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How the G20 works

October 25th, 2021

How the G20 works

The G20 is the international forum that brings together the world’s major economies, extending participation to guest countries and international organizations.

Its leadership rotates on an annual basis among its members. Italy assumed the 2021 Presidency on the 1st December 2020.

A “Troika”, represented by the country that holds the Presidency, its predecessor and its successor, works to ensure continuity within the G20. The Troika countries are currently Saudi Arabia, Italy and Indonesia.

The forum has met every year since 1999 and includes, since 2010, a yearly Summit, with the participation of the respective Heads of State and Government.

In addition to the Leaders’ Summit, Ministerial meetings, Sherpa meetings, Working Groups, Engagement Groups and special events are held throughout the year of Presidency. The outcome of this process flows into the broader Communiqué, traditionally adopted by the G20 Heads of State and Government at the end of the Summit.

Sherpa Meetings

In the preparatory process of each G20 Presidency, the Sherpas, high ranking diplomats who represent the G20 governments, are in charge of carrying out negotiations and building consensus among the members, discussing agenda items for the Summit and coordinating the work of the G20. They draft the final Communiqué that will be undersigned at the Leaders’ Summit.

Working Groups

The Working Groups are in charge of leading the in-depth discussion of a range of internationally relevant issues. The members are experts from the G20 countries, addressing specific issues linked to the broader G20 agenda. Each group is coordinated by a representative of the competent Ministry of the country holding the G20 Presidency.

During the 2021 Italian Presidency, the Working Groups addressed the following major issues: Agriculture, Anti-Corruption, Culture, Development, Digital Economy, Education, Employment, Energy transition and Climate sustainability, Environment, Health, Research and Higher Education, Tourism, Trade and Investment.

Finance Track

Although the topics addressed by the G20 have significantly expanded over the years, the economic themes have maintained particular importance in the process.

Within the G20 process, the term “Finance Track” refers to the meetings coordinated by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, aimed at investigating the various aspects related to economic, financial, monetary and tax issues. This framework is structured into five separate working groups, dedicated to sustainable and inclusive growth, international financial architecture, infrastructure, financial inclusion, and Africa. The Finance Track also includes groups on financial regulation and taxation.

Engagement Groups

In a perspective of broader inclusion and participation, the G20 decision-making process has been enriched, over the years, with the involvement of social actors who regularly meet as G20 Engagement Groups.

The Engagement Groups work independently from governments and involve several stakeholders of the international community, representing Business community (B20), Civil society (C20), Trade unions (L20), Academies of Science (S20), Think tanks and research centers (T20), Major cities (U20), Women (W20) and Youth associations (Y20).

The Engagement Groups submit formal recommendations to the G20 Presidency before each Leaders’ Summit.