Main G20 themes and Working Groups

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Working Groups carry out in-depth discussions on specific issues of international importance, and their members are experts from the G20 countries. The results of the various Groups are presented to the Ministers and ultimately to the G20 leaders.

Over the years, the topics addressed by the G20 have significantly expanded compared with the original economic and financial issues. The Working Groups can be grouped into two 'tracks': the term 'Finance Track' refers to the meetings coordinated by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, aimed at investigating various aspects of economic, financial, monetary and fiscal issues; and the term 'Sherpa Track' refers to meetings on issues coordinated by a representative of the Ministry of the current Presidency, responsible for the subject in question.

Finance Track

The Ministries of Finance and central banks represent their countries in the Financial Track framework. There are six separate working groups dedicated to sustainable and inclusive growth, the international financial architecture, infrastructures, financial inclusion, sustainable finance, and Africa. The Finance Track also includes thematic groups for financial regulation and international taxation. The Italian Presidency of the G20 re-established the Sustainable Finance Study Group (SFSG) within the G20 Finance Track. On April 7, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors welcomed the re-establishment of the Sustainable Finance Study Group and agreed to upgrade it to a working group.

  • Framework Working Group
    The Framework Working Group (FWG) assesses the evolution of the global economic outlook, while coordinating policies aimed at promoting strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. In the wake of the crisis caused by the pandemic, the FWG's primary goal is to present economic policy proposals for sustaining global recovery. To this end, the FWG contributes to updating the G20 Action Plan and to monitoring the progress made in the commitments undertaken.
  • International Financial Architecture Working Group
    The International Financial Architecture (IFA) Working Group helps to enhance the stability and cohesion of the international financial system. It addresses the challenges relating to debt sustainability and transparency, to strengthening the Global Financial Safety Net to the risks associated with volatile capital flows to financing for development in low-income countries and to coordination between international financial institutions, including multilateral development banks.
  • Infrastructure Working Group
    The Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) advises on policies for improving the preparation, financing and management of quality infrastructure investments to secure the provision of inclusive, sustainable and resilient basic infrastructure services. The ultimate goal is to tackle the persistent gap in infrastructural investment, also by promoting infrastructures as an asset class as to stimulate private sector involvement.
  • Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion
    The Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion was created in 2010 to promote financial inclusion globally as a means of increasing well-being and achieving sustainable and inclusive growth. The objective is to improve access to and the use of financial services, also through digital media, for households and businesses. It also helps to encourage adequate financial education and to strengthen the protection for consumers of financial services.
  • Sustainable Finance Working Group
    The SFWG aims to mobilize sustainable finance as a way of ensuring global growth and stability and promoting the transitions towards greener, more resilient and inclusive societies and economies. The Group is tasked to identify institutional and market barriers to sustainable finance and to develop options to overcome such barriers, and to contribute to a better alignment of the international financial system to the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
  • Africa Advisory Group
    The Africa Advisory Group (AAG) has been coordinating the G20 Compact with Africa since 2017, with the aim of improving the environment for private investment in African countries and fostering growth and sustainable development. This informal body is co-chaired by Germany and South Africa, and comprises some G20 members, the African Compact Countries, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other stakeholders such as the European Commission and the OECD. The AAG meets twice a year to monitor the progress of Compact Countries and suggest new policy recommendations based on the Compact Monitoring Report.
  • Financial regulation
    The priorities of the Italian G20 Presidency financial regulation are: (i) initiatives concerning the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on financial stability and (ii) initiatives ensuring that the financial system contributes to inclusive and sustainable economic growth consistent with financial stability. With regard to the first priority, three initiatives are planned: (i) a review of the lessons learned from the pandemic crisis on the adequacy of the regulatory framework, revised following the 2008 financial crisis, paying special attention to the flexibility of prudential standards, factors that may exacerbate their procyclicality and the smooth functioning of crisis management; (ii) preparatory work on the conditions required for exiting emergency measures without adversely affecting the functioning of markets; and (iii) an analysis of the vulnerabilities that emerged during the pandemic in some segments of the non-banking intermediation sector and possible changes to the relative regulatory framework.
    With regard to the second priority, the main projects are: (i) to deliver more effective and secure international payment systems with the initiatives planned by the Roadmap agreed under the previous G20 Presidency (including work to ensure an appropriate framework to regulate, supervise and oversee global stablecoins and discuss the possible impacts on financial stability of using cross-border systems of digital central bank money); and (ii) to strengthen the information framework used by financial intermediaries to assess the risks that climate change poses and to promote greater harmonization disclosure standards as regards climate risk. The Italian Presidency is also committed to carrying on with initiatives on cybersecurity inherited from previous presidencies and to ensuring that the transition to the new financial benchmarks takes place without jeopardizing financial stability. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) coordinates these initiatives in collaboration with the Standard Setting Bodies and other International Organizations. The FSB will present reports on the Presidency's priorities.
  • International taxation
    Several groups coordinated by the OECD and including representatives of non-OECD and non-G20 countries carry out initiatives to strengthen the international taxation rules. The Inclusive Framework on BEPS (Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) formulates proposals for the taxation of the digital economy and monitors the implementation of the BEPS action plan to combat the erosion of the tax-base. The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes monitors the implementation of standards for the exchange of information (on request and automatic) and promotes their adjustment to technological or market changes. Other working groups contribute to the initiatives for improving tax certainty and cooperation with developing countries.

