The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for international cooperation on the most important issues of the global economic and financial agenda.
The objectives of the G20 refer to:
1. Policy coordination between its members in order to achieve global economic stability, sustainable growth;
2. Promoting financial regulations that reduce risks and prevent future financial crises;
3. Modernizing international financial architecture.
The G20 brings together finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of America plus the European Union, which is represented by the President of the European Council and by Head of the European Central Bank.
The G20 was formally established in September 1999 when finance ministers and central bank governors of seven major industrial countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) met in Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 1997-1998, which revealed the vulnerability of the international financial system in context of economic globalization and showed that key developing countries were insufficiently involved in discussions and decisions concerning global economic issues.
Finance ministers and central bank governors started to hold annual meetings after the inaugural meeting on December 15-16, 1999, in Berlin.
The first meeting of the G20 Leaders took place in Washington, D.C., on November 14-15, 2008, where the Leaders agreed to an action plan to stabilize the global economy and prevent future crises. As a result the premier forum acquired its current name and significance.
Until now seven G20 Leaders' Summits took place:
At the Leaders' level, Mexico was the second episode, following the Republic of Korea, that an emerging country held the Presidency of the Group.
G20 members represent almost:
1. 90% of global GDP.
2. 80% of international global-trade.
3. 2/3 of the world's population lives in G20 member countries.
4. 84% of all fossil fuel emissions are produced by G20 countries .
At their first meeting in Washington, the G20 Leaders achieved general agreement amongst the G20 on how to cooperate in key areas so as to strengthen economic growth, deal with the financial crisis and agreed upon three key objectives:
- restoring global economic growth;
- strengthening the international financial system;
- reforming international financial institutions.
The presidency of the G20 rotates annually among its members. The presidency leads a three-member management group of previous, current and future chairs, referred to as the Troika, the purpose of which is to ensure transparency, fairness, and continuity from one presidency to another. The G20 does not have a secretariat of its own. A temporary secretariat is set up by the country that holds the presidency for the term of chairmanship.
Apart from the Leaders' Summit which crowns the presidency, the ongoing work is divided into two tracks: the Sherpas' Track and the Finance Track, which continue throughout the year. The third G20 Summit in Pittsburg in 2009 settled this format and acknowledged its efficiency in addressing the issues of global finance and economy. The political leaders met twice in each of the years 2009 and 2010, once in 2011, and annual Leaders' Summits are planned in the years ahead.
The Russian Federation has taken part in every G20 summit since the G20 creation, putting forward issues that have invariably been included in the final summit declarations. Some of the major issues that Russia has raised are restructuring of international financial institutions, approval of regulation standards, overseeing the financial sector and restricting the sovereign debt threshold for the G20 members. Russia is one of the G20 major economies, and it has a huge influence on its agenda. Russia will take over the presidency of the G20 in December and host the leaders' summit next year.