What Is the G-20?:
During the 2008 financial crisis, the first ever G-20 summit was held on November 16-17 in Washington, DC. The leaders of the G-20 countries agreed to regulate hedge funds and debt-rating companies such as Standard & Poor's. They also sought to strengthen standards for accounting and derivatives. Insufficient regulations and standards were blamed for the crisis that turned into a global recession. For more, see U.S. Resists G-20 Summit Call for Global Financial Regulation.
The G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors continue to meet twice a year, usually in coordination with meetings of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the G-20 summits themselves. (Source: University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs, G-20 Information Centre)
Significant G-20 Summit Meetings:
- April 1-2, 2009 - London: G-20 leaders pledged $1 trillion to the IMF and World Bank to help emerging market countries ward off the effects of the recession. For more see G-20 Global Plan Will Shorten Recession.
- September 24-25, 2009 - Pittsburgh: Leaders established a Financial Stability Board that would implement financial reforms. They agreed to increase banks' capital requirements, regulate hedge funds, tax havens and executive pay. For more, see G-20 Summit Start of New World Order?
- June 26-27, 2010 - Toronto: Leaders agreed to cut their budget deficits in half by 2013, and eliminate deficits altogether three years later. For more, see G-20 Summit Focuses on Debt Reduction.
- November 11-12, 2010 - Seoul: In advance of the G-20 meeting, finance ministers pledged to put a stop to the currency wars which threatened to create global inflation. For more, see G-20 Meeting Drives Stocks Up, Dollar Down.
- November 2-4, 2011 - Cannes: The summit was dominated by discussions about addressing the Greek debt crisis. They also agreed on plans to create jobs. For more, see EU Satisfied with Achievements of G20 Summit
In return for continued bailout funds, Germany would like a fiscal union to support the EU's monetary union. This means EU members would give up political control of their budgets to an EU-wide approval process. This is necessary before she would support Euro-wide bonds. (Source: Reuters, G-20 to Press Europe for Lasting Crisis Fix, June 18, 2012)
G-20 Member Nations:
- The eight leading industrialized nations - U.S., Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Canada and Russia. This group of countries also meets on their own, and are known as the G-8).
- Eleven emerging market and smaller industrialized countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, plus the EU.
Why Is the G-20 Important?:
In the past, the leaders of the G-8 could meet and decide on global economic issues without much interference from the BRIC countries. However, these countries have become more important in providing the needs of the G-8 countries: Russia provides most of the natural gas to Europe, China provides much of the manufacturing for the U.S., and India provides high tech services.
- Poverty - The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) leader, John Clarke, said “The whole process of putting together this grouping has been about impoverishing people, and benefiting the richest members of society.” Protesters were against the G-20's focus on fiscal responsibility and austerity at the cost of social programs. They also were opposed to the $1 billion cost of the meeting itself, which was borne by Canadian taxpayers.
- Climate Change - Protesters wanted the G-20 to refocus on global warming as a priority.
- Gender Equality - G-20 countries need to pay more attention to rights for homosexuals and provide funding for family planning, including abortions.
- Immigration - Protesters sought more open borders for immigrants fleeing "humanitarian and climate crisis. (Source: Alixandra Gould, The Faster Times, "What the G-20 Protests Are Really About", June 27, 2010)