Daily News Analysis

Sherpa for G20 summit

9th September, 2021 International Relations

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Context: The government has appointed Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textile Piyush Goyal as Sherpa for the G20, replacing former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu.


More about news:

  • Italy holds the presidency of the G20 formation, India will be holding the presidency from December 1, 2022 and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit in 2023.


What is G-20?

  • India has been a member of the G20 since its inception in 1999.
  • G20 is a major international grouping that brings together 19 of the world’s major economies and the European Union, with its members accounting for more than 80% of global GDP, 75% of trade and 60% of population.
  • Apart from India, the G20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K., the U.S. and the European Union. Spain is invited as a permanent guest.



Who is a Sherpa?

  • Sherpa is a personal representative of the leader of a member country at an international Summit meeting such as the G8, G20 or the Nuclear Security Summit.
  • The term is derived from the Nepalese Sherpa people, who serve as guides for mountaineers in the Himalayas.
  • The Sherpa engages in planning, negotiation and implementation tasks through the Summit.
  • They coordinate the agenda, seek consensus at the highest political levels, and participate in a series of pre-Summit consultations to help negotiate their leaders’ positions.
  • Sherpas are career diplomats or senior government officials appointed by the leaders of their countries.
  • There is only one Sherpa per Summit for each member country; he/she is assisted by several sous Sherpas.
  • Sherpas meet much before the start of the Summit to iron out differences on various issues.
  • At the G20 Summit, work progresses through broadly two channels: the Finance Track and Sherpas’ Track.
  • Towards the end of the process, the Sherpas, along with the Finance Track representatives, prepare the Leaders’ “Declaration” or “Communique”, which is the final outcome of the G20 Summit.
  • The Sherpas’ Track involves technical and policy analyses by working groups comprising officials from each member country and international organisations. It focuses on development-oriented issues such as agriculture, fighting corruption, employment, etc.
  • The Finance Track is composed of all Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of G20 members, who also meet regularly during the year to analyse global economic problems and to take coordinated actions towards their resolution.