countries’ experiences with pandemic preparedness, public health infrastructure, and vaccine development inform G20 discussions on health security, pandemic response, and strengthening global health governance.

Relationship between the G20 and the United Nations

Mandates and Objectives

G20: The G20 is primarily focused on international economic cooperation and policy coordination among major advanced and emerging economies. It was established in response to the need for a more inclusive forum to address global economic challenges, such as financial stability, trade liberalization, and sustainable development.

United Nations: The United Nations is a global organization founded to maintain international peace and security, promote human rights, foster social and economic development, and provide a forum for dialogue and cooperation among member states. It encompasses a wide range of specialized agencies, programs, and bodies that work on diverse issues, including economic development, environmental protection, health, education, and humanitarian assistance.

Scope of Activities

G20: The G20’s agenda primarily focuses on economic and financial issues, including macroeconomic policy coordination, financial regulation, trade, investment, and development finance. While the G20 may address broader issues such as climate change and sustainable development, its primary emphasis remains on economic governance and cooperation.

United Nations: The United Nations addresses a wide range of global challenges, including peace and security, human rights, sustainable development, climate change, humanitarian crises, and global health. It serves as a platform for multilateral diplomacy, negotiation, and consensus-building on pressing global issues, with a focus on promoting peace, prosperity, and human well-being.

Complementarity and Collaboration

Policy Coordination: The G20 and the United Nations collaborate on issues of mutual concern, with each organization bringing its expertise and resources to the table. While the G20 focuses on economic policy coordination and financial stability, the United Nations provides a broader framework for addressing social, environmental, and humanitarian challenges.

Implementation of Agreements: The G20 and the United Nations work together to implement international agreements and commitments, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The G20’s endorsement of these agreements provides political momentum and support for their implementation within the broader UN framework.

Representation and Engagement

Membership: The G20 comprises major advanced and emerging economies, as well as representatives from the European Union, totaling 19 individual countries and the EU. In contrast, the United Nations has a universal membership of 193 member states, providing a more inclusive platform for global dialogue and cooperation.

Engagement: While the G20 operates independently of the United Nations, it often consults with the UN and its specialized agencies on issues within their respective mandates. UN representatives, including the Secretary-General and relevant agency heads, may participate in G20 meetings as observers or guest speakers, providing input and expertise on specific topics.

Policy Alignment and Consistency

Policy Synergy: The G20 and the United Nations strive to align their policies and initiatives to ensure coherence and consistency in addressing global challenges. This includes promoting policy synergies between economic growth, social development, and environmental sustainability to achieve sustainable and inclusive outcomes.

Policy Integration: Efforts are made to integrate economic, social, and environmental considerations into policymaking processes at both the G20 and UN levels, recognizing the interdependence of these dimensions and their impact on global well-being.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x