G20 Summit: Success or Failure?


  • The G20 Summit reflected both its aces and ploys as the worlds most elite encountered in Hamburg

What is G20?

  • The Group of Twenty (G20) is an international forum that brings together the world’s 20 leading industrialized and emerging economies.
  • The group accounts for 85 per cent of world GDP and two-thirds of its population.
  • Much of the important business takes place on the sidelines and in informal meetings.
  • Initially attendance at G20 summits was limited to the finance ministers and central bank governors of members when it was established 17 years ago.

G20 Hamburg summit (2017)

  • The 2017 G20 Hamburg summit was the twelfth meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20), which was held on 7–8 July 2017, at Hamburg Messe, in the city of Hamburg, Germany.
  • Apart from the usual, recurring themes relating to global economic growth, international trade and financial market regulation the G20 Hamburg summit was expected to focus on the issues of global significance
  • The G20 final communique placed a new emphasis on the need for trade deals to be reciprocal and non-discriminatory towards developing countries, reducing the previous emphasis on the primacy of liberalization and the promotion of free market economics across the board
  • The G20 cluster comprises heads from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, China and South Africa

Security measures

  • Some 20,000 officers have been drafted in from around Germany and beyond to address the twin challenges of potential terror attack and political protest.
  • Temporary courtrooms and cells have been built alongside a mass holding facility for as many as 400 detainees at a time – at a cost of €750,000.
  • A planned mass protest camp in the city’s main park has been banned.

Key Highlights

  • While terrorism and security were on the priority list of the world leaders on the first day of the summit, key issues like trade policy, climate change, migration, sustainable development and global stability were also being discussed.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed regret over The United States decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord. In the field of trade policy major industrialized states and emerging economies agreed to fight protectionism and unfair trade restrictions.
  • The second day of the Summit focused on ‘partnership with Africa, discussing plans for poverty eradication. G20 participants discussed at length the role of the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • This years’ G20 summit was marred by widespread violence which resulted in clashed between police and protestors.
  • The police clashed with anti-capitalist demonstrators near the summit venue, firing water cannons and tear gas at hundreds of masked protesters after they threw bottles.

Via: US China Post
Criticism Insufficiently legitimate

  • G20 excludes more than four-fifths of the world’s countries, causing some critics (and excluded countries) to denounce it as unrepresentative and therefore insufficiently legitimate.
  • Including enough of the right actors at the table is a prerequisite for effective global coordination, these same critics contend that this lack of representative legitimacy also undermines the G20’s effectiveness.

No permanent secretariat

  • Simultaneously, the informal structure of the G20, with a rotating chair and no permanent secretariat, means that agendas are determined each year by the chair and so can swing widely, and formal mechanisms to monitor follow-through on countries’ public commitments are weak.


  • The G20 is composed of 20 large and important economies.
  • This creates a situation in which small countries have to follow their big brothers, in order to survive.

  • The main constraint on the G20’s effectiveness further increases as countries included in the existent group already represents 90 percent of global GDP, 80 percent of world trade and 65 percent of the global population, including key emerging economies like China and Brazil. This further eclipses small nations that still provides a significant contribution in the global market
  • This is far more inclusive and representative than the G8, which the G20 has largely displaced, and more than adequate to make agreements to act collectively credible and effective.
  • The main threat to the G20’s effectiveness is its lack of domestic legitimacy within member countries. The group is widely perceived by the public as transnational elites hatching plans behind closed doors in insulated centers of power.
  • Without genuine ex ante engagement to build trust and support with diverse domestic constituencies such as labor, business, civil society, and the members of parliaments and congresses that purportedly represent these different interests — leaders will never have the space within the G20 to negotiate meaningful agreements.

Failed to live up to the expectations

  • Finance ministers and heads of state now come to the table with their hands tied, their positions determined in advance by their governments and a formal script that precludes meaningful and creative compromises.
  • And the problem only increases once leaders leave summits to return home. Bound internationally by public commitments, but without the ability to get those agendas enacted at home, the effective implementation of commitments is even weaker than the ability of leaders to forge meaningful agreements in the first place.
  • The G20 summit has in effect become a G30 because countries unhappy about being frozen out of the club have turned up anyway.

More showoff and less efficient

  • Meetings have become talkfests and photo opportunities.
  • The willingness to come together in the hostile environment of late 2008 and early 2009 has entirely dissipated.

  • The G20 agenda utterly fails to break with the tired, broken policies of the free market.

Disappointing G-20 at Hamsburg proves the point

  • The policies which, by increasing inequality and devastating communities, turning everyone into a self-interested individual, have unwittingly given rise to the likes of Trump.
  • And that’s to ignore the “Trumpism” in European politics – the barbaric immigration policy at Europe’s borders through which thousands of desperate migrants die in the Mediterranean every year.
  • Merkel chaired the G20 summit while she completely and utterly failed to lead G20 to a successful conclusion. Her own industries shall be massively impacted, as she continues to push her climate agenda forward.
  • What took place was that not merely her disappointment to intimidate Trump, but China also insisted on being able to expand its carbon energy use agreeing with Trump.

G20 global approach

  • The success of any summit such as the G20 summit is arbitrated with regard to the emerging global context
  • The summit provided a much-needed opportunity for bilateral meetings between many nations , some of which went well beyond the ordinary renewal of commitments among countries
  • The meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was their first after the election hacking scandal and Mr. Trump’s inauguration
  • Further the interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping came amid the face-off between the Indian and Chinese armies in Doklam.
  • Most remarkable was the fact that the G20 managed to pull together a joint communique at all, given Mr. Trump’s recalcitrance on trade and the environment and the tension between interlocutors.
  • While the G20 dynamics may have been strained, world leaders have clearly moved up the learning curve on how to handle Mr.
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