The G-20 summit has officially kicked-off in Brisbane. This year’s gathering comes amid growth in several of the member economies, with a slowing down in others. It also comes amid brewing geopolitical tensions between some of the members. The summit’s host, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, is committed to the summit having a successful outcome.
The G-20’s 19 member countries plus the European Union account for nearly 85 percent of the world’s economic production. This means they can strongly influence global growth that would greatly suffer from its absence. The leaders gathered in Brisbane are expected to scale back protectionist measures individually put in place following the 2008 global financial crisis. The summit’s host, Prime Minister Abbott, said the world expects more.
“This is our message to the world: that governments can deliver, that governments can agree that the world can be better, that there can be higher growth and more jobs,” the prime minister said.
Before the summit began, leaders of the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — met on the sidelines with Chinese president Xi Jinping to urge his counterparts to speed up the creation of a new Shanghai-based development bank. The group agreed to the bank in July as an alternative to the Western-dominated global financial system.
U.S. President Barack Obama insisted there is a role for the West to play, particularly when it comes to economics in the Asia-Pacific region. Obama promised greater cooperation with Beijing while speaking at a nearby university.
“The United States welcomes the continuing rise of a China that is peaceful, and prosperous and stable, and that plays a responsible role in world affairs,” he said. “It is a remarkable achievement that millions of people have been lifted out of poverty in China, because of the extraordinary growth rates that they have experienced. That is a good thing. We should want and welcome that kind of development.”
Obama also praised China’s new targets for carbon emission reductions. His sentiment was echoed by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
“The agreement between China and United States on a very ambitious climate change target aiming by 2020, is a significant one,” the secretary general said. “I am asking other leaders, particularly emerging economies and major economies, to follow suit so that we will be able to have a global and meaningful climate change agreement by December next year.”
As host, Australia sought to keep the summit’s focus on boosting growth, fireproofing global banking, and closing tax loopholes for giant multinationals. However, issues like climate change, which Abbott had hoped to avoid, have managed to creep onto the agenda.
CCTV America’s Roee Ruttenberg reports the story from Brisbane, Australia.
Alexander Clackson discusses the main talking points of the G-20 summit
CCTV America interviewed Alexander Clackson for more on the G2-0 summit. He’s the founder of the international affairs think-tank Global Political Insight with expertise on Russia.
Turkey takes helm as president of next year’s G-20 summit
Expectations of next year’s G-20 meeting are already being formulated as Turkey takes on the role of G-20 president.
Turkey said it was eager to play the bridge between the low-income, emerging countries and developed nations when it assumes the rotating Presidency of the G-20 in 2015 while at this year’s Australian meetings.
“Turkey’s presidency main term will be inclusivity for all human beings,” said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. “The G-20 agenda in that sense should represent not only 20 countries, but a global agenda. Therefore, the relation between G-20 and non-G-20 countries is as important as the relations between G-20 members.”
Turkey also wants to place more emphasis on the critical role of small and medium-sized businesses in global economic growth and security — which is new to the G-20 agenda.
As president, Turkey will aim to expand the G-20’s role beyond economic cooperation and decision-making to broader geopolitical issues, such as the refugee crisis in Syria and the Ebola outbreak in west Africa.
Following this weekend’s meeting, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutolglu will head to the Philippines for an official visit on Nov. 17 and 18 before taking on the G-20 presidency on Dec. 1.
CCTV America’s Natalie Carney reported the story from Istanbul.
Brisbane’s streets fill with G-20 protesters
Despite sweltering conditions, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Brisbane on the first day of the summit to voice their concerns on a range of issues, from climate change to income equality. G-2O meetings are often mired in rowdy protests, but this time it’s been mostly peaceful with just one person charged for carrying a prohibited item.
Thousands of demonstrators in a “people’s march” called for greater action to protect the environment, as well as demands on measures for economic growth that benefit more than just the wealthy. There were also concerns about the costs of hosting the summit.
It was 37 degrees Celsius (about 99 degrees Fahrenheit) and incredibly humid out on the streets, yet the protesters continued to voice their concerns to a global audience. Police had been bracing for the day, but the demonstrations so far have been peaceful. Items like masks, which can conceal a protester’s identity, are on a banned items list.
CCTV America’s Wu Guoxiu had this report from Brisbane, Australia.