Ten keys to understand what is at stake at the summit

The 2017 G-20 Summit, in Germany
The 2017 G-20 Summit, in Germany Fuente: Archivo
Alan Soria Guadalupe
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28 de noviembre de 2018  • 12:51

1- How will the dynamics of the summit be?

The Summit of the G-20 will be the most important international political event in Argentine history. Never before have the leaders of the group of nations representing 85% of world GDP come together. The meeting will take place between November 30 and December 1 and will have Costa Salguero as core venue, although there will also be activities in the center of Buenos Aires. The leaders will participate in four debate sessions, with the aim of reaching a final consensus statement among all the participants. During these sessions they will be accompanied by their delegations, but there will also be a retreat in which only the leaders will participate.

2- What are the topics that will dominate in the conversations?

Despite the themes proposed by the host countries, during the summits of G-20 the most pressing issues tend to sneak in the conversations. In this case, the focus is expected to be placed on trade and climate change . The trade war between China and the United States will be the most urgent issue and a definition of governments is expected around the future of the billionaire tariffs imposed this year on international trade. With regard to climate change, the objectives of the Paris Agreement, which at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg ended with a slam of the door by Donald Trump, who had announced his withdrawal from the pact, the issue is expected to come back to the discussion.

3- What themes did Argentina propose?

The agenda proposed by the government of Mauricio Macri contemplates three topics that have an anchorage in the present, but that seek a long-term projection. The G-20 worked during the more than 60 meetings that took place this year inside and outside the country on the issues of infrastructure for development (focused on the infrastructure deficit that predominates in developing countries and the alternatives to encourage investment), the future of work (the search for mechanisms to protect employment and adapt production processes to the development of new technologies) and a sustainable food future (promotion of soil care to increase productivity).

4- What is the objective of this summit?

The Government hopes to achieve a declaration that has the endorsement of the 19 leaders plus the European Union, but admits that it is a "complex" mission due to the strong differences maintained by some leaders. Throughout the year, Argentina was a mediator in the discussions and, according to the macrismo, important consensuses were achieved. However, the presidents are those who have the final verdict to ratify or overthrow the agreements reached during the summit next week. The document of last year's meeting, in Germany, came out without agreement from all parties.

5- What would have to happen for Argentina to consider the meeting as a success?

"Sweat" is the word chosen by the Argentine sherpa and former vice chancellor, Pedro Villagra Delgado, to describe what it will take for the summit to end with a consensus statement. With the aim of not repeating the failure of the 2017 declaration, the Government does not hope that from the Buenos Aires summit the solution to the commercial war, the disagreements on climate change or the migratory crisis will emerge, but hopes that in the final document, more consensuses than differences are exposed. Therefore, they say that the goal will be to draft a document "of constructive ambiguities" that allows everyone to be included in "a declaration of consensus".

6- What is Macri looking for with the bilateral ones?

The President will try to take advantage of the harmony with the main powers to raise, during meetings outside the summit, issues that his government considers priorities, such as the arrival of investments, financing for infrastructure works, trade agreements and cooperation in energy matters . Macri will also thank the countries for the support to their economic program, strengthened by the agreement with the IMF, and the aspiration of Argentina to join the OECD. Government sources indicated that agreements and announcements could be made such as the extension of commercial flights to the Malvinas Islands .

7- Where will there be tensions?

Trade war and climate change were at the center of friction during the summit last year in Hamburg and will also be in Buenos Aires. Donald Trump and Xi Jinping will hold a bilateral meeting in Buenos Aires, where they will try to bring positions around the commercial war. As for Argentina, the President will propose in his bilaterals with the United States the need to lift the export taxes on Argentine biodiesel and it is expected that China will take on the construction of a new nuclear power plant, a concern in Beijing after the financial swings of our country.

8- What will the security operation be like?

The summit will demand the deployment of an unprecedented security operation in our country. There will be active 13,400 officers of the federal forces, which will be added 9000 agents of the City and Buenos Aires Police, 3,500 international custodians and 200 tactical divers. Four armored assault tanks, six combat aircraft, four helicopters, 30 motorcycles and two boats, among other devices, will be used. There will be important traffic stops in the surroundings of Costa Salguero, Recoleta, Puerto Madero and a large sector of downtown Buenos Aires. During the summit there will be interruptions in the services of subways, trains and airplanes and ships. The groups will alter their route.

9- What will be the legacy of the Argentine presidency?

Once the summit is over, next Saturday, Argentina must leave the presidency to Japan, which will be in charge of organizing the event for 2019. Today, the "troika" is completed by Germany (which held the presidency last year) . According to estimates in Cambiemos, the government of Shinzo Abe expressed his satisfaction with the topic Infrastructure for Development, chosen by Mauricio Macri as one of the priorities of the Argentine summit. Although it is not confirmed, there is a possibility that Japan will give continuity to the work to eliminate the infrastructure gap that exists between the powers and the developing countries.

10- What participation did civil society have?

During the year there were numerous meetings of the affinity groups of the G-20, representing different sectors of civil society in the member countries, such as women, entrepreneurs, youth, think tanks, the scientific community, NGOs or unionism. From those meetings came documents with a series of management proposals to the leaders, who may or may not take them. During the summit of leaders next weekend, heads of state will receive recommendations on corruption, gender policies, education, work, environment, entrepreneurship, social protection and soil monitoring.

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