Can G20 Rescue the World?

The Khmer Times, 5 September 2016

The world is facing an economic slowdown, accelerating global climate change, growing violence and conflicts, rising inequality and resurging protectionism and inward-looking political leadership.
As global trade is growing slower and competition is intensifying, some countries have adopted or are tempted to opt for a weaker currency strategy to shore up their competitiveness.
And some other countries are planning to adopt more protectionist trade policies to protect their domestic enterprises and industries from losing out in an intense global competition.
The global growth rate has been modest, about three percent. Global economic health is getting weaker with increased uncertainty and risks.
The world needs a strong adaptive leadership and flexible institutions that can reinforce an open, inclusive, sustainable and resilient global economic system.
Strengthening inclusive global governance and implementing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals are the core missions of the global leaders.
Under the theme “Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy,” the G20 summit has kicked off in Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province, with the aim of providing remedies to help world economic growth.
The G20 is an international forum of 20 economic powerhouses. The members include 19 countries from developed and emerging economies and the European Union.
From Southeast Asia, Indonesia is a member of the G20, while the chair of Asean and some other Asean members are normally invited to attend as honorary guests.
With two-thirds of the world’s population, the G20 accounts for 85 percent of the world’s GDP. It is truly an important global platform to address global issues and challenges.
Trade and investment openness, broad-based structural reforms especially in fiscal and monetary policies, technological innovation, financial inclusion, sustainable development, good governance, anti-corruption, connectivity, and inclusiveness are the main themes of this summit.
Innovative growth and the digital economy are expected to energize the future global economy.
As the world economy is facing ascending disparity and inequality, it is necessary and urgent to find a balance between productivity and efficiency-driven growth and fairness, justice and inclusiveness.
Global governance requires serious institutional reforms in order to ensure that everyone is enabled to benefit from global growth, not just a few countries or a minority of people at the top. The interests of the bottom billions must be taken into account.
It is for the first time that the G20 has aligned its agenda with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030. International partnerships for sustainable development need to be enhanced.
“The G20 for the first time puts development issues at the center of the global macro policy framework this year,” China’s President Xi Jinping said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Business 20 summit last Saturday.
On the eve of the summit, China and the United Sates both signed up to the Paris agreement on climate change, a global agreement to chart the course for post-2020 global cooperation against climate change.
The ratification marked a giant step in global collaborative efforts in dealing with climate change and promoting low-carbon growth. The US and China are the two largest world economic powers.
“With China and the United States making this historic step, we now have 26 countries which have ratified and 39 percent of global emissions accounted for, to be exact,” stated Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary-general.
“I urge all leaders, particularly G20 countries, to accelerate their domestic ratification processes so we can turn the aspirations of Paris into the transformative climate action the world so urgently needs,” Mr. Ban added.
Working in partnership with the UN and other international and regional organizations, the G20 plays an increasingly essential role in setting the global agenda, promoting global consensus, directing global leadership with a clear vision and mission and providing adaptive solutions to global problems.
Political rhetoric and diplomatic talks need to commensurate with actions. Responsibility to implement the global agenda issued by the G20 leaders is paramount to rescuing the world from economic uncertainty, unsustainable development and global disparity and inequality.
President Xi emphasized in his opening remarks of the G20 that there was a need to move from a crisis management approach to a “long-term governance” institutional building. G20 needs to “honor its commitment” with “strategic vision.” It needs to be action-oriented instead of a “talk shop.”

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