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Argentina's Agenda for G20 2018

John Kirton, Co-director, G20 Research Group
June 4, 2017

Six months before Argentina assumes the presidency of the G20 for 2018, on December 1, 2017, its approach and agenda are starting to become clear.

Argentina will focus the G20 on inclusive, people-centred growth and well-being, from the perspective of emerging economies and Latin American ones in particular. At the centre of the agenda will be employment opportunities and the future of work. The agenda will emphasise education, health, investment, sustainability, climate change, energy efficiency and gender equality. It will also include financial regulations and what has been accomplished since the global financial crisis started in 2007. Argentina will continue with the Compact for Africa, launched under the German presidency in 2017, and will broaden it to embrace Latin America. It is also expected to address the 2030 Agenda's Sustainable Development Goals and poverty, as well as migration, particularly reflecting the priorities of its Mexican partner. All issues will be addressed in a way that brings in the voices of the emerging world.

On employment, Argentina will focus on the polarisation of the job market. It sees a need to secure better data at the disaggregated task level about the impact of automation on the work force. It sees a need to develop better indicators, perhaps through a global laboratory that can better point to existing or potential new employment opportunities. This information would support multilateral organizations in helping countries build open societies.

In general, Argentina's agenda will blend continuity and innovation, in process and policy substance. It will focus on building concrete, action-oriented bridges.

Argentina sees civil society as critically important. It wants to move beyond dialogue with civil society to secure its engagement and commitment to help achieve the intended results. It has already begun this process, by having Beatriz Nofal, President Mauricio Macri's personal representative to the G20, engage with international think tanks at the culminating Think 20 Summit in Berlin on May 28-29, 2017. Even before this, it had held consultations with leading think tanks from China, Germany and Argentina, as the past, present and future presidencies in the G20's governing troika, and with the personal representatives of the leaders of Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

Argentina will also reach out to other countries at its summit. It will again invite the leaders of the two major regional African organizations — the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) — and add leaders from Latin America too.

In short, this is an ambitious agenda. It reflects the fact that in an interconnected world, a broad and integrated program is more likely to lead to G20 summit success than one narrowly focused on the old priority of boosting macroeconomic growth, as the Australian host tried at Brisbane in 2014. Argentina will continue the broadening and deepening of G20 agenda to include ecological and social issues, such as the critical question of how the digital revolution affects the workforce of the present and future. Such expansion helps show that the G20 is genuinely a club of systemically significant equals, as the 2017 host of Germany will be followed in 2018 by Argentina, which belongs neither to the G7 nor the BRICS. Indeed, Argentina correctly and centrally sees the G20 as the one international institution where emerging and developed countries meet and operate as peers, unlike the major multilateral organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, where the developed countries still set the rules.

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John KirtonJohn Kirton is director of the G7 Research Group, and co-director of the G20 Research Group, the Global Health Diplomacy Program and the BRICS Research Group, all based at Trinity College at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. He is also a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at China's Renmin University. A professor of political science, he teaches global governance and international relations and Canadian foreign policy. His most recent books include China's G20 Leadership (Routledge, 2016), G20 Governance for a Globalized World (Ashgate, 2012) and (with Ella Kokotsis), The Global Governance of Climate Change: G7, G20 and UN Leadership (Ashgate, 2015), as well as The G8-G20 Relationship in Global Governance, co-edited with Marina Larionova (Ashgate, 2015), and Moving Health Sovereignty in Africa: Disease, Govenance, Climate Change, co-edted with Andrew F. Cooper, Franklyn Lisk and Hany Besada (Ashgate, 2014). Kirton is also co-editor of several publications on the G7/8, the G20 and the BRICS published by Newsdesk Media.

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