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Group of Twenty
Formation26 September 1999 (24 years ago) (1999-09-26)
2008 (2008) (heads-of-state/heads-of-government summits)
TypeInternational organization
PurposeBring together systemically important industrialized and developing economies to discuss key issues in the global economy.[1]
Chairman (Incumbent)
Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil
Websiteg20.org Edit this at Wikidata[2]

The G20 or Group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 sovereign countries, the European Union (EU), and the African Union (AU).[3][4] It works to address major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation and sustainable development.[5]

The G20 is composed of most of the world's largest economies' finance ministries, including both industrialised and developing countries; it accounts for around 80% of gross world product (GWP),[6] 75% of international trade,[b] two-thirds of the global population,[7] and 60% of the world's land area.

The G20 was founded in 1999 in response to several world economic crises.[8] Since 2008, it has convened at least once a year, with summits involving each member's head of government or state, finance minister, or foreign minister, and other high-ranking officials; the EU is represented by the European Commission and the European Central Bank.[9][10][c] Other countries, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations are invited to attend the summits, some permanently. In 2023, during its 2023 summit, the African Union joined as its 21st member.

In its 2009 summit, the G20 declared itself the primary venue for international economic and financial cooperation.[11] The group's stature has risen during the subsequent decade, and it is recognised by analysts as exercising considerable global influence;[12] it is also criticised for its limited membership,[13] lack of enforcement powers,[14] and for the alleged undermining of existing international institutions.[13] Summits are often met with protests, particularly by anti-globalization groups.[15][16]



The G20 is the latest in a series of post–World War II initiatives aimed at international coordination of economic policy, which include institutions such as the "Bretton Woods twins", the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and what is now the World Trade Organization.[17]

The G20 was foreshadowed at the Cologne summit of the G7 in June 1999, and formally established at the G7 Finance Ministers' meeting on 26 September 1999 with an inaugural meeting on 15–16 December 1999 in Berlin. Canadian finance minister Paul Martin was chosen as the first chairman and German finance minister Hans Eichel hosted the meeting.[18]

A 2004 report by Colin I. Bradford and Johannes F. Linn of the Brookings Institution asserted the group was founded primarily at the initiative of Eichel, the concurrent chair of the G7.[19] However, Bradford later described then-Finance Minister of Canada (and future Prime Minister of Canada) Paul Martin as "the crucial architect of the formation of the G20 at finance minister level", and as the one who later "proposed that the G20 countries move to leaders level summits".[20] Canadian academic and journalistic sources have also identified the G20 as a project initiated by Martin and his American counterpart then-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.[21][22][23][24] All acknowledge, however, that Germany and the United States played a key role in bringing their vision into reality.[citation needed]

Martin and Summers conceived of the G20 in response to the series of massive debt crises that had spread across emerging markets in the late 1990s, beginning with the Mexican peso crisis and followed by the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the 1998 Russian financial crisis, and eventually impacting the United States, most prominently in the form of the collapse of the prominent hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management in the autumn of 1998.[21][22][23] It illustrated to them that in a rapidly globalizing world, the G7, G8, and the Bretton Woods system would be unable to provide financial stability, and they conceived of a new, broader permanent group of major world economies that would give a voice and new responsibilities in providing it.[21][23]

The G20 membership was decided by Eichel's deputy Caio Koch-Weser and Summers's deputy Timothy Geithner. According to the political economist Robert Wade:

"Geithner and Koch-Weser went down the list of countries saying, Canada in, Portugal out, South Africa in, Nigeria and Egypt out, and so on; they sent their list to the other G7 finance ministries; and the invitations to the first meeting went out."[25]

Early topics


The G20's primary focus has been governance of the global economy. Summit themes have varied from year to year. The theme of the 2006 G20 ministerial meeting was "Building and Sustaining Prosperity". The issues discussed included domestic reforms to achieve "sustained growth", global energy and resource commodity markets, reform of the World Bank and IMF, and the impact of demographic changes.

In 2007, South Africa hosted the secretariat with Trevor A. Manuel, South African Minister of Finance as chairperson of the G20.

In 2008, Guido Mantega, Brazil's Minister of Finance, was the G20 chairperson and proposed dialogue on competition in financial markets, clean energy, economic development and fiscal elements of growth and development.

