What awaits the world at Buenos Aires?

The world is grappling to resolve a host of problems. Compounding the issues are new problems to be created by disruptive technologies. Though technological advancement is certain, its impact, particularly on job creation and employment, is yet to be assessed. Disruptive technologies like crypto-currencies, blockchains, e-commerce, internet of things (IoT), machine2machine learning, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and robotics and the use of these disruptive technologies in drone surveillance hold out great scope for economic development.

But a note of caution for the use of technologies like crypto-currencies, block-chains and e-commerce: there is need to regulate its operation through appropriate global and national laws so that tax evasions do not take place and no black money is created. G20 had earlier resolved to tackle the menace of black money, tax havens, imaginative accounting, transfer pricing and the like.

The G20 members resolved that efforts will be made to complete quota reforms at the IMF by 2019. After the global financial crisis in 2008, consensus emerged on the need for a better regulatory structure to deal with risks stemming from financial fragility. The Financial Stability Board under the auspices of G20 was set up and it has made a number of recommendations to member countries to combat systemic risks and to strengthen the global financial system. Though a number of regulatory reforms like Basel III, over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market, changes

affecting the regulatory and accounting framework for institutional investors, policy measures for globally systemically important financial institutions (G-SIFIs) are being implemented, the progress have been tardy.Keeping in view the challenges before the world leaders, the 13th Annual G20 Summit to be held in Buenos Aires in Argentina beginning on November 30 has stressed upon building consensus for fair and sustainable development. In June 2018, the national ministers of G20 countries released a ‘consensus statement’ on energy transitions that seek greater transparency and fair and sustainable development. Thus, there are wide range of topics to be discussed and a number of issues to be addressed.

The Argentina Presidency believes that the world has changed very fast this year, and we need to address these changes through consensus. It has stressed the importance of coordinated work between the two tracks – sherpas and finance ministers who were present at all run-up meeting to the Suimmit. Argentina bases its vision for the future on the basis of agreement reached between leaders of G20 in Hamburg in 2017 to promote greater inclusiveness, fairness and equality in pursuit of economic growth and job creation.

Japan which is to host the G20 in Osaka in June 28-29, 2019 has also come out with its vision and theme for the next summit. “During its presidency of next year’s G20 Summit, the Japanese government is determined to carry out the strong leadership in advancing discussions towards resolving the myriad issues now facing the international community.” With a view to showcasing, a newly revitalised and transforming Japan sectoral meetings are planned in eight other cities run-up to the Summit. Saudi Arabia is slated to host G20 in 2020.

It is likely that Prime Minister Modi, who is slated to speak on the first day on the Session “Putting the People First” would steal the show by introducing the concept of ‘disaster resilient infrastructure’. Each time a natural disaster occurs anywhere in the world, countries scramble to give immediate relief but don’t really rebuild the infrastructure back to a state where it is resilient next time a disaster occurs. There are, of course, United Nations agencies who are doing this work but Modi feels that there is space for major countries, particularly the G20, to have some kind of an informal arrangement where we can share capacity building, technical know-how and experiences immediately after a country faces a disaster which leads to significant infrastructure erosion or development and where the immediate relief has been provided subsequently. A concept paper has already been circulated to G20 leaders.

In the context of commitments to the Paris Agreement and climate change, Modi will highlight the International Solar Alliance and his own vision of One World One Sun One Grid. At the General Assembly meeting in October, the ISA agreed that it would be expanded to include all countries not just those who are between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. So certainly at the G20 Prime Minister Modi will make the pitch for other countries to join the Alliance.

Ashok B Sharma is a freelance journalist.
Views are personal.

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