Road to G20 Summit
Approximately 100 days ago, Mexico took over the presidency of the G20. There still remain a similar number of days until the most important meeting of this presidency: the summit which will take place in Los Cabos on June 18 and 19. Today, at the half-way point along the road to the summit, it is a good time to pause and reflect on the progress already made, as well as the tasks we still need to finish in order to make Los Cabos a success.
There can be no doubt of the importance of the Los Cabos Summit. Mexico took over the G20 presidency in the midst of a complex global economic situation. Our chances of coming through this difficult phase will depend on the ability of the international community to go beyond unilateral actions and coordinate their policies. That demands leadership, and it is for this reason that the G20 has such an important role to play.
In a short period of time, the G20 has become the mechanism par excellence to coordinate economic policies, promote improvements to the international financial architecture, and contribute to a stable environment which is conducive to growth and development in all countries. It is the best tool we have to overcome, in an orderly fashion, the global economic challenges that we currently face.
Mexico has adopted an active and constructive role in this process. Meetings of sherpas, finance ministers, their deputies, and central bank governors, as well as the recent and unprecedented foreign ministers’ meeting, have allowed in-depth discussion of the Mexican G20 presidency’s priorities. In other working group meetings, seminars and workshops, progress has been made on issues such as growth, the international financial architecture and financial regulation.
The first G20 foreign ministers’ meeting, to which nine non-member countries were also invited, allowed the most important challenges for global governance to be analyzed in a critical and constructive manner. Fundamental issues, such as the legitimacy and effectiveness of the G20, as well as its interaction with national interests and global challenges, were discussed.
Foreign ministers recommended, amongst other things, that better use should be made of multilateral institutions, and that commitments made at previous summits should be rigorously followed up on. They emphasized the role that foreign ministers should play in order to bring greater coherence to the work of various ministries and agencies involved in tackling global challenges.
Finance ministers have also reached some significant agreements. Amongst other issues, the following commitments stand out: to focus efforts on economic recovery and job creation; to evaluate the Eurozone’s capacity to dedicate greater resources to creating an effective firewall; to adopt an agenda on financial inclusion and education; to produce a report on the effects of commodity price volatility; and to commission a report on green growth.
Finally, Sherpas have approved specific guidelines for work on agriculture, employment and business, and have monitored progress made in ministerial meetings and working groups. In addition, for the first time in the G20, consultation with the academic community has been put on an official footing, through the meeting entitled “Think20,” in addition to other outreach activities to various sectors of society: the business community (B20), young people (Y20), trade unions (L20), and non-governmental organizations, all of whose contributions will help to enrich leaders’ discussions at Los Cabos.
The next 100 days will allow us to keep on advancing an agenda that looks beyond the urgent, without neglecting the most pressing issues. It is an agenda focused on structural reform issues which will be crucial in the medium term. In order to achieve our desired outcomes, over the coming weeks further meetings of sherpas, finance ministers, trade ministers, finance deputies and various working groups will take place. That will allow us to take forward the agenda on growth, development, financial inclusion, employment, energy and commodities.
Our objective is to show the value of the G20 in finding solutions for the problems that affect the world. The work of the G20 should be reflected in sustainable growth and equitable development. Because of this, its outcomes must lead not only to better global governance but also, and above all, to tangible progress for society as a whole.
Its financial stability, and the experience that it has acquired through overcoming various economic crises in the past, together with its successes as organizer and president of COP16, has given Mexico not only the capacity to head up the most important forum for global governance, but also the international standing that is necessary in order to transform the wide range of global challenges that we face into opportunities for the future development of our societies. I am sure that at the Los Cabos Summit, Mexico will fulfill its role as a responsible, constructive and respected actor on the international stage.
Lourdes Aranda is Mexico’s vice minister of foreign affairs and sherpa to the G20.