On 11 October 2008 after a meeting of G8 finance ministers, US President George W. Bush stated that the next meeting of the G20 would be important in finding solutions to the burgeoning economic crisis of 2008.



The Summit of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, who prepare the leaders' summit and implement their decisions, was created as a response both to the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and to a growing recognition that key emerging countries were not adequately included in the core of global economic discussion and governance. Additionally, G20 summits of heads of state or government were held.

After the 2008 debut summit in Washington, DC, G20 leaders met twice a year: in London and Pittsburgh in 2009, and in Toronto and Seoul in 2010.[26]

Since 2011, when France chaired and hosted the G20, the summits have been held only once a year.[27] The 2016 summit was held in Hangzhou, China,[28] the 2017 summit was held in Hamburg, Germany, the 2018 summit was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the 2019 summit was held in Osaka, Japan, the 2020 summit was scheduled in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia but it was held virtually due to COVID-19, the 2021 summit was held in Rome, Italy, the 2022 summit was held in Bali, Indonesia and the 2023 summit was held in New Delhi, India. The 2024 Group of 20 (G20) Summit will take place from 18-19 November in Brazil.[29]

Several other ministerial-level G20 meetings have been held since 2010. Agriculture ministerial meetings were conducted in 2011 and 2012; meetings of foreign ministers were held in 2012 and 2013; trade ministers met in 2012 and 2014, and employment ministerial meetings have taken place annually since 2010.[30]

In 2012, the G20 Ministers of Tourism and Heads of Delegation of G20 member countries and other invited States, as well as representatives from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and other organisations in the Travel & Tourism sector met in Mérida, Mexico, on May 16 at the 4th G20 meeting and focused on 'Tourism as a means to Job Creation'. As a result of this meeting and The World Travel & Tourism Council's Visa Impact Research, later on the Leaders of the G20, convened in Los Cabos on 18–19 June, would recognise the impact of Travel & Tourism for the first time. That year, the G20 Leaders Declaration added the following statement: "We recognise the role of travel and tourism as a vehicle for job creation, economic growth and development, and, while recognizing the sovereign right of States to control the entry of foreign nationals, we will work towards developing travel facilitation initiatives in support of job creation, quality work, poverty reduction and global growth."[31]

In March 2014, the former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop, when Australia was hosting the 2014 G20 summit in Brisbane, proposed to ban Russia from the summit over its annexation of Ukrainian Crimea.[32] The BRICS foreign ministers subsequently reminded Bishop that "the custodianship of the G20 belongs to all Member States equally and no one Member State can unilaterally determine its nature and character."

The 2015 G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, focused on "Inclusiveness, Investment, and Implementation," gathering leaders to address global economic challenges, development, climate change, and urgent issues like terrorism and refugees. Key outcomes included the Antalya Action Plan and commitments to financial stability, tax regulation, and energy policy.[33][34]

In 2016, the G20 framed its commitment to the 2030 Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals in three key themes; the promotion of strong sustainable and balanced growth; protection of the planet from degradation; and furthering co-operation with low-income and developing countries. At the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, members agreed on an action plan and issued a high level principles document to member countries to help facilitate the agenda's implementation.[35][36]

Japan hosted the 2019 summit,[37] The 2020 summit was to be held in Saudi Arabia,[38] but was instead held virtually on 21–22 November 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic under the presidency of Saudi Arabia. 2021 G20 Rome summit which was held in Rome, the capital city of Italy, on 30–31 October 2021.

Indonesia held the 2022 summit in November 2022. During its presidency, Indonesia focused on the global COVID-19 pandemic and how to collectively overcome the challenges related to it. The three priorities of Indonesia's G20 presidency were global health architecture, digital transformations, and sustainable energy transitions.[39] The G20 Presidency of Indonesia, in partnership with the Pandemic Fund secretariat, also officially launched the Pandemic Fund at a high-level event. The Pandemic Fund to be expected as a key part of the solution for reducing risks from epidemics and pandemics in the most vulnerable parts of the world and contributing to a healthier and safer world [40]

Azali Assoumani, President of the African Union, is greeted by Narendra Modi, G20 Chairman, at the G20 summit in 2023.

