In cooperation with the G7 Research Group and G20 Research Group


Terrorism is impetus for the G20 to expand its remit

Dr Tristen Naylor is the Lecturer in Diplomacy at the University of Oxford. His work examines status and group membership in international society. Previously, Dr Naylor was a Visiting Researcher at Sciences Po, Paris and the Lecturer in Politics at Christ Church, Oxford. He formerly served as a Foreign Policy Analyst and Advisor for the Government of Canada.


As the G20 leaders gather this weekend in Antalya for the 10th G20 Summit on 15 November, terrorism is at the forefront of their minds after the attacks in Paris yesterday evening. Terrorism is now expected to be discussed over a working lunch as the summit opens on Sunday. Significantly, this is likely to be a defining moment in the G20’s evolution, as it provides the impetus for the G20 to put a political security issue on its agenda; a move that the G20 has so far avoided doing, so as to maintain an exclusive focus on the economic domain.

French President Francois Hollande has cancelled his attendance at the summit in the wake of the attacks in Paris that have killed at least 120 people. In his place, the French Finance Minister, Michel Sapin, and the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, will represent France at the summit. Fabius will travel to Antalya directly from a conference on Syria in Vienna.

The French delegation is not alone in coming to the summit shaken by recent terrorist violence. On 31 October, 224 people, mostly Russian nationals, were killed after their plane crashed in the Sinai. Sinai Province, an ISIS-affiliated group, has claimed responsibility and world leaders have asserted that the cause of the crash was most likely the result of terrorism. Russian President Vladamir Putin met with his Security Council on 13 November as part of his preparations for his attendance at the G20 and stated in an interview that he is sure that the leaders will discuss possible solutions to terrorism stemming from the Syrian conflict.

Turkey hosts the summit in the wake of the terrorist bombings in Ankara on 19 October, which killed 102 people. These events alone were enough to make it likely that the summit’s chair would raise the issue of terrorism, though likely unofficially owing to the G20’s competence being limited to economic issues. The attacks on Russia and France – as well as bombings in Beirut on 12 November, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility – now make it almost certain that terrorism will be central in the leaders’ discussions and that terrorism will also feature in the summit’s final communiqué.

Security issues have traditionally been the remit of the G7; though, in its nascence too the group shied away from official discussion of political issues (until its 6th summit in Venice in 1980). The G20 Antalya Summit is now primed to be a watershed moment for the G20, being the first at which the group expands its remit to include an issue of ‘high politics’ (untied to the economic domain) and in so doing more firmly assert itself as the central institution of contemporary global governance.

See also From Paris to Antalya, by John Kirton.  

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