German Chancellor Angela Merkel turned host as she welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other world leaders in Hamburg for the 20th G20 Summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are some of the heads of state who have arrived in the German city for extensive talks centered on combating terrorism, climate change and boosting trade. While the theme this year is ‘Shaping an Inter-Connected World’, leaders will attend session on sustainable development as well.
On the sidelines of the Summit, PM Modi took part in the meeting of the BRICS bloc attended by leaders of China, South Africa, Brazil and Russia. The Prime Minister spoke about the geo-political tensions concerning North Korea and Qatar in the Middle East.
Extraordinary security has been deployed at the venue and around the city in view of the protests by various rights groups including anti-capitalist factions. Nearly 15,000 personnel are protecting the venue and an additional 4,000 men watching over airport and train stations in the city. Many of the protests were defused using tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons. Several vehicles were also torched by the protesters.
The G20 Summit will also see encounters that will be watched closely by observers such as meetings between Putin and Trump and also Modi and Xi.
Here are some of the issues on the agenda that will come up for discussion at the Summit:
* Global economic growth – Although the G20 deliberations themselves take place in a confidential setting, trade has always been a permanent item on the agenda at the Summit. Achieving strong and sustainable economic growth has been a key goal of the Summit and leaders will look to come up with solutions to reduce protectionism and expand free market trade. The ‘spread of digital technology’ affecting economic growth has led to the setting up of a conference which will be attended by digital affairs ministers for the first time.
* Climate change – Following Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate agreement, renewed focus has been thrown on climate change and ways to tackle rising heating of the planet. Leaders have said they will pursuade Trump to rejoin the Paris agreement. “After the G7 expressed its commitment to adopting an ambitious world climate agreement in order to limit global warming to a maximum of 2°C, the G20 issued a similar signal in support of this goal,” this year’s G20 Summit website states.
* Increasing cooperation with African states – Creating an ‘enabling environment for investment and infrastructure development’ and boosting cooperation with African states is on the Summit agenda. “The G20 will be resolute in its endeavours to ensure the rapid and comprehensive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its global goals for sustainable development, and of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda,” the website says.
* Boosting women employment figures – Reducing the gap in labour force participation between men and women by 25% by 2025 is one of the goals of the G20 in Hamburg. “The German G20 Presidency will also work to remove the existing barriers which prevent women from gaining access to information and communications technology in developing countries and to improve education and employment prospects in the field of ICT,” the Summit agenda says.
* Terrorism – With more and more terrorist attacks being reported around the world, G20 leaders will deliberate on ways to eliminate channels of terror financing and improving exchange of information. Counter-terrorism methods will be worked out and leaders will look to expanding cooperation.
* Reducing corruption – “Under the German Presidency, the focus is on measures to improve public sector integrity and the common search for ways to fight corruption in particularly susceptible areas (e.g. wildlife trafficking),” the agenda states. With corruption becoming an increasing issue in society, governments are aiming at achieving transparency and accountability to get public approval.