On 20 March 2019, experts from policy and academia met in Berlin to discuss how to strengthen the role of the G20 as a supporter of an ambitious climate and sustainability policy. The expert conference “Fit for purpose? Revitalizing climate and sustainability issues in the G20 process” was organized by DIE together with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES, Tokyo), the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC, Berlin) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). The conference was part of the T20 process during the Japanese G20 presidency and provided a platform for trustful exchanges between representatives of various G20 work streams and T20 Task Forces.
The G20 has shown in recent years that it can strengthen multilateral sustainability and climate policy. This became clear, for example, in the preparation of the Paris Climate Agreement 2015 and the adoption of the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development during the Chinese G20 presidency in 2016. In the context of current political blockades, the experts emphasized the need to develop concrete and practical initiatives that can drive both the sustainability and climate agenda. Sustainable infrastructure is a recent example that is also high on the agenda of the Japanese G20 presidency. The role of non-state actors was also highlighted. The participants in the conference emphasized the role of the T20 not only as a source of policy ideas, but also as an actor that can hold the G20 accountable for the continuous implementation of G20 resolutions. For the T20 to fulfill this role, however, it needs to rethink and stabilize its own work structures. There was widespread support among the participants to meet regularly in this format for an expert conference in the coming years.