Head of think tank says China's lead in such issues as climate should be carried forward
China's contributions during its time as the rotating chair of the G20-helping to improve global sustainable infrastructure, green financing and international development-are impressive and should be carried forward by Germany when it takes the group's reins next year, according to the head of a prominent German think tank.
Dirk Messner, director of the German Development Institute, said China has brought new dimensions to the G20 platform, which he said has "traditionally" focused on global growth and the reform of economic governance since the first meeting was held in Washington at the height of the financial crisis in late 2008.
He said he believed that China and Germany could use the 2016-17 rotation to help to speed up changes needed to restructure the global economy toward more sustainability.
For Messner, the first priority is sustainable infrastructure. He said the global economy is still in trouble, and to improve growth nearly all countries are focusing on infrastructure investment, which he called crucial.
He said the next 20 years will see the biggest investment ever in infrastructure, and most of it will be in urban areas.
"Putting investment trends into the context of the climate agreement and the 2030 global sustainability development goals of the United Nations is very important," he said, and would provide much of the dynamism for the global economy.
In this area, Messner said China is leading the way because it will be investing a lot at home and along the Belt and Road Initiative routes, while European countries and the United States are renewing their urban and energy infrastructure.
He said that pushing the infrastructure projects into new, sustainable and carbon-free development is very important, and that China has already done much in recent years.
China, Messner said, interestingly ties the green dimension with financial market reform, which is about reducing speculation, improving transparency and stabilizing the market.
Messner said China, the first G20 chair since the Paris climate summit, is showing the way forward.
"My understanding is that China is currently linking the traditional G20 agenda-financial markets and growth-into Paris and the 2030 agenda," he said. "This is the third thing I think Germany could follow up."