Attending a G20 meeting is a rare opportunity for a teenage girl. It's an honour to be at an event where decisions are made that affect our entire planet and to have the chance to meet key decision makers. At every chance, I'm making sure to talk about the next generation's issues -- representing other teenage girls who have opinions on international affairs.
So here I am, 11, 747 km away from Toronto, Canada in Chengdu, China for the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting. It's an exciting chance to see the inner workings of the global economy and provide a blog for G(irls)20 as they will soon be in Beijing for their seventh global Summit to discuss the economy and how girls and women are a key factor to growth.
First a few facts:
1. Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan Province of China with a population of over 11 million people. It's well known as the habitat of giant pandas -- panda centers are a main tourist attraction in the region and even though they are here to work on some serious issues, the pandas will receive a visit from the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Govers!
2. The G20 is comprised of the European Union and 19 countries that meet to coordinate globally. There are several different discussion tracks that are part of the G20; this blog is about the 3rd of 4 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting which will take place under the Chinese Presidency. The fourth one will take place in early September, when they attend the G20 Leaders' Summit in Hangzhou, China.
So now that you have the basics here are my initial observations. First, when we think about global meetings we often think about security. Upon arrival, it is clear that security is important -- in the airport, on the highway and at the hotel. There is security everywhere -- basically a ratio of one security personnel per person at the conference, and that's only the security that I can actually see! The intense security and hyper organization show the value that is placed on these meetings and the people attending, with everything planned down to the second in order to make the most of the precious time that is available for discussion.
So what's happening at the Chengdu G20 meeting?
The global economy is the agenda. Recent developments are the key focus, with a particular emphasis on the impact of the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union -- Brexit. Why is this important? Because as G20 members they need to work together to create balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth. Without growth, efforts to empower girls and women to improve the lives of citizens everywhere are immeasurably more difficult.
G20 meetings are also about planning for current and potential economic challenges, so the participants will discuss the progress that G20 countries have made in their efforts to strengthen the financial system and financial infrastructure. Making sure our economies are fair and don't encourage criminal behaviour is critical, which is why international tax agreements, ways to increase tax transparency and anti-terrorist finance are also on the agenda.
Finally, young people will be pleased to know that climate finance -- thinking about how to create incentives for a better future environment -- is an important topic for discussion.
Watch for my next blog when I'll report on some of the meetings I've had with conference attendees!
Written by Clare Morneau, Author of Kakuma Girls.
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