The G20, or “Group of 20”, is an intergovernmental forum bringing together 19 of the world’s most developed economies and the European Union .
The group’s Heads of State and Government meet annually with a view to ensuring the coordination of the biggest economies in the face of economic, social, environmental and other issues. Its members take turns holding the G20 Presidency.
Every year, the G20 Summit provides a forum for dialogue between Heads of State and Government. The Group is a cornerstone of the multilateral architecture due to its contribution to global governance in close liaison with United Nations organizations and agencies. It provides an opportunity for France and its European partners to have the voice of the European Union heard regarding global issues and the governance of globalization.
Initially formed at the level of finance ministers at the instigation of Canada in 1999, the G20 met for the first time at the level of Heads of State and Government in 2008 amid the global financial crisis. In 2022, G20 members represented 75% of the world’s trade, 80% of global GDP and greenhouse gas emissions and two-thirds of the global population, making it the leading global economic forum.
With the support of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the G20 has gradually expanded its discussions beyond strictly economic and financial matters to incorporate a growing number of themes (such as climate and energy, digital economy, development, economic empowerment of women, health, agriculture and education). These issues are the subject of special ministerial meetings, whose conclusions feed into the annual Summits of Heads of State and Government.
The G20 has gradually become the main multilateral forum for addressing crises and coordinating action on global issues. It has attained several major achievements:
- Strengthening the financial system after the 2007-2008 financial crisis (Basel III Accords);
- Fighting tax avoidance with the BEPS plan and implementation of international taxation of multinational enterprises;
- Adopting Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment in Osaka in 2019;
- Supporting the ACT Accelerator (Access to Covid-19 Tools) following the outbreak of the pandemic;
- Establishing the Debt Service Suspension Initiative in 2020;
- Creating a Common Framework for Debt Treatment for the G20 and Paris Club.
The President’s diplomatic adviser traditionally acts as his “Sherpa” in G7- and G20-speak, taking part in meetings to prepare the Leaders’ Summit (final declaration and political deliverables). At the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Director-General for Global Affairs, Culture, Education and International Development acts as Sous-Sherpa. The DGM Task Force under the authority of the Director-General is responsible for preparing Sherpas’ meetings and summits.
Under the Presidencies of Saudi Arabia (2020) and Italy (2021), the G20 acted to address the pandemic and its economic and social consequences.
The G20 members agreed on tangible, high-impact initiatives in developing countries in response to the crisis. These included the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries, drawn up jointly with the World Bank and IMF, and the drafting of a G20/Paris Club Common Framework for Debt Treatment and an agreement on a global minimum tax rate.
The G20 stepped up its efforts in support of the ACT-A initiative and its COVAX vaccines pillar to address the pandemic and strengthen the international financial architecture for health over the long term, with the creation of a Joint Finance-Health Task Force. It also supported the One Health approach to improving health security and global epidemiological surveillance in order to facilitate the coordination and response to the health crisis, under the aegis of the World Health Organization.
On the issue of climate change and the energy transition, despite some disagreements, the G20 reached more points of agreement at the Rome Summit in 2021 than in previous years thanks to consensus on achieving the 1.5°C target, which helped prepare COP26, as well as ending the provision of international public finance for new unabated coal power generation.
Indonesia took over the G20 Presidency for the first time on 1 December 2021, organizing the annual Summit in Bali on 15 and 16 November 2022.
The Indonesian Presidency sought to focus on:
- Strengthening the multilateral health architecture;
- Digital transformation;
- Sustainable energy transition.
- France and its partners also wish to put the consequences ofRussia’s war of aggression in Ukraine for the Sustainable Development Goals, and food security in particular, at the top of the agenda.
India is hosting the G20 Summit for the first time in New Delhi, on 9 and 10 September 2023. This Summit is a major international event, and India aims to promote an agenda of G20 unity with the message “One Earth – One Family – One Future”, while positioning itself as the representative of developing country interests. The Presidency’s agenda aims to focus on:
- Adoption of sustainable lifestyles, which India aims to promote through its “LIFE” initiative to develop less polluting lifestyles;
- The energy transition, at a time when carbon neutrality by the mid-century requires a swift transition of our energy systems:
- The digital transition, as India aims to promote its model of public digital infrastructure;
- An overhaul of the multilateral system to make it more inclusive and fair.
France is committed to the success of the Indian Presidency, in the context of heightened global tensions. Alongside its partners, it will continue to call on G20 members to act responsibly to address the war’s consequences, such as for food and energy security, which affect the most vulnerable countries most.
Minister Catherine Colonna brought a message of solidarity with Ukraine and the developing countries affected by the crisis to the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on 1 and 2 March 2023.
Brazil is set to take over the G20 Presidency for 2024, after India.
- G20 Presidency official website
- List of G20 communiqués, available on the G20 Research Center of the University of Toronto (Canada)
Updated: March 2023
 Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU (represented by the European Commission), France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States. Spain and Singapore are permanent invited members.