The G20 is not properly part of the United Nations, but it is considered a key part of the modern international system. The forum is made up of 19 individual states—most of which are among the most developed states—and the European Union. Since 2011, the members have met on an annual, rotating basis, with the 2020 meeting taking place in Saudi Arabia. Because there is no founding document for the G20, there is no fixed mandate for the committee. During these summits, world leaders (often the heads of government) discuss mostly economic related issues, examining the health of the global economy. However, over time, the G20 has also expanded its discussions to include relevant political and security trends as well.
Topic A: Development of Smart Cities for Integration within the Digital World
As the global urban population continues to grow, expected to increase 63% by 2050, the need for proper urban management becomes crucial in order to ensure sustainable development and economic growth. The G20 has made smart cities a main point in its agenda, as the development of such cities is key to creating a more cooperative and sustainable world. Smart cities allow for this proper management to take place by implementing digital solutions to help maintain a sustainable future. This can be accomplished by using data collected through the Internet of Things, connected devices and applications that send and receive data, and sensors to improve the efficiency of city resources and services. Digital applications can aid cities in greatly improving the quality of life of their residents. The data collected from these technologies and applications gives great insight into what services or infrastructure needs to be improved. However, there is currently no global policy or framework that properly outlines how the data collected in these public areas is to be used. As the world becomes more digital and the need for cities to be able to adapt to these changes grows, it is important that that privacy is ensured in order to maintain public trust, as well as to develop ethical and responsible ways to use data for the betterment of all individuals. Smart cities also allow for greater public and private cooperation. As cities and other urban centers continue to grow at high rates, it is imperative that the G20 take action to create a global guideline on how the data collected can be used to properly create efficient cities, as well as safeguarding the public’s privacy.
Topic B: Access to the Global Digital Economy in Developing Markets
It is crucial to understand that the age of the internet economy brings both opportunities and challenges to global growth. The challenges are especially apparent in shortages of people with necessary skills and rising inequalities for those who lack skills to adapt to changing technological environments. In contrast, opportunities consist of quality job creation, decent work provision, and improving welfare. However, the challenge arises when wealth creation in the digital economy is highly concentrated in the United States or China. This gives an opportunity for people in developed states to exchange valuable ideas and innovation. As China and the United States account for 90% of the market capitalization of the world’s 70 largest digital platform companies, countries in Africa and Latin America are trailing far behind in utilizing trade in the digital economy. Upon the realization of the inequalities at stake, the international community must work together to close the digital divide. Global leaders should also respond to the desire of many people to take part in the new digital world, not just as users and consumers, but also as producers, exporters, and innovators. Further, inclusivity goes far beyond the internet; it also concerns the digital gender divide and accelerating digital infrastructure for development. These two issues have been key achievements for the G20 Digital Economy Task Force (DETF). Throughout the committee, delegates are challenged to create solutions that integrate trade in the global digital economy in developing markets by potentially improving digital literacy and digital transformation of industries.