Sherpa Track

The Sherpas, usually senior members of the staff of Heads of State and Government, represent the countries in Sherpa Track working groups, dedicated to broader issues than economic and financial ones, such as:

  • Education
    The Education Working Group examines the factors affecting the right to education and access to higher education, also in light of the pandemic. Reducing the digital divide and exploring the digital tools to expand the communication channels between education and the job market will be among its priorities under the Italian Presidency.
  • Health
    The threats to global health are directly linked to one of the central objectives of the G20: ensuring economic stability and prosperity. Also in light of the pandemic, the Italian Presidency will place particular emphasis on this working group on health, while also promoting its interaction with the Global Health Summit, which Italy will organize together with the European Commission and will host in 2021.
  • Trade and Investment
    This Working Group was established in 2016. It addresses the main issues relating to trade and investment and coordinates the actions of the G20 countries to strengthen trade and investment worldwide. In 2021, the focus will be on ensuring a recovery and overcoming the impact of the pandemic.
  • Development
    The Development Working Group (DWG) was created in 2010. It has become an essential forum for discussing and promoting action on a broad range of issues directly affecting developing countries, especially low-income countries. In 2016, the G20 Leaders entrusted the DWG with coordinating and monitoring policy actions relating to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Digital Economy Task Force
    The Digital Economy Task Force, established in 2016, supports the work of the G20 Ministers responsible for issues relating to the digital economy and highlights the central role of digital transformation in the broad context of economic and social growth. Under the Italian Presidency, it will build on the foundations laid in previous years and strive to develop new prospects for digitalization and digital governance. The Task Force is cooperating with the newly established 'Academics Informal Gathering' for the first time, which focuses on research and higher education. This informal group does the groundwork for the Ministerial Research team, which will be chaired by the Minister for University and Research.
  • Anti-Corruption
    The Anti-Corruption Working Group promotes legislative harmonization between the G20 countries to prevent and combat corruption, and is a varied and multidisciplinary Group, led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Italy. Under the Italian Presidency, it will focus especially on modern forms of corruption, increasingly linked to economic and organized crime, and on the development of reliable indicators for particularly exposed sectors, such as sports. A new G20 anti-corruption Action Plan for 2022-2024 will be adopted.
  • Labour
    The mandate of the group (established in 2014) is to address the priority issues relating to labour. The group draws up shared guidelines aimed at creating employment, improving working conditions and developing positive dynamics to foster strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. To this end, it promotes the assumption of greater responsibility by the parties involved and develops methodologies designed to ensure the effective implementation of the agreed policies and programmes. The Group draws upon technical studies by ILO and the OECD and involves the B20 (employers), L20 (workers), W20 (women) and Y20 (young people) Engagement Groups in its activities.
  • Energy Transition and Climate Sustainability Working Group
    In recognition of the inextricable link between climate change and energy, Italy will combine the work of the Climate Sustainability Working Group and of the Energy Transition Working Group. During our G20 Presidency, we will address some of the most challenging and pressing issues with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fostering sustainable energy, building a resilient future and ensuring prosperity. The ETWG, in particular, will focus on the future of sustainable cities, on smart electricity grids and innovative clean technologies. It will also explore the issues of efficiency and circularity, as key factors for stimulating a sustainable, people-focused recovery, mindful of the planet. Universal energy access and the eradication of energy poverty will also be on the agenda, as well as the development of a new concept of energy security that embraces modern and clean energy sources. The CSWG will focus on defining new inclusive and resilient models that build on the opportunities that the sustainable recovery from COVID-19 offers for accelerating the energy transition, the green economy and environmental sustainability. We will achieve this by leveraging not only on national public resources, but also on global financial flows progressively aligned in support of the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Climate change adaptation, resilience and nature-based solutions are also central elements of this approach. It aims at combining emission reduction and adapting in order to combat biodiversity loss, improve air quality and enhance the energy efficiency of buildings with positive impacts on people's health and well-being.
  • Environment
    The environment and climate change are one of the three pillars of the Italian Presidency's G20 agenda, in a year that will be marked by a number of key events, such as the COP26 on climate change, which will be co-chaired by the United Kingdom and Italy. The G20 Environment Deputies Meeting (EDM) will therefore help prepare the work of the Environment Ministers and of the Leaders, both as part of the G20 and for the interconnected multilateral events scheduled for 2021. As well as the issue of climate change, which is also dealt with by the Climate Sustainability Working Group (CSWG), the EDM will focus on the protection of biodiversity and on the concepts of sustainability and environmental well-being, including in urban areas.
  • Culture
    This working group was created in support of the G20 Culture Ministerial Conference, which will be held under the Italian Presidency. Its main objective is to bring the issue of Cultural Heritage preservation to the forefront of international attention, with particular focus on illicit trafficking, the relationship between culture and climate change and the interactions between culture, education and training. The working group has helped establish a network of international experts and supports the Ministers of Culture in implementing their decisions at global level.
  • Tourism
    The Tourism Working Group was created in 2020 in view of the key role that the sector plays at global level in terms of economic growth, job creation, the preservation of natural and cultural resources and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In the current crisis generated by COVID-19, the Group will focus on coordinating and sharing the policies and the measures to be taken for a rapid recovery of international tourism.
  • Academics Informal Gathering
    The newly established "Academics Informal Gathering" focuses on research and higher education. This group sets the groundwork for the Research Ministerial, which will be chaired by the Minister for University and Research.
  • Agriculture
    G20 Agriculture Deputies Group was created in 2011 to support the preparation of the Agriculture Ministers Meeting. It has become an essential forum to strengthen cooperation on the issues of global food security, nutrition, sustainability and resilience of agricultural and food systems, and to address the need to promote the development of sustainable agriculture.