What will be on the agenda? – The diplomat

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At the 15th G20 summit in Saudi Arabia in November, it was officially announced that Indonesia will assume the chairmanship of the grouping in 2022. In preparation, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo issued a presidential decree establishing a national committee for the organization of the G20 next year. Mountain peak. The decree, released in May 2021, describes the involvement of various Indonesian ministries in the preparation of the event, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Following Jokowi’s tenure, these three strategic ministries all presented Indonesia’s vision for the G20 Summit. First, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi recently identified some key issues for debate by the 20 most advanced economies in the world. Retno stressed the urgency of focusing on the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of building productivity, resilience, sustainability, partnership and leadership among G20 countries. She also said Indonesia will work to strengthen diplomacy in the health sector, highlighting the current wide gap between developed and developing countries on COVID-19 vaccine.

Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto added Indonesia’s interests in pursuing structural and financial reforms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in areas such as digitization, human resource development and empowerment of women and youth. He also cited the importance of the G20’s global efforts to mitigate the risks of future pandemics. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani endorsed the issue of financial reforms, saying Indonesia will prepare a sustainable finance program ahead of the summit. The discussion will focus on developing more robust infrastructure finance, financial regulation and financial inclusion, as well as a green finance program.

While Indonesia’s domestic concerns were highlighted by the three ministers, the G20 is not just about the host’s own interests; it should address issues relevant to the group as a whole. So what are the main priorities of the G20 countries today?

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Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic will be high on the agenda for next year’s summit, as evidenced by Indonesia’s choice of “Recover Together, Recover Stronger” as the main theme of the meeting. . While the group has effectively managed the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis, the challenges posed by the pandemic are both more serious and more multifaceted. Moreover, the pandemic has emerged among a host of other worrying global challenges and trends, from rising populism and polarization to democratic regression and persistent economic inequalities. Many argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these trends, while also revealing the significant gap between G20 governments in crafting consistent, swift and effective measures to tackle the virus. The crisis has also exposed the weaknesses of the current system of global governance, including fora like the G20.

The G20 has also been criticized for its slow and inadequate response to the pandemic. Although the group met a few times to discuss the COVID-19 crisis, the proposed cooperative actions were not compatible with the incentives of individual governments. Each government has prioritized its responsibility to protect its own citizens, not the group as a whole. In that sense, the G20 has not been immune to growing nationalism that has confused various forms of multilateral cooperation, prompting one scholar to describe the group as “lacking in action” on COVID-19.

The predominance of the United States in the group may also have contributed to the failures of the G20. Under the leadership of Donald Trump for example, the United States has extended its rivalry with China to the group, disrupting collective efforts to deal with the virus. Like many international governance bodies at several levels, the G20 is arguably not immune to the power gap between its members. The situation calls for fundamental reform, and Indonesia may seek to make progress in this direction next year. While changes in leadership in the White House may provide a greater degree of G20 solidarity, much of the tension between Beijing and Washington remains.

Perhaps the most discussed criticism of the group is the fluidity of the G20 summit agenda. Each host country is allowed to bring something new to the G20 agenda at each annual meeting and thus contributes to the cluster’s lack of a coherent and sustainable policy response. In this case, Indonesia needs to ensure that the final G20 action plan can help individual member states achieve their own goals.

Indonesia’s position will primarily focus on representing the voices of developing countries sitting outside the G20. Last year, for example, Jokowi highlighted the importance of debt restructuring for low-income countries and financial support for developing states to escape the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. With these specific interests in mind, Indonesia should be able to encourage all G20 members to develop the political will necessary to revive the global economy. Indonesia must act as the guardian of G20 multilateralism, and not just as a “developing country”. Consensus is a rarity in global governance today, and therefore equity and inclusion among members must be demonstrated as core values.

In designing the policy, the participation of all relevant stakeholders is necessary for the results of the policy to properly meet the demands of the general public, including young people. Young people are one of the groups of the world’s population that has been hardest hit by the current crisis. The younger generation is currently facing a more digitalized world with a high risk of unemployment and changing professional requirements and skills. In many G20 economies, young people make up the majority of the population and are therefore a major engine of economic growth. Their ideas will be invaluable for the G20 to develop more appropriate and effective policies.

Indonesia’s agenda for next year’s G20 summit is aligned with last year’s OECD report on Policies for a Strong Recovery and a Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Future, which described the importance of developing and distributing healthcare and diagnostic equipment – especially COVID-19 vaccines – equally. , promote efficient and robust global value chains, build a more environmentally sustainable economy and prevent sudden capital outflows and sovereign debt crises. However, in the negotiation process, Indonesia is required to anticipate the “political” divide among the G20 member states. Indonesia can hold pre-summit meetings with major countries like China, US, UK, and Japan to gain political support in advance. These consultations will be essential if Indonesia is to be successful in pursuing meaningful reforms during the period of its presidency.

Founded in 1999, the G20 was initially a consortium designed to respond to the Asian financial crisis of 1997. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a host of social, economic and political challenges around the world, the presence and contribution of the G20 are in the spotlight. Indonesia’s hosting of next year’s G20 summit provides a chance for Jokowi’s administration to reaffirm the nation’s leadership and help build consensus among the world’s largest economies towards a solution. collective to global issues.


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