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How can the Y20 influence the G20: a ten point plan

How can the Y20 influence the G20: a ten point plan




I was asked by On Think Tanks, the leading think-tank network, to participate in a training programme for the youth leaders' Y20 on Policy Development and Communication. The presentation and discussion are available on YouTube here. The Powerpoint is here.


There were two topics of more general interest.

The first was a reflection on the character of the G20 itself, which is not a governing body, but rather a forum for forging consensus and agreeing action that members can either take together in other fora (e.g. the IMFInternational Monetary Fund or the WTO), or take up at national level. I described the opportuniy and limitations as follows:

Yes: world’s biggest economies, top leaders etc . . . etc . . ., big impact in 2008-9.


  • The G20 is the paddle not the wave (i.e. not decision-making)
  • Primarily economic
  • No permanent secretariat
  • Role of the host country (some issues get onto the agenda, some do not)
  • Personalities matter
  • Politics rules
  • The communique is the key product – but as the end point or the starting point?

The second topic was a reflection on how the Y20 might set out to shape the outcome of the G20, in general and specifically in this year of COVID-19. This is about the Y20 as a kind of think-tank rather than a social movement. There were ten points:

  1. Work together
  2. And with others outside the network
  3. Be realistic
  4. And practical
  5. And opportunistic
  6. Look for win-wins
  7. Work bottom-up
  8. Get the timing right
  9. Commit for the long-term
  10. Have a public affairs plan: set tests in advance; be ready to react when the communique is published; capture the news cycle.

There is more expanation of these points, and a good discussion with a group of Y20 young leaders, in the Youtube video and the powerpoint.


For those with an interest in the G20, try searching for the G20 on my website: for example, here on shaping the Mission Statement and Work Programme of the G20, from 2010; and here on the future of the G20, from 2011. There are 53 hits altogether.



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