Progress During Turkey’s 2015 G20 Presidency

Turkey assumed the G20 Presidency on the 1st of December, 2014. The Turkish Presidency has  culminated in the Antalya Summit on November 15-16, 2015. We have pursued an ambitious agenda and an intense work plan which, through collective action, has paved the way towards achieving the overarching aim of the G20: strong, sustainable and balanced growth. As such, Turkish G20 Presidency’s theme is “Collective Action for Inclusive and Robust Growth”.

G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors have convened four times under our Presidency. G20 Finance Ministers:

  • maintained their resolve to continue implementing sound macroeconomic policies in a cooperative manner to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
  • agreed on a robust framework, which includes detailed implementation schedules for key commitments, to effectively implement country commitments to reach G20’s collective growth ambition.
  • finalized the work on concrete country-specific investment strategies to support the collective growth objective, which would contribute to lifting the aggregate G20 investment to GDP ratio, by an estimated 1 percentage point by 2018.
  • have made notable progress towards finalizing the remaining core elements of the G20 financial regulation agenda this year. To be specific, along with many others, the common international standard on total loss absorbing capacity (TLAC) for global systemically important banks and higher loss absorbency (HLA) requirements for global systemically important insurers have been completed. In addition, the FSB’s first annual report on implementation and effects of reforms is considered as another critical output to monitor the impact of our actions and decisions.
  • finalized the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan to reach a globally modern and fair international tax system and agreed to call for the development of an inclusive implementation framework. The BEPS Action Plan is a unique and prominent example of modernization efforts in the international tax area through the last decade and has addressed a very comprehensive set of issues to adapt the international tax system to the landslide changes in the way business is done.
  • highlighted the G20’s support to the global development agenda and expressed their commitment to promote an enabling environment for low income developing countries as they pursue their development agenda and help them to build their institutional capacity.

Turkish G20 Presidency hosted the meeting of G20 Ministers of Agriculture on 6-8 May 2015 in İstanbul. This is the first time G20 Agriculture Ministers convened since 2011. G20 Agriculture Ministers expressed their strong support to global efforts to ensure food security and agreed on the importance of establishing economically, socially and environmentally sustainable food systems. Ministers also:

  • underlined the importance of food losses and waste as a global problem where around 1 trillion Dollars each year is spent to produce lost or wasted food.
  • decided to set up a G20 platform to prepare a common framework to measure food losses and waste with a view to reduce food losses and waste.
  • called for preparation of G20 Action Plan on Food Security and Sustainable Food Systems which will be submitted to Leaders for their endorsement in Antalya Summit.

The G20 Labour and Employment Ministers Meeting was held on 3-4 September 2015 in Ankara. By adopting G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial Declaration, G20 Labour Ministers agreed upon a target to reduce the share of young people who are at most risk of being permanently left behind in the labour market by %15 by 2025. Ministers also:

  • adopted some important documents on key labour market and employment issues as annexes to their declaration such as: “G20 Policy Priorities on Labour Income Share and Inequalities”, “G20 Skills Strategy”, “G20 Policy Principles for Promoting Better Youth Employment Outcomes”, “G20 Framework on Promoting Quality Jobs”, “G20 Principles for Effective Public Employment Services” and “G20 Principles on Silver Economy and Active Ageing”.
  • underlined the potential of international labour migration for contributing to economic growth and addressing labour market needs.
  • initiated the monitoring of the implementation of Employment Plans via reporting templates.

A joint meeting between Labour and Finance Ministers was held on 4 September in which discussions were focused on the issues of inequalities and the growth-employment relationship. The Ministers also had opportunities to meet representatives of social partners and engagement groups. Labour and Finance Ministers:

  • emphasized the importance of integrated policy approach, policy coherence and coordination between both streams,
  • highlighted that investing in infrastructure, effective active labor market policies, increasing labour force participation, investing in workers’ skills and training, creating quality jobs and supporting entrepreneurship are among the main policy options in supporting aggregate demand and reducing unemployment, recognizing the need to consider country specific conditions.
  • underlined that efficient allocation of resources through optimizing the composition of fiscal expenditures and revenues has a potential to support a more job-rich growth and promote inclusiveness in a budget-neutral way.

The first G20 Energy Ministers Meeting in the history of the G20 was held in İstanbul on 2 October 2015. In accordance with the priority attached to development issues in general and “access to energy” in particular. During the G20 Energy MinistersMeeting, Ministers:

  • adopted a Ministerial Communiqué, which constitutes a comprehensive framework for further improving the cooperation based on the G20 Principles on Energy Collaboration.
  • adopted the “G20 Energy Access Action Plan: Voluntary Collaboration on Energy Access”, the first phase of which focuses on enhancing electricity access in Sub-Saharan Africa where the problem is most acute and the “G20 Toolkit of Voluntary Options for Renewable Energy Deployment”, which aims to enhance renewable energy uptake.
  • welcomed important documents on energy efficiency such as the “Report on the G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan: Voluntary Collaboration on Energy Efficiency 2015 Outcomes of Work Streams” and the “Voluntary Energy Efficiency Investment Principles for G20 Participating Countries”.
  • discussed issues related to inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and market transparency.