India held the 2023 summit in September 2023.[41] The presidency's theme was Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (Sanskrit: वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्; English:"One Earth, One Family, One Future"[d]).[42][43] In an interview on 26 August 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed optimism about the G20 countries' evolving agenda under India's presidency, shifting toward a human-centric development approach that aligns with the concerns of the Global South, including addressing climate change, debt restructuring through the G20's Common Framework for debt, and a strategy for regulation of global cryptocurrencies. G20 expanded by the inclusion of African Union, it is also the first inclusion since 1999.[44][45][46]

The Brazilian presidency launched the G20 Social, a place where for the first time the organization will bring the civil society into the debate where it can participate and contribute to discussions and policy formulations regarding to the summit.[47]

Chair rotation


To decide which member nation gets to chair the G20 leaders' meeting for a given year, all members, except the European Union and African Union, are assigned to one of five different groupings, with all but one group having four members, the other having three. States from the same region are placed in the same group, except Group 1 and Group 2. All countries within a group are eligible to take over the G20 Presidency when it is their group's turn. Therefore, the states within the relevant group need to negotiate among themselves to select the next G20 President. Each year, a different G20 member country assumes the presidency starting from 1 December until 30 November. This system has been in place since 2010, when South Korea, which is in Group 5, held the G20 chair. The table below lists the nations' groupings:[48][49]

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 (Americas) Group 4 (Western Europe) Group 5 (East Asia)

To ensure continuity, the presidency is supported by a "troika" made up of the current, immediate past and next host countries.[50]



The G20 operates without a permanent secretariat or staff. The group's chair rotates annually among the members and is selected from a different regional grouping of countries. The incumbent chair establishes a temporary secretariat for the duration of its term, which coordinates the group's work and organizes its meetings. The 2022 summit was held in Bali, Indonesia. India was the chair in 2023 and hosted the 2023 summit. Brazil is the current chair and will host the 2024 summit.[51]

Proposed permanent secretariat


In 2010, President of France Nicolas Sarkozy proposed the establishment of a permanent G20 secretariat, similar to the United Nations. Seoul and Paris were suggested as possible locations for its headquarters.[52] Brazil and China supported the establishment of a secretariat, while Italy and Japan expressed opposition to the proposal.[52] South Korea proposed a "cyber secretariat" as an alternative.[52] It has been argued that the G20 has been using the OECD as a secretariat.[53]



As of 2023, there are 21 members in the group: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union and the African Union. Guest invitees include, amongst others, Spain, the United Nations, the World Bank and ASEAN.[54][55]

Representatives include, at the leaders' summits, the leaders of nineteen countries, the African Union and of the European Union, and, at the ministerial-level meetings, the finance ministers and central bank governors of nineteen countries, the African Union and of the European Union.

In addition, each year, the G20's guests include Spain;[56] the Chair of ASEAN; a representative of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and a country (sometimes more than one) invited by the presidency, usually from its own region.[7][57][58]

The first of the tables below lists the member entities and their leaders, finance ministers and central bank governors. The second table lists relevant statistics such as population and GDP figures for each member, as well as detailing memberships of other international organizations, such as the G7, BRICS and MIKTA. Total GDP figures are given in millions of US dollars.

In September 2023, at the 18th G20 Summit, Indian PM Narendra Modi announced that the African Union has been included as a member of the G20, making it the 21st member.[59]


