Osaka is the biggest city in the western Japan where G20 Summit Meeting 2019 was held. It is known as a city of craftmanship and manufacturing prowess, and is home to small and medium sized enterprises.
While the G20 was originally established in response to the global financial crisis, its core mission today is to establish economic fundamentals for realizing sustainable and inclusive growth of the global economy. From this perspective, first, the G20 discusses the impact of structural factors on the global economy, such as global imbalances and aging, in addition to monitoring major risks through surveillance of the global economy.
Second, the G20 discusses concrete actions for strengthening growth potential. We also discuss sustainable financing to promote Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in developing countries as well as promoting debt transparency and ensuring debt sustainability in low-income countries, in addition to promotion of the Quality Infrastructure Investment (QII), as well as measures that further reinforce the basis of sustainable development, including strengthening financial resilience against natural disasters such as disaster risk financing.
Third, in the areas of international taxation and finance, we take up issues of how to respond to economic and social structural changes brought by digitalization and globalization of the economy through technological innovation. This structural change has been radically changing the world's economic and social landscape and business models. In order to harness this change for achieving sound growth, it is urgent to implement policy response in the area of internal taxation and finance, while avoiding harmful fragmentation of the global economic system.
International trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development. The current development surrounding international trade are negatively affecting the prospects of global economy and trade. The G20 members, covering more than 80% of global GDP, have responsibility for resolving this situation. The G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy, held in Tsukuba city on June 8 and 9 focuses on the following issues:
The rule-based multilateral trading system is at a critical juncture. In order to restore the confidence in the multilateral trading system, it is imperative to maintain and strengthen the momentum of WTO reform. At the Buenos Aires Summit, G20 Leaders expressed their "support [to] the necessary reform of the WTO to improve its functioning", and agreed to review its progress at the Osaka Summit. Based on this, the Japanese presidency will take the lead in discussions in order to provide further political momentum to the WTO reform.
Furthermore, based on the discussions that took place in the past G20 summits, we continue to discuss the issue of the steel excess capacity which is a global issue that requires collective response under the Japanese presidency. In this context, the Global Forum for Steel Excess Capacity (GFSEC), which was established in 2016 based on the agreement at the G20 Hangzhou Summit, continues the process of information-sharing on members' production capacities and support measures, as well as the review process based on the provided information.
Under the past presidencies, G20 discussion has focused on how innovation, including digitalization, drives the economic growth and enhance productivity, while also shedding light on the importance of addressing its impact on labour market, skills, and digital divide. The Japanese presidency proposes focusing on the crucial role played by data in the 21st century economic system.
As digitalization is transforming every aspect of our economies and societies, effective use of data is increasingly becoming an important driver of economic growth and social well-being. In January 2019, in his remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo proposed the concept of "Data Free Flow with Trust" (DFFT), highlighting the necessity to engender public trust in the digital economy to further facilitate data flow. Based on past discussions, the Japanese presidency proposes accelerating international discussions to harness the full potential of data.
The presidency also suggests discussing the importance of social application of emerging technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things), robotics, and big data, which contribute to fully harnessing the opportunities brought about by digitalization, as well as to achieving a "Society 5.0"* and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Under this overarching narrative, Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Economy, held in Tsukuba city on June 8 and 9, discusses the following thematic areas:
Moreover, discussion on the interface between trade and digital economy is elaborated during the joint session with Trade Ministers.
Climate Change: Climate change, which is becoming more serious as seen by the frequent occurrence of disasters due to extreme climate all over the world in recent years, poses immediate challenges that require concerted actions by the international community. To address climate related challenges in a global scale under the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, it is necessary to accelerate "a virtuous cycle of environment and growth" and aim to create a paradigm shift which promotes business-led innovation. To facilitate such efforts, it will be essential to create a number of innovations in the field of climate change and apply them in society. G20 members are focusing on discussing issues such as innovation, finance mobilization, and collaborating with non-state actors, together with addressing traditional major topics including mitigation, adaptation and climate finance.
Energy: G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth is held on 15 to 16 June 2019 in Karuizawa, Nagano. Regarding energy, while attaching importance on energy transitions in accordance with each country's own circumstances, discussions at the Ministerial Meeting and the G20 Osaka Summit focuses on accelerating innovation such as hydrogen and Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) as a major impetus for a virtuous cycle of environmental and growth, mobilizing private finance for innovation, and improving business environment for dissemination of innovative technologies. In addition, building upon the outcomes of the discussion on energy during the previous Presidencies, various energy-related issues are comprehensively discussed.
