Russia's G20 presidency to focus on jobs, investment
* Forum has focused on financial crisis management
* Moscow calls for G20 labour ministers meeting
* G20 summit to be held Sept. 5-6 in St. Petersburg
MOSCOW, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Russia will try to move the G20 major economies beyond financial sector fire-fighting during its year-long presidency, calling the group's first-ever labour ministers' meeting to widen the focus to job creation.
But Russia, intent on finding higher-tech jobs for its ageing and declining population, may struggle to capture the attention of emerging nations with younger workforces or of developed economies battling ballooning debts.
Then there is the issue of Russia's rocky relations with the Group's largest economy, the United States, and other countries, aggravated by Moscow's stance on the conflict in Syria and human rights.
Asked on Russian state TV last Saturday whether the United States can be made to listen to Moscow's view on international affairs, Sergei Ivanov, the Kremlin chief of staff who is in charge of organising Russia's G20 presidency, said:
"On the one hand, I cannot disagree with you that the Americans loathe heeding anyone's advice. On the other hand, I can't say either that they turn down all advice that comes their way."
The Group of 20, who account for 90 percent of the world's gross domestic product and two-thirds of its population, has come to specialise in financial crisis management as developed nations grapple with slowing or shrinking economies, expensive welfare systems and bad-debt laden banks.
Now Russia, which is running nearly a balanced budget thanks to high prices for its oil exports, wants to prioritise mid-term development during its G20 presidency which began this month - particularly the growth of more productive, higher-tech jobs.
Oil, gas and metals exports have enabled Russia to spend on keeping voters happy while keeping its debt ratio the lowest of any G20 member at 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Its $1.9 trillion economy shares with other BRICS countries - Brazil, India and China - some of the lowest unemployment rates in the G20. But while other BRICS have ample labour forces, Russia's shrinking population means it must boost skill levels to advance.
"The Russian presidency's main task will be to focus the G20's efforts on developing measures to stimulate economic growth and create jobs," President Vladimir Putin said in an address posted on the G20 website.
"What will this require? We think the answer is clear: investment incentives, trust and transparency in markets, and effective regulation."
It remains to be seen what tangible measures to spur investment can be developed when the group meets at both ministerial and leadership level at the Sept. 5-6 summit in St. Petersburg.
Economic slowdown and sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone and budget woes in the United States threaten to dominate talks again.
The summits, which began in 2008 as the world faced economic crisis, have given little time to country-specific initiatives and limited the role of the presidencies largely to providing a geographical platform for the meetings.
The G20, comprising 19 major economies and the European Union, has an agenda of reforming financial regulation, voting arrangements at the International Monetary Fund and, increasingly, debt reduction and budget deficit management.
For Russia these are not the most pressing issues.
Putin, in his pre-election programme earlier this year set a goal to create 25 million new, high-tech jobs with much higher productivity than existing jobs.
"For us, the G20 presidency, offers an opportunity to bring Russian initiatives into the global economic and financial agenda," Ivanov told the G20 organising committee last week.
Russia wants to get the discussion on investment and jobs moving during the its G20 presidency, says summit 'sherpa' Ksenia Yudayeva, although no concrete decisions are yet planned.
"Measures and specific practices that this or that country and all countries could use to address the issue of unemployment, the issue of job creation, will be debated," Yudayeva said on Monday.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Douglas Busvine, Ruth Pitchford)