Member Leader Finance portfolio Portfolio minister Central bank Central bank governor
 Argentina Javier Milei Minister of Economy Luis Caputo Central Bank of the Argentine Republic Santiago Bausili [es]
 Australia Anthony Albanese Treasurer Jim Chalmers Reserve Bank of Australia Michele Bullock
 Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Minister of Finance Fernando Haddad Central Bank of Brazil Roberto Campos Neto
 Canada Justin Trudeau Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem
 China Xi Jinping[60] Minister of Finance Lan Fo'an People's Bank of China Pan Gongsheng
Li Qiang[61][62]
 France Emmanuel Macron Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire Bank of France François Villeroy de Galhau
 Germany Olaf Scholz Minister of Finance Christian Lindner Deutsche Bundesbank Joachim Nagel
 India Narendra Modi Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman Reserve Bank of India Shaktikanta Das
 Indonesia Joko Widodo Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Bank Indonesia Perry Warjiyo
 Italy Giorgia Meloni Minister of Economy and Finance Giancarlo Giorgetti Bank of Italy Fabio Panetta
 Japan Fumio Kishida Minister of Finance Shun'ichi Suzuki Bank of Japan Kazuo Ueda
 Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador Secretary of Finance and Public Credit Rogelio Ramírez de la O Bank of Mexico Victoria Rodríguez Ceja [es]
 Russia Vladimir Putin Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina
 Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan Saudi Central Bank Fahad Almubarak
 South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana South African Reserve Bank Lesetja Kganyago
 South Korea Yoon Suk Yeol Minister of Economy and Finance Choi Sang-mok Bank of Korea Rhee Chang-yong
 Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Minister of Treasury and Finance Mehmet Şimşek Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey Fatih Karahan
 United Kingdom Keir Starmer Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves Bank of England Andrew Bailey
 United States Joe Biden Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen Federal Reserve Jerome Powell
 European Union[63] Charles Michel Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni European Central Bank Christine Lagarde
Ursula von der Leyen
 African Union Mohamed Ould Ghazouani Commissioner for Economic Affairs[64] Victor Harison[64] African Central Bank (yet to be established) TBA
Moussa Faki

Member country data

Member Trade
bil. USD (2022)[65]
Nom. GDP
mil. USD (2024)[66]
mil. USD (2024)[66]
Nom. GDP per capita
USD (2024)[66]
PPP GDP per capita
USD (2024)[66]
P5 G4 G7 BRICS MIKTA DAC OECD C'wth NATO SCO IMF economy classification[69][70]
 Argentina 170.1 604,260 1,244,646 12,812 26,390 0.849 46,300,000 2,780,400 No No No No No No No No No No Emerging
 Australia 721.4 1,790,348 1,791,358 66,589 66,627 0.946 26,141,369 7,692,024 No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes global partner No Advanced
 Brazil 626.4 2,331,391 4,273,668 11,352 20,809 0.760 217,240,060 8,515,767 No Yes No Yes No No No No No No Emerging
 Canada 1,179.1 2,242,182 2,472,227 54,866 60,495 0.935 38,743,000 9,984,670 No No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Advanced
 China 6,309.6 18,532,633 35,291,015 13,136 25,015 0.788 1,411,750,000 9,596,960 Yes No No Yes No No No No No Yes Emerging
 France 1,435.8 3,130,014 3,987,911 47,359 60,339 0.910 68,305,148 640,679 Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes No Advanced
 Germany 3,226.9 4,591,100 5,686,531 54,291 67,245 0.950 84,316,622 357,114 No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes No Advanced
 India 1,176.8 3,937,011 14,594,460 2,731 10,123 0.644 1,406,632,000 3,287,263 No Yes No Yes No No No Yes No Yes Emerging
 Indonesia 529.4 1,475,690 4,720,542 5,271 16,861 0.713 279,088,893 1,904,569 No No No No Yes No No No No No Emerging
 Italy 1,346.4 2,328,028 3,347,103 39,580 56,905 0.906 61,095,551 301,336 No No Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes No Advanced
 Japan 1,644.2 4,110,452 6,720,962 33,138 54,184 0.920 125,592,404 377,930 No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No global partner No Advanced
 Mexico 1,204.5 2,017,025 3,434,224 15,249 25,963 0.781 131,541,424 1,964,375 No No No No Yes No Yes No No No Emerging
 South Korea 1,415.0 1,760,947 3,057,995 34,165 59,330 0.929 51,844,834 100,210 No No No No Yes Yes Yes No global partner No Advanced
 Russia 772.3 2,056,844 5,472,880 14,391 38,292 0.821 145,807,429 17,098,242 Yes No No Yes No No No No PfP Yes Emerging
 Saudi Arabia 598.8 1,106,015 2,354,392 33,040 70,333 0.875 36,168,000 2,149,690 No No No No No No No No No Dialogue partner Emerging
 South Africa 259.1 373,233 1,025,930 5,975 16,424 0.717 61,060,000 1,221,037 No No No Yes No No No Yes No No Emerging
 Turkey 617.9 1,113,561 3,831,533 12,765 43,921 0.855 85,551,932 783,562 No No No No Yes No Yes No Yes Dialogue partner Emerging
 United Kingdom 1,353.3 3,495,261 4,029,438 51,075 58,880 0.940 68,492,933 242,495 Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Advanced
 United States 5,441.0 28,781,083 28,781,083 85,373 85,373 0.927 337,341,954 9,833,517 Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes No Advanced
 European Union [e]5,858.4 18,977,627 26,308,203 42,443 58,838 0.900 446,828,803 4,233,262 No No Yes No No Yes No No No No Advanced (majority)[f]
 African Union 1,379.0 2,807,400 9,490,335 [g]1,956 [h]6,612 [i]0.577 [j]1,393,676,444 29,922,059 No No No No No No No No No No Emerging

