- Saudi Arabia is in touch with other members of the G-20 group of developed and developing nations to convene an “extraordinary session" for preparing a common strategy to tackle the challenge posed by Covid-19.
- This comes as the number of those affected by the virus crossed the 200,000 mark.
- The statement from Saudi Arabia, which holds the G20’s rotating presidency this year, followed a telephonic conversation between the kingdom’s Crown Prince and PM of India recently.
- The statement is a part of the need to coordinate and draw up a strategy at the G20 level, in order to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
- The move comes amid fears of the world slipping into a recession comparable to the 2008 financial crisis that triggered the formation of the G20 as a grouping.
- Global markets have crumbled after the WHO declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic, spooking investors.
- Many countries have closed borders and imposed travel curbs besides advising shopping complexes to down shutters to curb the disease.
What is expected from G20?
- The G20 will act, alongside international organisations, in any way deemed necessary to alleviate the impact of the pandemic.
- G20 leaders will put forward a coordinated set of policies to protect people and safeguard the global economy.
- The summit will build on the ongoing efforts of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors, senior health, trade, and foreign affairs officials, to further develop the precise requirements and actions needed.
Image Source: NY Times About G-20
- Formally the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy the G20 meeting is an annual gathering of finance ministers and heads of state representing the members.
- Initially attendance at G20 summits was limited to the finance ministers and central bank governors of members when it was established 17 years ago.
- Much of the important business takes place on the sidelines and in informal meetings.
- After the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998, it was acknowledged that the participation of major emerging market countries is needed in discussions on the international financial system, and G7 finance ministers agreed to establish the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in 1999.
- The first G20 summit occurred in Berlin, in December 1999, and was hosted by the German and Canadian finance ministers.
About Membership and Leadership of the Group of 20 (G-20)
- Members: The G20 is made up of the EU and 19 countries.
- Along with the members of the G-7, 12 other nations currently comprise the G-20: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.
- Special invitees: In addition Spain is invited permanently as is the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); two African countries (the chair of the African Union and a representative of the New Partnership for Africa's Development) and at least one country invited by the presidency, usually from its own region.
- International organizations such as the IMF, the World Bank, the United Nations, the Financial Stability Board and the World Trade Organization also attend the summits.
- Chairmanship: The chairmanship of the G-20 leaders' summit rotates among four groups of countries.
- The host country of the G20 summit leads the group over the course of one year from December through the following November as the G20 presidency.
- Sherpas, who are representatives of leaders of G20 member countries, coordinate on the agenda of a summit. Former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu was India's Sherpa at the Osaka G20 summit.
- There are two tracks in G-20 - Finance Track and Development Track.
- Finance Track is managed by the secretary (economic affairs) as India’s Deputy to G-20 and
- The Development Track is coordinated by the Sherpa.