International think tanks in the Think20 group (T20) today called upon the twenty largest industrialized and emerging countries (G20) to foster inclusive societies and sustainable growth. The appeal came from the T20 chairmen Dennis J. Snower, President of the Kiel Institute for World Economy Kiel (IfW), and Dirk Messner, Director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in Bonn, at the end of a two-day conference in Berlin, attended by more than 800 international experts from academia, busines, civil society, and government.
“The economy is meant to serve society, not society the economy,” Snower said. “That means just focusing on economic growth is not sufficient. The G20 must focus on social and environmental issues alongside economic ones. If the citizens of G20 countries see their needs are being addressed, they will be reassured about importance of the G20.” Messner added: “We must now take the right decisions to move into a sustainability-based economy. That’s why the G20 has to commit to the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement as pathways that respect planetary boundaries.”
Representatives of the German government, which holds this year’s G20 presidency, said Berlin had not given up hope for US backing of the Paris climate-protection plan at the G20 Summit, despite declining to commit at the recent G7 leaders’ meeting. Lars-Hendrik Röller, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Chief Economic Adviser, said the Paris Agreement remained on the agenda in June. “A consensual statement should be the aspiration this year.” But he also cautioned against over-reactions to failure: “If we don’t agree on everything, it doesn’t mean these things are useless.”
Barbara Hendricks, German Environment Minister, lamented US President Trump’s non-committal stance at the G7 Summit, but said he would still “hopefully […] make the right decision for his country.” Peter Altmaier, the Head of the Federal Chancellery, said the T20 conference marked “an important and decisive moment in aftermath of the Nato and G7 summits, and almost on the eve of the G20 summit.” Climate change, migration, poverty, terrorism could be “solved and tackled” only if governments worked together. “In this ever-growing, globalized world […] there is no single country able to provide leadership, not a single person able to provide leadership [on their own],” he said.
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