Environment (Marine Plastic Litter): Marine plastic litter, which has been attracting global attention in recent years, is an urgent challenge, given that it harms the marine ecosystem and impacts our health. In order to resolve this problem, measures to address this issue need to be taken by all countries, including emerging economies. G20 members are discussing how to prevent the discharge of plastic litter into the ocean and facilitate innovation in order to intensify global efforts on this issues at the "G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth" and the G20 Osaka Summit.
The world of work faces significant changes driven by globalization, digitalization, demographic transitions, and a shift in individual and societal expectations about work and welfare. Under Japanese Presidency, changes in the world of work and how it can enable improvement in the governance of labour market, legal framework, institutions, and policy approaches to increase productivity and to maximize benefits for workers and employers are discussed at the G20 Osaka Summit in June. Three pillars of discussion are: (1) adapting to demographic change; (2) promoting gender equality in labour markets; and (3) exchanging national policies and practices in response to the new forms of work.
In addition, Labour and Employment Minister's Meeting, held at Matsuyama city in September, follows up implementation of measures agreed by G20 leaders at the Osaka Summit. Moreover, the importance of tourism and agriculture is underlined as perspective solutions for employment, women's empowerment and development. To deal with these issues, Tourism Minister's Meeting is held in October in Kucchan city, in addition to the Agriculture Minister's Meeting in Niigata city in May.
Women's empowerment is essential for achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Discussions under the Japanese Presidency is made under the following three pillars: (1) implementation of G20 commitments including those related to women's labour participation, (2) enhancing support for girls' and women's education including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) area, (3) engagement with women business leaders and entrepreneurs.
On women's labour participation, G20 Leaders committed to the Brisbane Commitment "25 by 25," to reduce the gender gap in labour force participation by 25 per cent by 2025 at the Brisbane Summit in 2014. Taking effective measures to ensure the implementation of this goal continues to be a priority for the G20. Further, continued action is necessary in improving the quality of women's employment, reducing the gender pay gap and protecting women from all forms of gender-based discrimination.
Education plays a key role in realizing women's empowerment. As digitalization is transforming society, STEM education for girls is crucial. It is also important to take measures to address all forms of gender-based violence, including in the digital context. To take forward the agreement at the Buenos Aires Summit, discussions focus on how to better engage with women entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Development is an important issue for realizing inclusive and sustainable world and discussion on this topic has been elaborated under the past G20 presidencies. It has become increasingly relevant after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations in 2015. In 2016, G20 committed to further aligning its work with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This year is of particular significance, as 2019 is an important milestone year in reviewing international efforts on the SDGs, with the leaders' High-Level Political Forum (SDG Summit), the first-ever UN Summit since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda to be held in New York in September.
Moreover, the Japanese presidency envisages discussion on the following themes, particularly on the importance of quality Infrastructure and human capital investment in order to promote development, especially in developing countries:
Japan promotes development considering a synergy of the aforementioned UN Summit with the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VII), held in August of this year.
Global health is an important topic that is essential as a basis for sustainable growth of the global economy. The WHO is invited to the Osaka Summit. In the G20 Osaka summit, three elements, namely 1. Achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), 2. Response to Aging society, and 3. Management of Health Emergencies including antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are the priority areas of discussion of the Presidency. The discussion includes Japan's unique and new perspectives such as using innovation and technology as well as promoting "healthy and active aging". With regard to the importance of sustainable health financing towards UHC, in order to encourage global and technical discussion. In addition, a Joint Session of the G20 Finance and Health Ministers is held in parallel with the G20 summit in Osaka. In addition, the Health Minister's Meeting is held in Okayama in October.
*Society 5.0 is a human-centred society that achieves a high integration of cyberspace (virtual space) and physical space (real space), coming after the hunting society (Society 1.0), agricultural society (Society 2.0), industrial society (Society 3.0), and information society (Society 4.0). In such a society, new technologies have various transformative impacts on the way how the society works, for example, formulation of optimal value chain; promotion of sustainable industrialization by automated manufacturing; increased production of crops by automating the agricultural work; and extending healthy life expectancy and reducing the social cost by preventive examinations and nursing-care robots; to name a few.
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