Eight challenges for the G20 Leaders' Summit

13 November 2015
Our experts share their views on the big issues ahead of the summit
Experts from across the University of Sydney weigh in on the most pressing issues facing the G20 Leaders' Summit to be held in Antalya, Turkey, on 15-16 November.

Last year's G20 Leaders' Summit held in Brisbane, Australia.

Image credit: Government ZA under CC BY-ND-2.0

Since the first Leaders' Summit in 2008, the Group of Twenty (G20) has addressed some of the most critical economic concerns of our time including the Global Financial Crisis. This year the G20 Leaders' Summit will meet in Turkey on 15-16 November. The summit will mark particular significance for Australia, as Malcolm Turnbull faces his first major multilateral gathering since being sworn in as Prime Minister. 

In the lead-up to the summit, experts from the University of Sydney have shared their views on what is likely to be a major test of economic leadership for the Turnbull government. From jobs growth and international taxation, to the G20 anti-corruption action plan and women's participation in the workforce, experts from the University are available to comment on the summit. 

1. International taxation

“G20 is expected to endorse the final recommendations of the OECD to counter base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) by multinational enterprises. However, the ultimate success of the project is uncertain. As the OECD head of tax said in a recent interview, the BEPS project will enter into the ‘nail biting’ stage of implementation, and it is unclear whether countries will adopt the recommendations at all.” 

Associate Professor Antony Ting
The University of Sydney Business School

Professor Antony Ting discusses corporate tax avoidance

2. Economic developments

"The G20 came into its own during the Global Financial Crisis. Its main success has been in crisis management and particularly in creating momentum for practical reform of the financial system. As the immediate threat of the GFC has receded, there is a risk that the G20 will evolve into a forum for political statements rather than concrete policy action. This seems to be the case with the current 'growth and resilience' agenda including the two per cent GDP target.

"The G20 agenda is short on policy specifics to achieve this target. It is also short on genuinely 'new ideas' to achieve this target. So it's unclear how the G20 expects to achieve the higher growth target given slower growth in Germany and China and the end of easy money in the US and UK."

Dr Mark Melatos
School of Economics

Bloomberg Business spoke to Dr Mark Melatos earlier this year about Grexit

3. Women in the economy

“Boosting women’s labour force participation is critical to improving economic independence and it is good for families and children. Happily, building gender equality in the labour force is also good for the economy and has a strong business case.”

Associate Professor Rae Cooper
The University of Sydney Business School

Associate Professor Rae Cooper discusses her expertise in flexible work and boosting women's participation in women's leadership roles

“Women’s participation in the global economy is critical if the goal of inclusive growth currently advocated by individual governments at the G20 is to be met. Business as usual will not deliver economic equality for women. Women are over-represented in all forms of marginal and vulnerable work – in both developed economies and low-income developing countries (LIDCs). They are more likely than men to be employed informally with no access to basic social security provisions such as paid parental leave or sick leave, no protective labour legislation, and susceptible to the worst forms of economic exploitation and insecurity. Including women in economic planning and development strategies will require a significant cultural and intellectual shift by governments and policy makers.

“The 2015 G20 president, Turkey, aims to develop policies to better integrate disadvantaged groups such as women and young people into the economy, reduce inequality and promote integration of small and medium-sized enterprises and low-income developing countries, into the global economy. This includes implementation of the 2014 G20 goal of reducing the gap in labour force participation rates between men and women in G20 countries by 25 per cent by 2025, taking into account national circumstances, to bring more than 100 million women into the labour force.”

Dr Elizabeth Hill
Department of Political Economy

4. Jobs growth

Professor John Buchanan is a leading expert on employment and job growth issues. Professor Buchanan is the Director of the Workplace Research Centre at the University and is available to comment on how the G20 leaders will address workplace and structural changes as well as inequality.  

Last year, Professor Buchanan said of the 2014 G20 Leaders' Summit: "International Monetary Fund researchers have established that deepening inequality can be an impediment to growth. The World Bank has done important work on the need for 'inclusive growth' strategies to ensure growth is sustainable. And the International Labor Organization has highlighted the importance of labour standards for preventing inequality at source.  It will be useful to observe how well G20 leaders build on these important insights when formulating priorities to address current challenges."

Professor John Buchanan
Workplace Research Centre

5. Anti-corruption agenda

“Abuse of corporate structures is essential to the execution of sophisticated money laundering, tax evasion and corruption schemes. Regulating transparency of corporate structures is a key strategy to curb such illicit activities. The G20 leaders are expected to encourage countries to implement laws which will require greater transparency in corporate structures, including identifying the beneficial ownership of companies that hold bank accounts and real estate.

“G20 countries are expected to lead by example. While the United Kingdom and the European Union have taken concrete steps to regulate beneficial ownership of private companies, the United States and Australia are seen as outliers in corporate ownership transparency.”

Associate Professor David Chaikin
The University of Sydney Business School

6. International security

Professor James Der Derian from the Department of Government and International Relations is available to comment on the nuances of Australia’s relationships with the G20 nations, with particular reference to international security issues.

Professor James Der Derian
Centre for International Security Studies

7. Food security

“Delivering sufficient, safe, ethical and nutritious food in a sustainable manner to meet the requirements of future generations is one of the world’s greatest challenges. One of the key priorities identified by the G20 Presidency is food security in the developing world, which is a very positive step. 

“Access to optimal food and nutrition are central to individual wellbeing, healthy communities and a healthy planet. The G20 needs to steer efforts towards global food and nutrition security to ensure this outcome is met.”

Associate Professor Robyn Alders
Faculty of Veterinary Science

8. Inequality

"Four billion people live on less than $5 a day. Current targets aim to reduce this number for three billion people. But this can only become a reality when the 4 billion are proactively and integrally included in an inclusive growth model which embraces a fundamental transformation of business philosophy and practices.

"Widespread inequality can only be alleviated if CEOs, governments and the not-for-profit sector acknowledge the potential of these four billion people and co-create strategies with the poor in order to realise this potential, not just as recipients of charity, but as partners in growth.” 

Associate Professor Ranjit Voola
The University of Sydney Business School

Associate Professor Voola questions whether creating shared value can address the greatest challenges of our time including poverty

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