The G20 Summit in Buenos Aires: Defending multilateralism high on France’s agenda (30 Nov. - 1 Dec. 2018)


Argentina has held the G20 Presidency since 1 December 2017. On 30 November and 1 December 2018, it will host the Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires. This event will mark the 10th year since the first Leaders’ Summit took place in 2008 in response to the global financial crisis.

In 2018, the Argentine Presidency has focused on three agenda priorities: education, employment and innovation issues given the future of work in the digital era; the financing of infrastructure projects to support development; and sustainable agriculture and food security.

At this Summit, France will defend a collective approach to key international issues.

France’s Five Priority Areas

This will be reflected in five priority areas in which multilateralism is essential:

Building on the momentum created by the Paris Climate Agreement and stepping up efforts to protect biodiversity. The G20 Summit will take place before the COP24 meeting in Katowice and after the second One Planet Summit in New York. Given the urgency of climate issues, France and its partners will advocate for the G20 to renew its commitment to the environment.

Defending a multilateral trading system that is open, rules-based and fair. This involves two closely linked actions: rejecting protectionism and ensuring that the conditions for fair competition are met and World Trade Organization (WTO) rules are effectively applied. To develop long-term solutions to trade-distorting practices and inappropriate unilateral measures that compromise this goal, the Buenos Aires Summit must result in a roadmap being drawn up for WTO reform.

Fighting terrorism and terrorist financing. This means capitalizing on the results achieved at the G20 Summit in Hamburg in 2017 and the international “No Money for Terror” conference held in Paris on 25 and 26 April 2018, for which a follow-up conference will be held in Australia in 2019.

Making progress on sustainable development issues and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Education, particularly for girls, is one of the French President’s priorities. Another is gender equality, which must be a cross-cutting feature in all of the G20’s work. Development financing and risk prevention in the field of debt distress in least developed countries are also key questions in 2018. Given rising debt levels in poor countries, we need to reinforce the sustainability and transparency of financing granted by public and private creditors.

Promoting better regulated and more inclusive globalization, focusing on several aspects:

  • Financial integrity, by ensuring that the G20 commits to fighting corruption and illicit financial flows and maintaining pressure on non-cooperative tax jurisdictions following the Paradise Papers revelations;
  • The digital field, by taxing digital companies, promoting fair competition among Internet giants and protecting personal data;
  • The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, which France will call upon other States to support in order to increase private stakeholders’ responsibilities in terms of security in cyber space.
Sherpas are the personal representatives of G20 heads of State and Government. They are responsible for ensuring consistency in the group’s work and negotiating on behalf of leaders. They met for the fourth and last time between 26 and 28 November, ahead of the Summit in Buenos Aires, to finalize negotiations for the G20 communiqué.

Ten meetings for ministers from G20 countries also took place throughout the year, including a meeting of foreign ministers on 20 and 21 May in Buenos Aires.

The Japanese Presidency of the G20 in 2019

Following the Buenos Aires Summit, Japan will succeed Argentina in holding the G20 Presidency. The next Summit will be held in Osaka on 28 and 29 June 2019.

In view of France’s Presidency of the G7 in 2019, and the Biarritz summit scheduled to take place from 24 to 26 August 2019, President Macron met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Paris on 17 October 2018. They agreed to work together to coordinate activities in both forums next year.