The leaders of 20 of the world’s largest economies, the G-20, are meeting for the tenth annual G-20 Leaders Summit which begins Sunday, November 15th in the resort city of Antalya, Turkey. The two-day summit which is expected to focus on a myriad of issues, including climate change finance, the global economy, the migrant crisis and the refugee crisis, will likely be overshadowed by the issue of terrorism in light of Friday’s Paris attacks.
On November 13, 2015 gunmen linked to Islamic State (ISIL) targeted six sites in Paris, killing 129 persons and wounding over 350. The reports that one of the suspects responsible for the attacks may have been a Syrian refugee raises issues for the EU’s response to the migrant crisis, with the right-wing government of Poland pulling out of any plans to accept refugees. In light of the attacks, the President of France, Francois Hollande, announced he will be no longer attending to the G-20 and that Foreign Minister and Finance Minister will attend in his place.
G-20 leaders have a packed schedule ahead of them and some of the topics on the official schedule include climate change and development, the global economy, terrorism and the refugee crisis, financial regulation and IMF reform, trade and energy. Even with the terrorist attacks in Paris, the issues of terrorism will have dominated the discussions due to the rise in Islamic State from a regional to a global threat. The conflicts in Syria and the resultant refugee crisis are of particular security concern to European countries whose borders have been flooded by Syrian refugees, raising both human rights and national security concerns.
In its Joint Letter setting out the EU’s agenda for the summit, the European Council and European Commission highlighted several key issues to be discussed at Antalya, including social issues such as youth employment and social inclusion and trade opening. In regards to the issue of taxation, the European Council spoke of the need to tackle cross-border tax avoidance and tax evasion, including finalisation and implementation of the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting action plan (BEPS).
Another area identified by the EC and said to be a major issue for Prime Minister Narenda Modi of India is climate change. It is hoped that this issue will not be pushed on the backburner in light of the attacks. Action on climate change, particularly climate change finance and commitments for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, are critical to developing countries, including small island developing states like those of the Caribbean which will be among the hardest hit by the effects of climate change. Other issues of concern to the developing country members of the G-20 are IMF reform, including the reform of the quota system which would give emerging economies more say in that organisation.
The G-20 is an international forum comprised of 20 major world economies, including 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States) and 1 regional grouping (the European Union).
In light of the attacks, security for the Summit has reportedly been heightened.
The official programme for the Summit is as follows. It will be interesting to read the Communique and Antalya Action Plan once released upon the conclusion of the summit.
Alicia Nicholls, B.Sc., M.Sc., LL.B. is a trade and development consultant with a keen interest in sustainable development, international law and trade. You can read more of her commentaries and follow her on Twitter @LicyLaw.