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Leadership and Structure

The G20 operates as a forum and is not an organization.  It does not, therefore, have any permanent secretariat or management and administrative Structure.  One of the G20 countries is selected to hold the Chair on rotational basis, better known as “G20 Presidency”.  The Presidency establishes a temporary secretariat for the duration it holds the chair.  The Secretariat coordinates all work and organizes G20 meetings.    The immediate past, present and the next chair constitute a “Troika” and manage continuity in the G20 work.  In the Current year (2016), G20 Presidency is held by China.  The Chair was handed over to them by Turkey in December 2015.  China will hand over the chair for the next year to Germany.

For selecting a Presidency, a system has come into existence since 2010 when South Korea held the chair.  Accordingly, 19 countries have been categorized into the following 5 regional groupings:

  • Group 1: Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, USA
  • Group 2: India, Russia, South Africa, Turkey
  • Group 3: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico
  • Group 4: France, Germany, Italy, U.K.
  • Group 5: China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea

Each group holds a maximum of four nations.  The chair rotates among the groups and one country from a group is selected in a specific year.  Thus, in 2010 South Korea in Group 5 was the chair; In 2011, France in Group 4 was the chair; In 2012, Mexico in Group 3 was the chair; In 2013, Russia in Group 2 is in the Chair; in 2014, Australia in Group 1 was the Chair, Turkey in Group 2 was the Chair in 2015; and now China in group 5 is the Chair in 2016.

Each member of G20 is represented by its Head of the State in the Leaders’ Summit.  Leaders are assisted by their (i) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, and (ii) Sherpas – the personal representatives of the respective Leaders.  The Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors are assisted by their Deputies, and Sherpas are assisted by the Sous-Sherpas.

Thus, there are broadly two channels through which work is done: (i) The Finance Track and (ii) The Sherpa’s Track. Both the tracks rely on technical analysis, advice and recommendations of a series of expert Working Groups and Committees on specific thematic issues.  These working groups/task forces/committees are generally co-chaired by one advanced and one emerging economy member country of the G20. The government officials of the Ministries/ Departments that deal with the given thematic subjects in the respective G20 member countries are nominated by their governments to represent as members in the Working Groups.  Representatives of the non-member countries and International Organizations are also invited in these working groups and task forces.

Specific G20 Ministerial Meetings such as G20 Agriculture Ministers, Labour Ministers and Trade Ministers are organized on specific themes of importance as identified by the G20 Leaders or the G20 Presidency. Outcomes of such ministerial meetings feed into the Sherpas Track and subsequently to Leaders’ declaration.