The Group of Twenty (G20) was created in 1999, in response to the financial crises in Mexico (1994),
Asia (1997) and Russia (1998).
The grouping was initially conceived as a forum for informal dialogue between finance ministers and central bank governors of developed and emerging economies, with the aim to meet the challenges pertaining to the instability of the international financial system. When the global financial crisis erupted in 2008, the G20 countries decided to elevate the participation of authorities to head of state and government level. Since then, the G20 has expanded its agenda to address issues that go beyond the economic and financial sphere. Today, it includes themes such as sustainable development, fight against corruption, digital economy, energy, infrastructure, climate change, employment, health and education.
The G20 is the primary mechanism of global economic governance. Together the countries of the group account for 90 per cent of global GDP, 80 per cent of international trade and two thirds of the world's population. Therefore, it is a grouping with great collective political and economic power, with the potential to influence the international agenda, promote debates on the main global challenges and adopt joint initiatives to stimulate inclusive growth and sustainable development.
The G20 is of central importance for Brazil as it is a global governance forum that brings together the world's largest economies in a flexible format, thus facilitating discussions and consensus-building. These features are particularly relevant today, when the role of multilateralism has been questioned especially, but not only, in areas such as international trade.
The Group is comprised of South Africa, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, South Korea, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey and the European Union. In addition to permanent members, guest countries of the current Argentine presidency include Spain, Chile, the Netherlands, Jamaica (representing the Caribbean Community - CARICOM), Rwanda (representing the African Union - AU), Senegal (representing the New Partnership for Africa's Development - NEPAD) and Singapore (representing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations - ASEAN). Other Heads of State and Government have been invited to exclusively attend the Summit.
The G20 is not an international organization, unlike the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. For this reason, it does not have a permanent secretariat nor its own resources. The G20 has a rotating presidency, and the Leaders (Heads of State and Government) meet annually since 2011 (from 2008 to 2010, half-yearly meetings were held). The grouping has two working tracks: the finance track and the sherpas track (in reference to assistants who guide climbers in the high mountains). The finance track is coordinated by the Ministry of Finance, with the participation of the Central Bank, and takes part in debates on global economy; international financial system; infrastructure; cooperation on taxation; financial inclusion and sustainable finance. The sherpa track is coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and includes discussions on international trade and investment, agriculture, energy, climate change, digital economy, labour, health, education, sustainable development and fight against corruption.
The Brazilian sherpa for the Osaka Summit 2019 is ambassador Norberto Moretti, Secretary of Foreign Trade and Economic Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In Osaka, Brazil will reiterate its commitment to democracy and economic reforms at the national level, as well as to supporting dialogue and multilateralism at the international level.