This week, the leaders of the G-20 are meeting in Antalya, Turkey, to discuss a long list of pressing issues, foremost among them a series of serious economic and geopolitical challenges. The G-20, whose members account for about 85 percent of the world economy, has an important responsibility to respond to challenges that affect the lives and prosperity of millions of people around the world. It cannot risk falling into complacency and inaction.
Since Turkey assumed the presidency of the G-20 in December 2014, our approach toward ensuring inclusive and robust growth through collective action has enjoyed the support of the organization’s members. This effort has been built on three pillars: decisive implementation of past commitments, boosting investments as a powerful driver of the global economy, and promotion of inclusiveness so that the benefits of growth are shared by all.
When it comes to implementation, great strides have been made. By promoting sound macroeconomic and fiscal policies and implementing solid, structural reforms, we have made significant progress toward our objective of expanding the G-20’s collective GDP by 2.1 percent by 2018. The global financial system is now more resilient than it has ever been. Financial capacities are being rebuilt, and new growth targets are being met.
But there remains much more to be done. G-20 members should expedite efforts to deliver on their commitments to boost productivity and eliminate structural bottlenecks to investment, competition, trade, and jobs. We must also cement the fundamental reforms to the global financial system that the G-20 has delivered over the past seven years.
Our focus on investment – a key driver of growth, jobs, and development – is also beginning to pay off. There is a huge investment gap in the global economy, both in advanced and developing countries. That is why we need developed-country strategies that bring together concrete policy actions and commitments to improve the investment ecosystem, support small and-medium-size enterprises, and promote the construction of efficient, high-quality infrastructure.
Economic growth must be strong and sustainable; but, above all, it must be inclusive. Inequality is rising in many G-20 countries; in some cases, it has reached historic highs. This is a dangerous development, one that can retard growth, threaten the cohesion of societies, and jeopardize people’s wellbeing. It is imperative that the G-20 tackle inequality head on and demonstrate its determination to ensure that all of its member countries’ citizens enjoy the fruits of economic growth.
Inclusiveness cannot stop at the borders of the G-20. We must work to ensure that the benefits of growth and prosperity are shared by people all over the world. In Antalya, we will discuss how we can align our efforts with the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and increase our engagement with low-income, developing countries.
As politics and economics are increasingly intertwined, the G-20 must also work together to confront our era’s geopolitical challenges. This year is an important one in the fight against climate change. We must send a strong political message from Antalya in support of a successful outcome at the United Nations Climate Change Conference that takes place in Paris from November 30 to December 11.
Meanwhile, we cannot afford to forget that global challenges – such as the war in Syria, terrorism, and the refugee crisis – require global responses. The G-20 is an ideal forum in which to address them.
Turkey is currently hosting some 2.2 million Syrian refugees, and we have spent more than $8 billion over the last three years caring for them. The international community must agree on a mechanism that ensures that the burden is fairly shared.
The G-20 Summit in Antalya will address these and other major issues confronting the world. Whether the subject is economics, finance, climate change, or politics, the guiding principle must be equality and justice for all.
Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2015.