As expected, jobs and the economy were firmly on the agenda at the G20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane, Australia, with climate change making a surprise appearance after originally being excluded by the host nation.
In the lead-up to the event and throughout the proceedings, many commentators both in the press and on social media openly criticised the event as purely theatrical and a waste of time and money.
But undeterred by the the event’s naysayers, leaders emerged from the two days of talks with a package of 800 measures and a 21 point G20 Leaders’ Communiqué.
“We have signed off on a peer-reviewed growth package that, if implemented, will achieve a 2.1% increase in global growth over the next five years, on top of business as usual,” said Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.
The growth figure is feasible if all 800 measures are introduced successfully, according to the OECD and IMF.
Some of the major measures include:
- Development of a Global Infrastructure Hub
- Develop further free-trade arrangements
- Decrease the gender gap in the workforce by 25% bringing 100 million more women into work
- Improve youth unemployment by ensuring young people are in education, training or employment. Plus invest in apprenticeships, education and training
- Increasing the resilience and stability of the financial system
- Improve the fairness of the international tax system so that profits be taxed where economic activities are performed.
- Action plan for energy efficiency including heavy vehicle emissions, industrial processes and electricity generation
- And more…
Despite the action plan, many economists still perceive an estimated growth of 2.1% for G20 countries as exaggerated.
Indeed, Prime Minister David Cameron was a little less upbeat about the prospects for growth amongst the G20 countries and President Obama neglected to mention the 2.1% figure in his closing remarks following the event.
According to the Guardian, David Cameron has actually issued an alarming message that “red warning lights are flashing on the dashboard of the global economy” in the same way as the global financial crisis in 2008.
Writing in the Guardian at the close of the G20 summit in Brisbane, Cameron said there is now “a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty” combined with the eurozone slowdown that that presents a real risk to the UK recovery.
Irrespective, of the likelihood of strong growth, the G20 measures do hold a great deal of promise and leaders have placed responsibility on the OECD and IMF to keep each of the G20 countries to their word and ensure that the 800 point plan is fully implemented.
Watch the closing remarks of the G20 host nation’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott below: