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The G20 and the 2030 Agenda: Contradictions and conflicts at the Hamburg Summit

GPW17_2017_09_21On 7 and 8 July 2017, the summit meeting of the G20, the group of 19 major economies and the European Union, was held in Hamburg, Germany. Media perception of the event was marked by the US President’s appearance and the conflicts in climate and trade policies. In contrast, other topics, including the G20 activities regarding the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, took a backseat. Hardly any attention was given to the Hamburg Update of the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda.
Many observers representing academia and civil society viewed the Summit resolutions as insufficient or even counterproductive. Above all, they criticized the blind faith in economic growth reflected by the Summit documents and the one-sided focus on private investments to finance development.






September 21, 2017 | Global Policy Watch

The G20 and the 2030 Agenda: Contradictions and conflicts at the Hamburg Summit

by Jens Martens

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On 7 and 8 July 2017, the summit meeting of the G20, the group of 19 major economies and the European Union, was held in Hamburg, Germany. Media perception of the event was marked by the US President’s appearance and the conflicts in climate and trade policies. In contrast, other topics, including the G20 activities regarding the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, took a backseat. Hardly any attention was given to the Hamburg Update of the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda.

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel already referred to the formulating of a common final communiqué by the heads of state and government as a success and declared that she was generally satisfied with the Summit results.

However, many observers representing academia and civil society viewed the Summit resolutions as insufficient or even counterproductive. Above all, they criticized the blind faith in economic growth reflected by the Summit documents and the one-sided focus on private investments to finance development, for example in the context of the so-called “G20 Partnership with Africa”. Setting this priority in fact contrasts with the more comprehensive approaches to sustainable development that the United Nations 2030 Agenda is based on and to which the G20 countries have also committed themselves as members of the United Nations.

Given the massive public protests against the G20 Summit and the hardly reconcilable conflicts within the group, there are some who generally question the point of such Summit formats. Undaunted by this, the G20 Members have already determined the presidencies for the coming three years. In 2018, they will be Argentina, followed by Japan in 2019, and Saudi Arabia in 2020. Given the policies of these countries, one cannot reckon with any change in G20 policies.

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