G20 Energy Ministers also came together with African Energy Ministers and institutional investors to discuss access to energy in Sub-Saharan Africa at a High-Level Conference on Energy Access in Sub-Saharan Africa held on 1 October 2015 in Istanbul.

G20 Trade Ministers Meeting was organized on 6 October 2015 in Istanbul. Ministers agreed that trade continues to be an important pillar of inclusive economic growth. They decided to work together to develop policies in order to increase the growth in global trade.

Ministers also highlighted the importance of Global Value Chains and decided to work together in order to better integrate SMEs and Low Income Developing Countries into the Global Value Chains.

G20 Trade Ministers expressed their commitment to support a strong and efficient multilateral trading system where WTO is at the core. They also acknowledged that WTO Bali Package is a significant achievement and they underscored the importance of delivering a successful WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi.

Ministers also discussed ways and means of increasing coherence between RTAs and the multilateral trading system.

The informal meeting of Tourism Ministers was organized on 29-30 September 2015 in Antalya.

G20 Tourism Ministers highlighted the importance of tourism for G20 employment and growth agendas.

Tourism Ministers also underscored the importance of supporting Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in the tourism sector.

Activities of the G20 Engagement Groups:

Youth-20 (Y20) Summit was held in Istanbul on 16-21 August. More than 120 delegates from G20 members as well as representatives from Low Income Developing Countries had their deliberations and adopted the Y20 Communiqué which called on the G20 Leaders to set a “concrete, quantifiable and collective target on reducing youth unemployment”.

Under the Turkish Presidency, G20 countries have agreed to establish a new G20 engagement group, the Women-20 (W20), to promote gender inclusive economic growth. The W20 held its first ever Summit on 16-17 October 2015 in Istanbul with the participation of more than 500 participants and delegates from G20 as well as non-G20 countries. President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered the opening speech of the Summit.

The B20 Conference was held on 3-6 September 2015 in Ankara with the participation of close to 1,500 representatives of the international business community from 61 countries. The B20 submitted its recommendations to President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who attended the inauguration of the Conference.

The B20 and L20 submitted a Joint Declaration to the G20 entitled “Jobs, Growth and Decent Work”.

The B20 Summit was held in Antalya on 14-15 November 2015 and also held a Joint panel with L20 on 15 November with the attendance of G20 Leaders.

The Civil-20 (C20) Summit was held in Istanbul on September 15-16 with the participation of 450 delegates from more than 50 countries. The C20 has identified four issues of key concern: Inclusive Growth, Gender Equality, Governance (with a focus on International Taxation and Anti-Corruption) and Sustainability and developed policy recommendations corresponding to these areas. Deputy Prime Minister Cevdet Yılmaz, former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Turkey’s G20 Sherpa Ambassador Ayşe Sinirlioğlu attended the final session of the C20 Summit to receive the Communiqué on behalf of the G20 Turkish Presidency and to respond to the C20 recommendations.

The Labour-20 Summit on 13-14 November and the Think-20 Summit on 13-15 November were both also held in Antalya.

In order to provide a convenient platform as a conduit to voice the expectations and concerns of the SMEs to the G20, the World SME Forum has been established in cooperation with the International Chamber of Commerce.  The work plan of the Forum has been endorsed by the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in their September meeting and was presented to the Leaders in Antalya.

Outreach Activities of the G20 Presidency

The Turkish Presidency also valued direct outreach and dialogue with non-G20 countries, regional groups and institutions and conducted an extensive outreach program through the year. An Inaugural Regional Dialogue with the Caribbean Countries and the 5th Annual Dialogue between G20 and members of the Commonwealth and La Francophonie were held in Washington on 13 and 14 April 2015. Turkey’s G20 Sherpa Ambassador Ayşe Sinirlioğlu was in New York from 20 to 24 April and in Bangkok from 26 to 28 May 2015 to address the UN General Assembly and UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) 71st Meeting respectively. Ambassador Sinirlioğlu also attended various other regional and international meetings such as St Petersburg International Economic Forum 2015 and Croatia Forum 2015.

The G20 Turkish Presidency has also held two separate side events on the margins of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development on 13 and 14 July 2015, entitled “Priorities of the Turkish G20 Presidency with Particular Focus on Development” and “Inclusive Business as Contributor to the SDGs Implementation”.

Another high-level side event was organised in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the margins of the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015 in New York on 25 September. The side event entitled “G20’s Contribution to the Implementation of the SDGs” was co-chaired by H.E. Cevdet Yılmaz, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey and H.E. Helen Clark, Administrator of the UNDP.

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