G20 Summit: Here's what you need to know as India hosts world powers

Leaders to gather in New Delhi on Saturday and Sunday

What is the G20 and what happens at this summit?

What is the G20 and what happens at this summit?
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The Indian capital is geared up to welcome over 40 world leaders and international delegates at the weekend as they congregate for the final summit of the year-long G20 events under New Delhi’s presidency.

The entire city has been cleaned, painted and adorned with massive banners for the two-day G20 Leaders’ Summit on Saturday and Sunday.

The Group of 20 is an international forum comprising 19 countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the EU.

The group accounts for 80 per cent of the world’s economic activity, 75 per cent of international trade and two thirds of the world population, making it the premier forum for international economic co-operation.

It addresses major issues related to the global economy, financial stability, climate change, mitigation and sustainable development.

India assumed the year-long presidency last year to host the summit that will be held in the brand new international convention and exhibition centre – Bharat Mandapam – in the capital.

Global leaders including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend the meeting and discuss economic growth, green development and climate finance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping will skip the summit, with their deputies representing the states at the event.

What is the G20?

The G20 was established in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis as a forum for the finance ministers and central bank governors to discuss global economic and financial issues.

It has since expanded its focus on trade, sustainable development, health, agriculture, energy, the environment, climate change and anti-corruption.

It works on two parallel tracks – the Finance Track and the Sherpa Track.

The Finance Track is led by finance ministers and central bank governors and focuses on issues such as the global economy, infrastructure, financial regulation, financial inclusion, international financial architecture and international taxation.

The Sherpa Track is led by representatives of the leaders and focuses on socio-economic issues such as agriculture, anti-corruption, climate, digital economy, education, employment, energy, environment, health, tourism, trade and investment.

There are also engagement groups focused on business and science comprising non-government participants from each G20 member that draft recommendations to the leaders.

There is no permanent president of the group. The presidency rotates annually among the members based on regional groupings of countries.

India took over the presidency from Indonesia in December last year.

It has organised at least 200 meetings across 50 cities in the country, including the high-profile foreign ministers and finance ministers meetings.

New Delhi will pass on the presidency to Brazil for next year’s summit.


India has invited all the heads of the member countries as well as the heads of the UN, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Health Organisation and World Trade Organisation, among others – the largest delegation ever in the G20.

G20 agenda

The main topics of discussion revolve around reforming international debt structures, increasing loans to developing nations from multilateral institutions, regulating cryptocurrencies and addressing the impact of geopolitical uncertainties on food and energy security.

India has also prioritised climate finance and technology under its Green Development, Climate Finance and Lifestyle for Environment initiative – a special concept to fight climate change.

It is expected to discuss areas that have the potential to bring structural transformation, including supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in global trade, promoting labour rights and welfare and addressing the global skills gap.

Other focus areas are a recommitment to achieving targets outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, promotion of a human-centric approach to technology and increased knowledge-sharing.

There will be a discussion on efforts to reform multilateralism and emphasise inclusive growth and development, with a focus on women's empowerment and representation in order to boost socio-economic development.

The leaders will also declare a joint communique, the Leaders’ Declaration, based on the discussions.

One of the main targets is to reach a consensus on the Russia-Ukraine war.

The leaders declare a joint statement after every summit summarising their commitments and resolving issues.

But since last year, the Russia-Ukraine war has overshadowed the forum, making it difficult for the diplomats to arrive at a consensus.

At last year’s summit in Bali, the leaders declared that the conflict was the cause of existing global economic issues including inflation and disruption of the food supply chain.

The declaration also asked for adherence to international humanitarian laws including the protection of civilians and infrastructure in armed conflicts, safeguarding peace and stability.

Both Russia and China agreed to the paragraphs but withdrew their support this year, saying that the G20 was not the right platform to discuss security issues.

Another agenda item is the possible induction of the African Union, the influential 55-member bloc, as a permanent member.

Updated: September 07, 2023, 2:54 PM