Green growth and the G20 challenges and opportunities

Will Barker attended the 2012 G20 Summit in Mexico where he represented Griffith University. Will is studying a Bachelor of Law & International Relations.

Abstract 

In June 2012 the G20 will convene in Los Cabos, Mexico. In addition to its traditional agenda of economic and financial issues, the G20 will to address a new topic: “green growth”. Green growth purports to foster economic growth by the promotion of green growth initiatives. The concept of green growth has experienced growing attention in recent years due to its potential to act as an antidote to two of the world’s greatest challenges: the ongoing global economic malaise and the deterioration of the natural environment caused by economic activity.  Its exciting potential is only rivaled by its nebulosity. There is currently no international consensus as to what counts as a green growth initiative. This poses both a challenge and an opportunity for the G20. The challenge is two-fold. First, the challenge will be to demonstrate the G20 is a credible forum to address this environmental issue by committing to concrete action in circumstances where member states have diverse opinions as to what green growth initiatives should look like. Second, it will be to integrate green growth into the G20’s framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth, rather than allow it to become ‘just another’ agenda item. This article argues that by converting existing G20 commitments into green initiatives the G20 can integrate green growth into the ongoing G20 agenda and also ensure concrete action will be take on green growth, even if consensus on an abstract definition of green growth is not forthcoming, thus overcoming both challenges. This will result in an opportunity for the G20: it will be able to contribute to momentum for a political agreement at the Rio+20 Conference as well as allow the major economic powers to coordinate their positions to provide a united front committed to green growth at that conference.

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When microfinance and megafinance meet

Scott attended the 2012 G20 summit in Mexico where he represented the Macquarie University. Scott is studying a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies & Economics, as well as being a member of the Global Leadership Program.

Executive Summary 

Sustainable and effective methods of eradicating global poverty are of high priority on the agenda of the G20. This is because poverty reduction is generally associated with an increased standard of living, a higher level of education and greater economic opportunities for individuals. Furthermore, nation states which engage in poverty reduction strategies can simultaneously transition their economies from dependent ones to diverse and sustainable ones. 

The paper assesses microfinance collectively as a tool and through its main services, namely credit, savings and insurance, highlighting merits and limitations of each. Analysis of the above leads to innovative ways for the G20 to add value to this movement. 

Motivation for the G20’s involvement is evident with social inclusion as a permanent agenda item. The G20 has recognised microfinance as a key to reduction of poverty. I recommend that more concrete action be taken by the G20, through funding of MFIs and supporting the introduction, development and efficiency of microfinance by working alongside governments to fulfil the Nine Principles for Innovative Financial Inclusion. 

The issue of women in microfinance is identified and analysed. The oppression of women as individuals and as a community is addressed. Microfinance enables women to develop their capacity for financial management. The G20 is a catalyst to change the systematic disadvantage of women, drawing the significance from the experience of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh of the transition for women. 

The paper concludes that microfinance is valuable for the reduction of poverty. . It also recognises that poverty cannot be solved with microfinance as the only model. The limitations of microfinance are examined, identifying the appropriate context for microfinance institutions (MFIs).

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The impact of the G20 on the global economy and the role of Australia as a middle power

Ruth Lo Surdo is attending the G20 summit in Mexico where she is representing The University of Western Sydney. Ruth is studying a Bachelor of Economics and Law, as well as being a member of the Aspire Leadership Program.

Abstract 

Through an analysis of past summits and present opinions of the G20, this report assesses whether the G20 has had any impact on the global economy or whether its critics are correct in stating that it is simply a leaders ‘get together’. This report also proposes actions that need to be taken in the future in order to ensure the G20 remains influential in the global economy.  In addition, the report also analyses the impact of Australia on the G20 as a middle power. While the notion of middle power diplomacy is questioned by some who say that it is ineffective, this report illustrates how among the major superpowers of the world, middle power diplomacy can be instrumental at global summits such as the G20.  

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International job creation in 2012

Oliver attended the G20 summit in Mexico where he represented the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Oliver is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (International Studies).

Abstract 

The G20 has emerged as an important problem solver following the global meltdown in 2008 and job creation is expected to be a major discussion point at this year’s Summit to be held in Mexico. Australia has already voiced strong support behind job creation despite the country’s relatively stable rate of unemployment. The following paper investigates the rationale behind the Australian Government’s decision to prioritise job creation. The research reveals that major problems still exist in the Australian labour market and as an export orientated economy Australia must support initiatives to promote global economic stability, such as job creation. Supporting jobs at this year’s G20 Summit is also an important political tool for Australia to promote G20 consensus and to advance the reputation of the organisation. Despite Australia’s strong support behind job creation, it is not clear what measures the Government will lobby behind to stimulate employment growth. The Australian Government seems unlikely to support fiscal stimulus, green jobs or the introduction of a financial transaction tax as a direct solution to the jobs crisis. Australia is expected to back initiatives to reduce youth unemployment. These initiatives include skills training and increased social protection for young people and which reflects the recent policy focus of the Gillard Government.

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Bringing the nexus between food and human security

Marie-Alice attended the 2012 G20 Summit in Mexico where she represented The Australian National University. Marie-Alice is studying a Bachelor of Arts & Asia-Pacific Studies.

Abstract 

Human and food security are mutually reinforcing and the accomplishment of these two objectives can reduce poverty levels and lift development worldwide. The UNDP defines human security as freedom from fear and freedom from want,1 where all basic needs are met, including food, shelter and education2. Food security, on the other hand, is the basic ‘right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food’,3 including physical and economic access.4 The clear nexus between these two objectives indicates how their achievement may assist in raising the standard of living of those in the developing world. The recent food crisis in 2008 increased the number of food insecure people to 925 million people,5 and in the Asia-Pacific this number increased to 582 million.6 Rising food prices contributed to the recent food crisis, reasons for which included rising energy prices and increased usage of biofuels and their flow-on effects to food prices. Increasing food prices leads to greater social instability and malnourishment, which further perpetuates the poverty cycle. Actions can be taken to mitigate these negative effects including greater investment in agriculture and agricultural research and development, as well as looking towards alternative programs such as small-scale agriculture. Achieving greater food security is crucial for achieving human security which can lead to greater stability and security worldwide. Given Australia’s location in the Asia-Pacific region alleviating food security is central for poverty reduction and enhancing regional security.

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