Ebola and climate change were among the non-economic topics mentioned in a joint statement by the Group of Twenty (G20) after their two-day summit in Brisbane, Australia that ended on Sunday, Nov. 16.
On the economic front, the leaders of the G20 committed to reviving the subdued global economy with a $2 trillion, or 2.1 per cent, boost in global GDP over the next five years. Overall, the G20 leaders committed to a package of about 800 measures aimed at making the world a better place both economically and socially.
“Raising global growth to deliver better living standards and quality jobs for people across the world is our highest priority,” said the leaders in the joint statement.
The target of $2 trillion will be met by investing in infrastructure and increasing trade among member nations. Also on the agenda is reducing the gap between male and female participation in the workforce by 25 per cent over the next 10 years. With this, the G20 leaders hope to put 100 million more women in employment and, hence, reduce poverty considerably. Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, suggested that G20 members watch and encourage each other to ensure that each fulfills its commitments to boost growth.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was conspicuous in his absence when the joint communiqué was issued, as he chose to leave the summit early. Notably, there were reports of a verbal duel between the Russian president and Western leaders over Russia’s alleged interference in the Ukraine crisis. Putin later clarified that he left early to get some rest before returning to work in Russia.
Among others, the G20 also elaborated on the tricky issue of tax evasion by multinational companies. To prevent cross-border tax evasion, the joint statement said a global Common reporting standard for automatic exchange of tax information would be launched by 2017.
On climate change, the leaders said they were committed to fighting the global challenge. “Consistent with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its agreed outcomes, our actions will support sustainable development, economic growth, and certainty for business and investment,” they said. The leaders added they would work to adopt a protocol force under the UNFCCC that would be applicable to all parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in 2015.
The G20 leaders also expressed their deep concern about the humanitarian and economic impact of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. “We support the urgent coordinated international response and have committed to do(ing) all we can to contain and respond to this crisis. We call (up)on international financial institutions to assist affected countries in dealing with the economic impacts of this and other humanitarian crises, including in the Middle East (West Asia),” the joint communiqué said.