Discussing the World’s Economic Status and Plans for a Future Global Economic Initiative – Among the Koalas?

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G20_7The Group of 20, or the G20, concluded its 2-day meeting in Brisbane, Australia yesterday. Every year, 19 nations plus the European Union, which represent the mightiest economies, send their central bank leaders, finance ministers, and governors to meet in a forum where global economic issues are discussed, policies are compared, and objectives and intentions are planned. The meeting is held in the country of the current president of the G20 (which changes annually).

In 2008, former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin proposed and organized the first summit of 20; they met in Washington, D.C. The G20 represents nations that control more than 85% of all current money circulating in the world. Each nation’s economic and financial leader meets with global leaders from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Talks are focused on the most pressing economic and financial issues of the day including nations that continue to exist in extreme poverty, global recession, international health concerns, terrorist activity, climate change, and sustainable plans for long-term global financial security.G20_1

Who are the Group of 20 and What do they do?

Start by reading Read the Economy Watch G20 Summit 2014 - A Preview and History Lesson. Follow with What does the G20 actually do from the Brisbane Times. Next click over to the G20 Web site and read their About page. Click over to the Member Map. Use the interactive map to explore which nations are members and which have been additionally invited. Make a list of the 19 G20 Nations (and the EU).

Stay on the G20 Web site to explore A G20 Agenda for Growth and Resilience in 2014. Along the menu bar at the top, hover over ‘G20 Priorities’ and then hover over ‘G20 2014 Agenda’ and click through each of the  10 items listed. Make a chart and list each agenda item and in your own words, explain why each is a vital topic for G20 discussion.

G20_2Koala Diplomacy

This year’s G20 Summit met in beautiful Australia and had special guests – koalas! Gathering the most powerful financial leaders from the top nations together in one meeting can be a bit daunting. Stress and tension surely runs high as the leading experts jostle for positions of interpretation and influence for the benefit of an improved global economy, but also for the advantage of their own nations. What better way to break the ice than to bring in the koalas! They really did that! Read and look at the photos and video - At least these little guys are up for some shirtfronting! G20 leaders pose for a photo and a cuddle... as some adorable koalas show them some very Australian hospitality from the Daily Mail. Take a look at more fun photos of G20's koala diplomacy: world leaders show their cuddly side – in pictures from The Guardian.

G20 Summit 2014 – What did they Accomplish?G20_5

This year’s summit concluded this past weekend. What came of this massive meeting of the financial geniuses of the world? Read the news.com.au G20 Summit Brisbane 2014: Was it all worth it?

According to this article, the Brisbane action plan included the following objectives:

  • "GLOBAL GROWTH — Raising growth to deliver better living standards is the highest priority. Nations said recovery is slow but committed to working together to boost resilience and strengthen institutions.
  • LIFT GDP — They announced a target to lift GDP by 2 per cent by 2018 for all the G20 nations. This is expected to add more than US$2 trillion to the global economy.
  • INFRASTRUCTURE — Create a Global Infrastructure Initiative to lift investment and match investors with projects. It will also include a hub based in Sydney.
  • TRADE — To lower costs of trade, reduce regulatory burdens and promote competition and innovation.
  • PARTICIPATION — Reduce the gap in participation rates between men and women in the workforce by 25 per cent by 2025.
  • YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT — Create plans to get more youth in jobs and encourage entrepreneurship and apprentices.
  • POVERTY — Lifting investment in food supply systems and increase income inequality and jobs.
  • FINANCIAL SYSTEMS — Strengthen financial systems by making derivatives markets safer, delivering a framework on shadow banking and implementing regulatory reforms.
  • INSTITUTIONS — Strengthen institutions to represent emerging economies and ensure the IMF is well resourced. Create a strong trading system through bilateral and regional agreements to deliver growth and jobs.
  • ENERGY — Improve efficiency of energy markets and access to energy for those who don’t have it. Support effective action on climate change and work to create a global agreement in Paris in 2015.
  • EBOLA — Call on international institutions to assist countries in dealing with economic impacts and have “committed to do all we can to contain and respond to this crisis’."

G20_6The koalas certainly helped to take the edge off, and USA Today reported that Good cheer masks Ukraine tension at G-20 summit. According to the Washington Post, G-20 leaders agree on $2 trillion boost to growth. Climate change also was a significant consideration. Read G20 commits to fight climate change; Russia isolated over Ukraine from the Chicago Tribune. What will the U.S. do? Read the Huffington Post article Obama To Commit $3 Billion For Climate Aid.

As the nation’s representatives at the G20 headed home, each left with a renewed sense of purpose for building a stronger, more unified global economy while also ready to apply some of what they learned in their own countries. The annual summit has provided a forum for a meeting of the financial minds from all over the world. Numerous important topics were discussed and this exciting event provides a continuing purpose for cooperation amongst all of the world leaders.


Newspaper Activities

 As you read this week's local newspaper, follow the post G20 discussions. Consider the objectives that this year's Group of 20 discussed. Create your own list of objectives in order from most to least important to you. Provide an explanation for why you feel each topic is important to the health of the global economy. Share your list with a classmate and compare the priorities. Create a merged class list. Consider your top priorities with those of your classmates.

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