In addition to these 21 members, the chief executive officers of several other international forums and institutions participate in meetings of the G20.[7] These include the managing director and Chairman of the International Monetary Fund, the President of the World Bank, the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Chairman of the Development Assistance Committee.

The G20's membership does not reflect exactly the 21 largest economies of the world in any given year; as the organization states:[1]

In a forum such as the G20, it is particularly important for the number of countries involved to be restricted and fixed to ensure the effectiveness and continuity of its activity. There are no formal criteria for G20 membership and the composition of the group has remained unchanged since it was established. Because of the objectives of the G20, it was considered important that countries and regions of systemic significance for the international financial system be included. Aspects such as geographical balance and population representation also played a major part.

Role of Asian countries


A 2011 report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicted that large Asian economies such as China and India would play a more important role in global economic governance in the future. The report claimed that the rise of emerging market economies heralded a new world order, in which the G20 would become the global economic steering committee.[71] The ADB furthermore noted that Asian countries had led the global recovery following the late-2000s recession. It predicted that the region would have a greater presence on the global stage, shaping the G20's agenda for balanced and sustainable growth through strengthening intraregional trade and stimulating domestic demand.[71]


G20 members (dark blue), countries represented through the European Union (light blue) and previously invited states (pink) as of 2016.

Typically, several participants that are not full members of the G20 are extended invitations to participate in the summits. Permanent guest invitees are: the government of Spain; the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a representative of the New Partnership for Africa's Development are invited in their capacities as leaders of their organisations and as heads of government of their home states. In addition, the leaders of the Financial Stability Board, the International Labour Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations, the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization are invited and participate in pre-summit planning within the policy purview of their respective organisation.[72][56][73]

Other invitees are chosen by the host country, usually one or two countries from its region.[73] For example, South Korea invited Singapore. International organisations which have been invited in the past include the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC), the European Central Bank (ECB), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Global Governance Group (3G) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Previously, the Netherlands had a similar status to Spain while the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union would also receive an invitation, but only in that capacity and not as their own state's leader (such as the Czech premiers Mirek Topolánek and Jan Fischer during the 2009 summits).

Permanent guest invitees

Invitee Officeholder State Official title
International Labour Organization (ILO) Gilbert Houngbo Director General
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva Managing Director
Spain[56] Pedro Sánchez  Spain Prime Minister
New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA-NEPAD) Abdel Fattah El-Sisi  Egypt President (chair)
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Mathias Cormann Secretary-General
United Nations (UN) António Guterres Secretary-General
World Bank Group (WBG) Ajay Banga President
World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Director General
World Trade Organization (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Director General



Financial focus


The initial G20 agenda, as conceived by US, Canadian and German policymakers, was very much focused on the sustainability of sovereign debt and global financial stability, in an inclusive format that would bring in the largest developing economies as equal partners. During a summit in November 2008, the leaders of the group pledged to contribute trillions to international financial organizations, including the World Bank and IMF, mainly for re-establishing the global financial system.[74][75]

Since inception, the recurring themes covered by G20 summit participants have related in priority to global economic growth, international trade and financial market regulation.[76]

The G20 has led the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, through which official bilateral creditors suspended debt repayments of 73 of the poorest debtor countries.[77]: 134 

Growth and sustainability


The G20 countries account for almost 75% of global carbon emissions.[78] After the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, more "issues of global significance"[76][79] were added to the G20 agenda: migration, digitisation, employment, healthcare, the economic empowerment of women, development aid[80] and stopping climate change.[81]

