By Liu Zongyi Source: Global Times Published: 2017-2-7
Since the 2010 G20 Summit in Seoul, development has been listed as an important item on the agenda of this international forum. Emerging economies in the G20, in particular, are paying close attention to development issues. Many developing countries feel that resolving the global imbalance is important to the development of the world economy. The emerging economies have contributed greatly to realizing the UN`s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through economic and social development.
In 2015, the UN passed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, thus, replacing MDGs with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and making sustainable development a common objective for developing and developed countries. With the joint efforts of Turkey, China and other member states, the G20 Summit in Hangzhou passed the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
G20 plays a significant role in achieving sustainable development. But, cooperation among individual member states is needed. For the SDGs, countries should make joint efforts at the domestic and international level to implement the 2030 agenda.
The action plan from the Hangzhou G20 Summit is just a starting point, and does not cover all aspects of the SDGs. It will make adjustments based on new initiatives, emerging needs and new challenges.
So, how can G20 accomplish the SDGs more efficiently?
For starters, the G20 members should play an exemplary role in integrating SDGs into national economic and social development policies. G20 countries should work closely to come up with macroeconomic policies, promote world economic growth, and create a favorable environment for developing countries to realize SDGs. In light of the growing trend of reverse globalization, G20 countries should be a driving force for globalization and actively steer it in a more inclusive direction.
In addition, G20 countries should continue to promote the reform of international economic, financial and monetary systems, build an open and fair multilateral trade system, push liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, oppose protectionism, and strengthen international exchanges and cooperation on assistance.
The subsequent host countries of the G20 should strictly abide by the spirit and principle of the action plan. However, hosts of G20 summits often put forward issues related to their own national interests rather than those concerning the international community. But, it is very important for member states to follow the action plan. Developing countries have more responsibilities to shoulder in carrying it out.
In the meantime, G20 does not have unlimited power to force the implementation of the 2030 agenda. An effective solution to this problem is to abide by the implementation and the evaluation process of the UN sustainable development high-level political forum, and monitor the progress of G20 in implementing the 2030 agenda under this framework. International institutions like OECD, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund need to aid G20 in the implementation process.
Finally, sustainable development faces many obstacles in developing countries. But, the developed countries should abstain from imposing their ideas and values on them. The views and experiences of developing countries should be respected and they should develop their own policies independently. The most pressing issue for many developing countries is poverty alleviation, for which China has a wealth of experience to offer. But such experiences can only be studied and not copied.
It is imperative for countries to come up with their own solutions to the problems they are facing. G20 Development Working Group could act as a platform for sharing experiences among the countries and do more work to build mechanisms that facilitate the experience sharing.
The author is a visiting fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.