Criticized for being long on promises and short on delivery, leaders of the Group of 20 major economies set a target of lifting global economic output by at least 2% over five years -- an ambitious goal that would add $2 trillion to the world economy and millions of new jobs.
To achieve that, the U.S. and other
"We will monitor and hold each other to account for implementing our commitments," the leaders said in a joint statement at the end of a two-day summit here on Sunday.
Progress would be analyzed by the
Still, nobody is expecting 100% implementation or can even say whether most of the 800-plus infrastructure projects and policy initiatives will fly because many of them will need to be funded or approved by politicians in their respective countries.
And it is unlikely that the new plan will help boost near-term economic growth -- something that President
With the U.S. now the main engine of global economic growth, Treasury Secretary
Details of individual country proposals to boost growth have not been released, but it was evident that U.S. officials did not get stronger commitments from Germany, Europe's biggest economy, to unleash investments to stimulate demand.
Nor was there definitive word that Japan, the world's third-largest economy, would delay plans for a critical sales-tax increase, though there were indications that Prime Minister
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, host of this year's G-20 summit, had made the 2% growth increase his singular focus, but the summit is likely to be remembered for other things, especially the tension stirred by the presence of Russian President
On the economic front, some of the summit's notable achievements came in areas that in the past had been treated as peripheral to the main focus of the G-20.
As an outspoken skeptic of global warming, Abbott had sought to keep climate change off the G-20 agenda. But Obama gave a major speech Saturday in Brisbane in which he highlighted the new U.S.-China deal to cut carbon emissions and called on the world to join in the effort.
A day later, the final G-20 leaders' statement encouraged nations to provide targets for reducing greenhouse gases before a global climate conference in Paris next year -- although the language was watered down to say only "for those parties ready to do so."
The G-20 leaders also committed to do all they can to contain the Ebola outbreak. Though lacking in specifics, analysts called it significant.
"It's the first time the G-20 has taken up health issues directly," said John Kurton, co-director of the G-20 research group at the University of Toronto, who was in Brisbane to follow the proceedings.
As well, leaders endorsed an anti-corruption action plan despite initial resistance from the Chinese. Saying the G-20 was committed to improve transparency, the statement calls for nations to share information that would make it easier to know the true owner of shell companies that are sometimes used to launder money and evade taxes.
Anti-corruption groups credited G-20 leaders for recognizing the importance of collecting information on the true owners, also known as beneficial owners.