In 2015, Turkey held the G20 Presidency. Looking back, would you say that the B20 recommendations under the Turkish Presidency have led to concrete action since then? For which topics would you wish for more commitment by the G20?
To start, I would like to emphasize my trust in Argentina, who will do its best to continue the success of the B20’s work and who will bring new issues to world’s attention by building upon previous Presidencies’ work.
When we look back to B20 Turkey, we can see that inclusivity was the most important principle in that year. After 2 years, it is great to see that it has succeeded in making the B20 and the G20 more inclusive.
Firstly, Turkey initiated the process to make the G20 more relevant for developing countries and China laid a good framework to achieve the aforementioned objective. I see that German leadership of the G20 in 2017 also continued these efforts and made the G20 more relevant for developing countries.
Secondly, during the Turkish Presidency, special importance was given to set a comprehensive agenda for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). This is important, since the G20 is usually considered as a forum only for Multinational Companies (MNCs) to find their way within the system of nation states. The taskforces of the Business 20's (B20) outreach group were completely outsourced to MNCs prior to the Turkish Presidency. While Turkey paved the way for the inclusion of domestic SMEs within the global policy debate, the Chinese and German Presidencies focused on the content of the global debate about SMEs. In terms of inclusiveness, the German contribution was their focus on integrating SMEs into global value chains (GVCs), which is very important. Moreover, the G20’s positive response to these SME policy development efforts is a great achievement for a more inclusive G20.
Thirdly, during the Turkish Presidency in 2015, the first ever B20 digital economy platform was initiated, and digitalization was proposed as a new agenda item for the G20. Having digitalization as one of the most important agenda items during the German B20 Presidency is another important achievement, and more on this topic is expected in the upcoming years.
Besides these three issues, we can also see some slow progress in Turkey’s B20 recommendations turning into concrete actions during the Chinese and the German Presidencies. When we look at the recommendations under the Turkish Presidency, we see that the B20 advised G20 leaders to focus more on a business-friendly environment to create employment opportunities, increase youth and female labor force participation by making labor markets more dynamic and inclusive, and by developing and financing programs aimed at reducing skills mismatches in an era of innovation and rapid technological change. Data regarding business climate reforms show that there has been a significant improvement on enabling a business friendly environment. However, the efforts are limited and need further improvement.
When it comes to youth and female participation to the labor force, we have seen continuous efforts since the Australian G20 Presidency’s ambitious target of reducing the gap in labor force participation rates between men and women by 25 percent by 2025. According to an IOE-BIAC Survey on the Implementation of G20 Commitments on reducing the gender gap in wages and in participation rates, an overwhelming majority of G20 members have recognized the efforts being made. However, half of the G20 members indicated that such efforts have not yielded significant positive results.
Skills mismatch is another issue on which governments should have sustainable policies and reform packages. Young people need to be offered the opportunities to develop their skills according to the needs of the labor market. Education policy will be a critical enabler for this. The aim should be to position workers to adapt to technologies and emerging jobs, while considering the diverse national realities and circumstances.
Although there are individual efforts to reach the targets set by the Turkish G20 Presidency, it is essential to have a substantial monitoring mechanism to follow up each G20 Communiqué. Without proper implementation, it would be impossible for the G20 to accomplish its duty.