Sustainable Growth Takes Center Stage at 2017 G20 Summit

Leaders of the G20 countries met in Hamburg, Germany on July 7-8 for the 2017 G20 Summit Meeting. The meeting covered a multitude of critical topics , including climate change, international trade relations, globalization, poverty and hunger, gender inequity, and inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

The final G20 Leaders’ Declaration put forth concrete targets with the aim of “building resilience, improving sustainability, and assuming responsibility.” The declaration also recognizes the importance of sharing the benefits of globalization to ensure that developing and emerging economies are not left behind and that poverty and hunger reduction keep pace with economic growth. G20 leaders renewed their commitment to a resilient global financial system by keeping global markets open, fighting protectionist trade policies, maintaining and strengthening a rules-based multilateral trading system under the auspices of the WTO, and reducing distortionary domestic subsidies in the industrial sector. Specific goals for improved fiscal and monetary policies were laid out in the Hamburg Action Plan , which covers topics such as financial regulation, international taxation, financial transparency, and data sharing. The G20 reaffirmed its commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development to support developing countries in achieving sustainable growth and development goals.

The document also discusses the importance of ICTs , particularly digital technologies, in overall growth and development. Leaders put forth a target of digital access for all citizens of G20 countries by 2025, and committed to improving infrastructure in developing countries and promoting better access to financial resources for SMEs and start-up companies to join the digital global economy.

Sustainable, clean energy sources and technology also take a headlining role in the G20 Leaders’ Declaration. The document renews the G20’s commitment to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, increase innovation in sustainable energy technology, and foster collaboration to ensure economically viable, long-term strategies to transform countries’ energy systems. The declaration also reaffirms the G20’s commitment to support financing by multilateral development banks to promote universal access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy sources. With the exception of the United States, the G20 countries also reaffirmed their commitment to the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement on Climate Change; specific targets and national strategies are laid out in the Hamburg Climate and Energy Action Plan for Growth .

Food security played a critical role in the G20 discussions this year. The G20 Leaders’ Declaration laid forth a commitment to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and resilience, while ensuring efficient management and use of water and other crucial natural resources. The document highlights the need for strengthened cooperation among countries on the use of ICTs for agriculture, particularly to increase access to these technologies for poor farmers in remote rural areas. Also called for was the strengthening of the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) in order to enhance market function and reduce food price volatility.

The G20 addressed the ongoing famine situation in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Nigeria, committing to support the UN and other humanitarian organizations to put forth a coordinated, comprehensive response. The Leaders’ Declaration reaffirmed the G20’s commitment to address the underlying causes of crises like famine and to strengthen its humanitarian engagement across the world.

G20 leaders also launched the G20 Initiative on Rural Youth Employment in developing countries, with a specific focus on youth in Africa. This initiative aims to create 1.1 million new jobs by 2022 and to create innovative skill development programs for at least 5 million young people over the next five years.

Africa also is the focus of the G20’s new Africa Partnership, which aims to foster sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development in the region. Launched at the G20 Africa Partnership Conference in Berlin in June 2017, this new initiative highlights the need for improved infrastructure, increased investment in market access and education, particularly for women and youth, and improved capacity-building programs. Several countries have put forth their individual priorities for “Investment Compacts” under this new G20 partnership, including Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tunisia. These compacts aim to both encourage private investment in sustainable economic growth in these countries and ensure efficient, transparent use of public funding.

Read the full G20 Summit Leaders’ Declaration and all other documents and declarations adopted during the 2017 G20 Summit here .

By: Sara Gustafson, IFPRI