The G20 Summit: China Gathers World Leaders [799호]
On Sep. 4-5, China hosted the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China. This marks the 11th time the event has called the world’s heads of state to one place to discuss matters like energy consumption to foreign trade policy. Events like this don’t come every day and its importance should not be undervalued - China’s G20 Summit is no exception.
China’s G20 Summit may have been high on spectacle, with a lakeside gala performance, but perhaps the event’s lasting criticism will be the lack of substance to make real economic progress. An event of this magnitude, gathering the most powerful leaders in the world, should have amounted to some clear and concrete plans on repairing an outdated economic model. But with its member states and their competing priorities, world leaders often play their political tactics in order to gain more favorable outcomes for themselves - ultimately limiting the progress that could have been made.
The G20 is comprised of 19 nations which include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States - the 20th entity being the European Union (EU). But China did not just host the nations that are a part of this select group. The invite list included a record number of guests from the developing world, countries from the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) just to name a few. Originally started in 1999, the G20 was founded to hold discussions on promoting better financial policies between countries. Back then, little was known about the G20, what its purpose was, and what it set out to accomplish.
But its true value and potential was seen during the global financial crisis of 2008. Most financial experts consider this disaster to be the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Mostly caused by a tragic housing market crash, U.S. consumers lost trillions of dollars and forced the collapse of some of the oldest, most trusted banks in American history. Because the U.S. economy plays such a key economic role worldwide, stock markets around the globe plummeted to all-time low levels. Suddenly, the G20 - which accounts for 85 percent of the world’s gross product, 80 percent of world trade, and two-thirds of Earth’s population - became a source of hope amidst the tragedy. Government leaders had a clear way to discuss and collaborate on key issues like new international financial policies and safeguards and financial institution reform. With new guidelines, laws, and modifications in place, world markets were able to recover into what they are today.
Since 2008, the G20 Summit continues to gather world leaders to continue economic discussion among the world’s wealthiest countries. But the annual event has drawn criticism and has faced dwindling importance since the days of the financial crisis. Out of the world’s 196 nations, only 20 of them have an exclusive seat to the table. Many have condemned the G20 for under-representing the rest of the world. After all, who gets to decide who is in and who is not? With a particular disproportionate amount of African countries being represented, critics argue for a system of fairness. Increasingly, citizens around the globe doubt the validity and impact of the forum. But especially after this year’s G20, the people of the world lament the missed opportunities.
John Imm Editorial Team Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. Where was the G20 Summit held?
2. How many countries make up this G20 Summit?
3. What was the main cause of the global financial crisis of 2008?
1. What did you think about the G20?
2. Do you think such meeting is important? Why? Or Why not?
3. If you were one of the world leaders what would you do at the Summit?