G20 Engagement Group Brief: Top 20 Synthesis Recommendations

Through the Top 20 Synthesis Recommendations, the G20 Research Group and the Global Solutions Initiative seek to support the Saudi Arabian G20 Presidency 2020 by highlighting major policy proposals generated by the G20 Engagement Groups.  


This Brief summarizes the results of a high-level evaluation of all G20 Engagement Group recommendations, organized by the G20 Research Group, in collaboration with the Global Solutions Initiative.  

This evaluation has culminated in the identification of the Top 20 Synthesis Recommendations, in the judgment of the Expert Evaluation Panel. The members of the Expert Evaluation Panel were selected on account of their longstanding involvement in the G20 intergovernmental or engagement group process and their expertise in the key subjects that the G20 addressed under the G20 Presidency 2020. The members collectively covered most major geographic regions and levels of development of G20 members. 

The eight formal Engagement Groups of the G20 produced 376 recommendations under the G20 Presidency of Saudi Arabia. The Expert Evaluation Panel strove to synthesize, shape, sharpen and strengthen several similar recommendations generated by various Engagement Groups in the same or complementary policy areas. The result is a set of “synthetic” recommendations, explicitly promising co-benefits for several policy areas, rather than in the silo of a single area.  

Each of these synthesis recommendations addresses an essential current global challenge, is innovative, ambitious and practically implementable and serves the global public interest, and covers multiple areas of policy making. Each recommendation calls for consistent responses across decision-making domains (covering government, business and civil society) and levels of responsibility (from local to national to supra-national). Most importantly, each proposal serves the global public interest. Each aims to recouple economic prosperity (in terms of material living standards) with social prosperity (in terms of human wellbeing in thriving societies).  


The 376 recommendations of the G20 Engagement Groups under the G20 Presidency of Saudi Arabia were assessed by the following criteria:  

Assessment Criteria (Points) 

Desirability: Human wellbeing (20), Synergies not silos (20), Timely, well tailored, ambitious (10) 

Practicality: Leader like (10), Commitments with compliance (10), G20 value added (10), Presidency priorities match (10), Broad engagement group support (10)

The application of these criteria by John Kirton from the G20 Research Group and Dennis J. Snower from the Global Solutions Initiative produced a short list of recommendations that were sent for a second, more systematic evaluation using the same criteria to the Expert Evaluation Panel.  

The resulting Top 20 Synthesis Recommendations had substantial levels of balance and inclusiveness across the eight formal engagement groups and the core priorities of the G20.  

Background Information

The formal G20 Engagement Groups comprise the Business 20Civil 20Labour 20Science 20Think 20Urban 20Women 20 and Youth 20. 

The Expert Evaluation Panel comprises the following members: 


  • John Kirton, Director, G20 Research Group and G7 Research Group, and Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto 
  • Dennis Snower, President, Global Solutions Initiative and Professor of Macroeconomics and Sustainability, Hertie School 


  • Colin Bradford, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution, and Global Solutions Fellow 
  • Caitlin Byrne, Director, Asian Institute, Griffith University 
  • Mafalda Duarte, CEO, Climate Investment Funds 
  • Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Center for Sustainable Development, Brookings Institution; member of the Council for Global Problem-solving   
  • Marina Larionova, Head, Centre for International Institutions Research, Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration 
  • Arun Maira, Independent adviser and Global Solutions Fellow   
  • Sandra Polaski, Former G20 Sherpa, International Labour Organization 
  • Margo Thomas, Founder and CEO, Women’s Economic Imperative, and Global Solutions Fellow 

The Top 20 Synthesis Recommendations

  • Commit to cooperate towards guaranteeing access to vaccines for the COVID-19 virus to all as a global public good, accessible without discrimination of any kind. (U-7) 
  • Invest in ‘shovel-ready’ carbon-neutral projects to rapidly generate green jobs and increase equitable participation and standards in the labour force through training and upskilling to support healthier and carbon-neutral livelihoods. (U-5) 
  • Put fundamental human needs at the heart of its policies. This includes reporting new measures of human wellbeing in national statistics, and adopting them as a basis for policymaking. (T-62) 
  • Promote public and private investments in digital connectivity and infrastructure in order to ensure equitable access to digital technology across geographical, socioeconomic, gender and ethnic divides. (Y-13) 
  • Urgently creat[e] new financial means and support for developing countries, among them least developed countries, in the form of issuing IMF Special Drawing Rights, currency swap lines, and debt relief, including cancellation with participation of private creditors (L-6) 
  • Enable and support resilient digital infrastructure (IoT, 5G) by fostering the cybersecurity readiness of individuals, MSMEs, large businesses, and public institutions; and by promoting investment in human capital in the field of cybersecurity. (B-14) 
  • Rationalise global taxation by implementing unitary formulas that treat multinational companies as a single entity and by eliminating tax havens and tax avoidance as well as illicit flows (L-8) 
  • Address inequalities of wealth between people and nations by implementing a bold global tax reform through an inclusive decision making process. (C-3) 
  • Mobilize $2.5 trillion USD for developing countries using tools for liquidity injection, debt relief, health systems strengthening, and committing to the agenda of Financing for Development. (C-14)
  • Accelerate the alignment of public development banks with the Paris Agreement, notably by ending fossil fuel subsidies by 2023. (Y-59) 
  • Address market power concentration and unfair practices towards suppliers in the supply chains of e-commerce giants and overhauling competition policy. (L-34) 
  • Provide liquidity by offering a longer debt moratorium than previously offered and comprehensive debt relief to highly indebted low-income countries. (T-11) 
  • Facilitate sustainable financing by developing a roadmap for international coordination on sustainable finance taxonomies and alignment on a sustainable disclosure framework, across all ESG considerations. (B-5) 
  • Guarantee food security for all by strengthening urban-rural linkages and investing in physical and social infrastructure that fosters resilient and sustainable food consumption and production systems, along with revising the G20 Principles on Habitat and Regional Planning to balance agriculture development with natural habitat protection, by reinforcing capacity building in rural environments and protecting the rights of food workers, and by generating city-level data in order to monitor world supply and price developments reliably during food and health crises. (U-20) 
  • Foster the growth of e-commerce by striving to conclude a comprehensive, balanced, and high-standard WTO agreement that is also attentive to the needs of MSMEs, start-ups, and developing economies. (B-17) 
  • Provide affordable and quality child, dependents, and elders care. (W-4) 
  • Enhance the global standards of anti-corruption by: i. pursuing a culture of high integrity in the public and private sectors; ii. leveraging emerging technologies to manage risks relating to corruption and fraud; iii. enhancing integrity and transparency in public procurement. (B-18) 
  • Establish an oceans fund to accelerate cooperation among the G20 countries to preserve marine biodiversity and ocean and associated human health. (T-100) 
  • Adopt gender-responsive budgeting, informed by gender impact assessment, to ensure that pandemic recovery measures foster a gender inclusive workforce. (W-2) 
  • Do their full, fair share to meet the global goal of planting one trillion trees by 2030. (T62) 

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