The G20 countries account for almost 75% of the global carbon emissions and promised in 2009 to phase out 'inefficient subsidies'. Despite these promises G20 members have subsidised fossil fuel companies over $3.3 trillion between 2015 and 2021,[78] with several states increasing subsidies; Australia (+48.2%), the US (+36.7%), Indonesia (+26.6%), France (+23.8%), China (+4.1%), Brazil (+3.0%), Mexico (+2.6%).[78] China alone generates over half of the coal-generated electricity in the world.[82]

Interrelated themes


Wolfgang Schäuble, German Federal Minister of Finance, has insisted on the interconnected nature of the issues facing G20 countries, be they purely financial or developmental, and the need to reach effective, cross-cutting policy measures: "Globalization has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty, but there is also a growing rise in frustration in some quarters […] development, [national] security and migration are all interlinked"[79]

G20 Engagement Groups


The G20 Engagement Groups and Pre-Conferences are independent collectives that are led by organisations of the host country. They represent a diverse group of stakeholders and work collectively to develop non-binding policy recommendations formally submitted to the G20 leaders for consideration.

For the 2022 G20 hosted by Indonesia, there are 10 Engagement Groups formed to facilitate independent stakeholders in developing proposals and policy recommendations for G20 leaders.

Startup20 and other few engagement groups initiated under the G20 India Presidency of 2023.[83]

Influence and accountability


The G20's prominent membership gives it a strong input on global policy despite lacking any formal ability to enforce rules. There are disputes over the legitimacy of the G20,[84] and criticisms of its organisation and the efficacy of its declarations.[85]

The G20's transparency and accountability have been questioned by critics, who call attention to the absence of a formal charter and the fact that the most important G20 meetings are closed-door.[86] In 2001, the economist Frances Stewart proposed an Economic Security Council within the United Nations as an alternative to the G20. In such a council, members would be elected by the General Assembly based on their importance to the world economy, and the contribution they are willing to provide to world economic development.[87]

The cost and extent of summit-related security is often a contentious issue in the hosting country, and G20 summits have attracted protesters from a variety of backgrounds, including information activists, opponents of fractional-reserve banking and anti-capitalists. In 2010, the Toronto G20 summit sparked mass protests and rioting, leading to the largest mass arrest in Canada's history.[88]

Views on the G20's exclusivity of membership


Although the G20 has stated that the group's "economic weight and broad membership gives it a high degree of legitimacy and influence over the management of the global economy and financial system",[89] its legitimacy has been challenged. A 2011 report for the Danish Institute for International Studies criticised the G20's exclusivity, particularly highlighting its underrepresentation of African countries and its practice of inviting observers from non-member states as a mere "concession at the margins", which does not grant the organisation representational legitimacy.[90] Concerning the membership issue, US President Barack Obama noted the difficulty of pleasing everyone: "Everybody wants the smallest possible group that includes them. So, if they're the 21st largest nation in the world, they want the G-21, and think it's highly unfair if they have been cut out."[91] Others stated in 2011 that the exclusivity is not an insurmountable problem and proposed mechanisms by which it could become more inclusive.[92]

Norwegian perspective


In line with Norway's emphasis on inclusive international processes, the United Nations, and the UN system, in a 2010 interview with Der Spiegel, the current prime minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre called the G20 "one of the greatest setbacks since World War II"[13] as 173 states who are all members of the UN are not among the G20. This includes Norway, a major developed economy and the seventh-largest contributor to UN international development programs,[93] which is not a member state of the EU, and thus is not represented in the G20 even indirectly.[13] Norway, like other such states, has little or no voice within the group. Støre argued that the G20 undermines the legitimacy of international organizations set up in the aftermath of World War II, such as the IMF, World Bank and United Nations:

The G20 is a self-appointed group. Its composition is determined by the major countries and powers. It may be more representative than the G7 or the G8, in which only the richest countries are represented, but it is still arbitrary. We no longer live in the 19th century, a time when the major powers met and redrew the map of the world. No one needs a new Congress of Vienna.[13]

However, Norway, has moderated this position in practice, and has contributed to a number of G20-work streams for years, in particular on health, energy and climate. Under the government of Erna Solberg, Norway attended the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.[94]

Spanish position on membership


Spain is the world's fifteenth largest economy by nominal GDP (the sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity), the fourth in the European Union, the second among Spanish-speaking countries, the third in Iberoamerica. In addition, since the 1990s several Spanish companies have gained multinational status, and Spain is an important foreign investor worldwide. Its numbers[clarification needed] clearly exceed the numbers of several current members of the G20 such as Argentina or South Africa. This has led to what Henley et al consider to be a de facto position as a member of the G20. However, Spain, a permanent guest, does not plan to request official membership.[56]

Polish aspirations


In contrast with the Spanish position, the Polish government has repeatedly asked to join the G20.

