History and Prospects of G-20..

A nice piece on G-20 group  by Homi Kharas and Domenico Lombardi of Brookings.

At the height of the global financial and economic crisis of 2008–09, the Group of Twenty was elevated to country leaders’ level and acknowledged itself as the “premier forum for . . . international economic cooperation.” This self-acknowledgment reflected the long-felt need to institutionalize the dialogue between the advanced and emerging economies in a more effective setting. However, the ad hoc nature of the G-20 and the extent to which an informal and self-selected club of nations can provide a stable framework for facilitating global cooperation has been questioned. Against this backdrop, the study traces the G-20’s historical evolution, situates the dynamics of its institutional arrangements, and reviews the emerging literature on G-20 reform. Building on this analysis, the study then assesses the expansion of the G-20’s scope to global development and appraises the Group’s evolution in the broader context of the current global governance framework.

It has this very useful history of G-20 which came on like one adhoc global body. There was huge politics and people were not happy with either G7 which was too exclusive and G22/G33 which was too inclusive. This led to formation of G-20. Though not sure why G22 was not continued with.

In June 1999, following passages welcoming the creation of the FSF and the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the G-7 finance ministers at Cologne announced that they would “work together to establish an informal mechanism for dialogue among systemically important countries within the framework of the Bretton Woods institutional system” (Kirton 1999; G-7 1999). They also  stated that a “broad range of countries should be involved in discussions on how to adapt the international financial system to the changing global environment” (G-7 1999).

Accordingly, the G-7 countries invited their “counterparts from a number of systemically important countries from regions around the world” to the first G-20 meeting in Berlin in December 1999. A new ministerial level G-20 forum was formally created in September 1999.9 In the ensuing communiqué, the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors reiterated that “the G-20 was established to provide a new mechanism for informal dialogue in the framework of the Bretton Woods institutional system, to broaden the discussions on key economic and financial policy issues among systemically significant economies and promote cooperation to achieve stable and sustainable world economic growth that benefits all” (Canada 1999a).

The authors look at various issues and challenges with G20 and global governance. In the end, the authors say though not a desired global framework it is the best we have at the moment:

For the time being, the G-20 appears to be the “best available option” for global economic governance. It is not designed to achieve institutional legitimacy per se, and thus it has chosen to work with other bodies that have a more inclusive and universal representation. It is not an implementing body, but it encourages others to rise to the challenge of addressing the issues that its agenda advances. The G-20 receives the greatest media coverage during times of crisis, but the leaders who now participate in it are finding ways to demonstrate to their own electorates that they are making a difference in the conduct of global affairs through the stance they take at its summit meetings. This link between global and domestic dialogues, and the building of popular support to address global challenges, may yet become the greatest value that the G-20 adds.

 Nice bit..

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