Why in news?

  • Union Agriculture Minister participated in an Extraordinary virtual meeting of G-20 Agriculture Ministers on 21st April 2020 to address the issue of COVID-19 impacts on food security, safety and nutrition.
  • The decision of Government of India to exempt all agriculture operations during lockdown period and ensuring continued availability of essential agriculture produce and supply, while adhering to protocol of social distancing, health and hygiene – was highlighted.
  • The G-20 Agriculture Ministers virtual meeting was organized through video conferencing by the Saudi Presidency to deliberate on the ways and means of ensuring continuity of food supply value chain including livelihood of farmers.
  • It was attended by Agriculture Ministers of all G-20 members, some guest countries and International organizations.

Introduction to G20

  • The G20 (or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU).
  • Founded in 1999 with the aim to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, the G20 has expanded its agenda since 2008 and heads of government or heads of state, as well as finance ministers and foreign ministers, have periodically conferred at summits ever since.
  • It seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.

How important is G20?

  • Collectively, the G20 economies account for around 90% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade (or, if excluding EU intra-trade, 75%), two-thirds of the world population, and approximately half of the world land area.
  • Because the G-20 is a forum, its agreements or decisions have no legal impact, but they do influence countries’ policies and global cooperation.
  • The G20 invites its members, invited countries, international partner organizations and affinity groups to dialogue and build consensus to promote public policies that solve the challenges facing humanity.

Members of G20

  • Membership of the G20 consists of 19 individual countries plus the European Union.
  • The EU is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank.

As of 2017 there are 20 members of the group:

  1. Argentina,
  2. Australia,
  3. Brazil,
  4. Canada,
  5. China,
  6. The European Union,
  7. France,
  8. Germany,
  9. India,
  10. Indonesia,
  11. Italy,
  12. Japan,
  13. Mexico,
  14. Russia,
  15. Saudi Arabia,
  16. South Africa,
  17. South Korea,
  18. Turkey,
  19. The United Kingdom, and
  20. The United States.

Spain is a permanent guest invitee.

Structure and Functioning of G20

  • The G20 Presidency rotates annually according to a system that ensures a regional balance over time.
  • For the selection of presidency, the 19 countries are divided into 5 groups, each having no more than 4 countries. The presidency rotates between each group. Every year the G20 selects a country from another group to be president.
  • India is in Group 2 which also has Russia, South Africa, and Turkey.
  • The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat or Headquarters. Instead, the G20 president is responsible for bringing together the G20 agenda in consultation with other members and in response to developments in the global economy.
  • TROIKA: Every year when a new country takes on the presidency (in this case Argentina 2018), it works hand in hand with the previous presidency (Germany, 2017) and the next presidency (Japan, 2019) and this is collectively known as TROIKA. This ensures continuity and consistency of the group’s agenda.

Note: Not to be confused with G20 Developing Nations

  • The G20 developing nations (and, occasionally, the G21, G23 or G20+) is a bloc of developing nations established on 20 August 2003.
  • Distinct and separate from the G20 major economies, the group emerged at the 5th Ministerial WTO conference, held in Cancún, Mexico, from 10 September to 14 September 2003.
  • The group accounted for 60% of the world’s population, 70% of its farmers and 26% of world’s agricultural exports.
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