Before the 2009 G20 London summit, the Polish government expressed an interest in joining with Spain and the Netherlands and condemned an "organisational mess" in which a few European leaders spoke in the name of the collective EU without legitimate authorisation in cases which belong to the European Commission.[citation needed]

During a 2010 meeting with foreign diplomats, Polish president Lech Kaczyński said:

The Polish economy is according to our data the 18th world economy. The place of my country is among the members of the G20. This is a very simple postulate: firstly – it results from the size of the Polish economy, secondly – it results from the fact that Poland is the biggest country in its region and the biggest country that has experienced a certain story. That story is a political and economic transformation.[95]

In 2012, Tim Ferguson wrote in Forbes that swapping Argentina for Poland should be considered, claiming that the Polish economy was headed toward a leadership role in Europe and its membership would be more legitimate.[96][97] A similar opinion was expressed by Marcin Sobczyk in the Wall Street Journal.[98] Mamta Murthi from the World Bank said: "To be in 'a club', what Poland can do is to continue working as if it already is in the club it wants to join."[99]

In 2014, consulting company Ernst & Young published its report about optimal members for G20. After analyzing trade, institutional and investment links Poland was included as one of the optimal members.[100]

G20 membership has been part of the look program of Poland's Law and Justice party and President Andrzej Duda.[101] In March 2017, Deputy Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki took part in a meeting of G20 financial ministers in Baden-Baden as the first Polish representative.[102][103]

Global Governance Group (3G) response


In June 2010, Singapore's representative to the United Nations warned the G20 that its decisions would affect "all countries, big and small", and asserted that prominent non-G20 members should be included in financial reform discussions.[104] Singapore thereafter took a leading role in organizing the Global Governance Group (3G), an informal grouping of 30 non-G20 countries (including several microstates and many Third World countries) to collectively channel their views into the G20 process more effectively.[105][106][107] Singapore's chairing of the 3G was cited as a rationale for inviting Singapore to the November 2010 G20 summit in South Korea,[108] as well as 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 summits.[citation needed]

Foreign Policy critiques


The American magazine Foreign Policy has published articles condemning the G20, in terms of its principal function as an alternative to the supposedly exclusive G8. It questions the actions of some of the G20 members and advances the notion that some states should not have membership in the first place. Furthermore, with the effects of the Great Recession still ongoing, the magazine has criticized the G20's efforts to implement reforms of the world's financial institutions, branding such efforts as failures.[109]

Calls for removal of Russia


In March 2022, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden called for the removal of Russia from the group. Alternatively, he suggested that Ukraine be allowed to attend the G20 2022 summit, despite its lack of membership.[110] Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said the group should "re-evaluate" Russia's participation.[111] Russia claims it would not be a significant issue, as most G20 members are already fighting Russia economically due to the war.[112] China suggested that expelling Russia would be counterproductive.[110] In November 2022, Indonesia and Russia stated that Vladimir Putin would not attend the G20 summit in person, but may attend virtually.[113] During the 2022 summit, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared in a video statement and repeatedly addressed the assembly as the 'G19' as a means of indicating his viewpoint that Russia should be removed from the group.[114]

See also



  1. ^ 19 countries, the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU)
  2. ^ If excluding EU intra-trade, 59%.
  3. ^ Summits were biannual in 2009 and 2010; since the November 2011 Cannes summit, G20 summits have been annual.
  4. ^ literally mean 'The World Is One Family'
  5. ^ Excluding intra-EU trade. The complete number according to https://stats.wto.org/dashboard/merchandise_en.html in 2022 is 14,610.4 bil. USD
  6. ^ 23 out of 27 EU states are classified as advanced
  7. ^ https://www.imf.org/external/datamapper/NGDPDPC@WEO/AFQ
  8. ^ https://www.imf.org/external/datamapper/PPPPC@WEO/AFQ
  9. ^ 2020
  10. ^ 2021


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Further reading