What is the G-20? 9 things you should know

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German Police Clash With G20 Protesters

On Friday, President Donald Trump and Russia's Vladimir Putin held their first face-to-face meeting during the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

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And on the first day of the event, German police dressed in riot gear arrested at least 70 anti-capitalist protesters. According to officials, 160 officers have been injured since Thursday.

Here are nine things you should know about the G-20:

What is it?

The G-20 (or group of 20) comprises leaders from the world's 19 wealthiest nations plus the European Union.

This group accounts for approximately 80 percent of the world GDP and two-thirds of its population.

Every year, the heads of state and economy leaders attend an international forum to discuss issues such as global trade, climate change, terrorism, immigration and more.

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The annual event is geared toward the interests of both developed and emerging economies.

Which countries are part of the G-20?

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia
  3. Brazil
  4. Canada
  5. China
  6. France
  7. Germany
  8. India
  9. Indonesia
  10. Italy
  11. Japan
  12. Mexico
  13. Russia
  14. South Africa
  15. Saudi Arabia
  16. South Korea
  17. Turkey
  18. United Kingdom
  19. United States of America
  20. The European Union, represented by the European Council

How did the G-20 originate?

The G-20 began in 1999 in Berlin, Germany, as a meeting of bank governors and finance ministers from 19 of the world’s largest economies (plus the EU), according to the New York Times.

But it wasn’t until 2008, when President George W. Bush called for leaders to discuss the global financial crisis, that the Washington, D.C. summit expanded to heads of government.

Before 2008, the summits were also held twice a year. Now, they are planned for once every year.

When and where is the 2017 summit being held?

The 12th meeting of the G-20 is being held in Hamburg, Germany, between July 7-8.

Who gets to attend the annual summit?

In addition to heads of state and finance ministers from the 19 countries and EU, international organizations such as the World Bank, United Nations and World Trade Organization.

For the 2017 summit, Germany has also invited Norway, Singapore and the Netherlands as well as the African Union, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the New Partnership for Africa's Development, according to Investopedia.

What is on the table for discussion at the 2017 summit?

On top of the general discussion around economic growth in developing and emerging economies, international trade and regulation, several issues of "global significance" are on the summit agenda, according to G20.org.

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Some issues include:

  • climate change
  • development policy
  • labor market and employment policy
  • spread of digital technology
  • counter-terrorism
  • women's economic empowerment
  • health
  • migration and refugee flows
  • prevention and suppression of corruption
  • missile testing in North Korea

On Friday, Trump spoke with Putin about Russia’s meddling in American politics, but Putin denied any involvement.

Trump is also slated to speak with British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is expected to challenge Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement in June.

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Can decisions made at the G-20 summit become law?

No, the G-20 is a forum that serves as a platform for global cooperation, but the agreements and decisions made during the event have no legal impact, but they can influence a country’s policymaking agenda.

Why are people protesting at the 2017 G20 summit?

It is not unusual for large protests to occur at G-20 summits.

This year, as of Friday, dozens of anti-globalization protesters have been arrested and about 160 officers have been injured.

Some activists lit cars on fire, smashed windows and attacked officers with iron bars and fire bombs as police in riot gear sprayed them with pepper spray and water cannons.

And according to Al Jazeera, more than 100,000 protestors (many of whom dressed as zombies during a performance protest) are expected to march or take part in demonstrations Friday and Saturday.

In addition, first lady Melania Trump was unable to take part in the summit events (such as a river cruise and climate change center tour) due to protests, her spokeswoman said.

Activists protesting the summit are generally concerned about the globalist capitalist system, the world’s economic disparities as well as climate change policies on the G-20’s agenda.

"It's not right that a few countries get to decide what happens to the rest of the world," one protest organizer told CNN.

When and where will the 2018 summit be held?

The 2018 G-20 summit, the 13th international meeting, will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This will be South America's first G-20 summit as host.