A Crowded World

The first Leaders G20 is now history.  A communique of marked substance was released  This to the good.  Former Canadian Prime Minister Paul has taken some pride announcing that this was the first G20 Leaders meeting - what he’d called for for the short time when he was Canadian Prime Minister a few years back.  As Martin commented in an “Introduction: The Challenge for the First L20 Summit” to the electronic publication, edited by Professor John Kirton, head of the G8 Research Group’s the G20 Leaders Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy: “This is the beginning of a new era — one in which rising great powers are not invited for lunch and then dismissed. It is the beginning of an era where true dialogue between indispensable nations occurs as they seek to reconcile differences so that the world may progress.”

John Kirton, also the sometime Director of the G20 Research Group, suggested the inevitability of this expanded group of developed and emerging leaders tackling the global financial crisis: “Designed from the start as the first in series of such summits, the Washington G20 gathering also promised to inaugurate a permanent leaders-level 20 (L20) institution.  As its visionary, Paul Martin, had long foreseen, this L20 would reinforce and even replace the smaller G8, born in 1975, with a new, more effective and legitimate centre of global governance as a whole for a transformed 21st-century world.”

Notwithstanding the cool reception from other leaders in the G8 for the original Martin L20 concept, it appears that the G20 Leaders Summit has found a place.  Or has it?  The G20 is the G8 (G7 - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States) plus the G5 or as we like to call it the near BRICSAM (missing only Indonesia or the ASEAN) (Brazil, Russia (although it is technically in the G8) India, China, South Africa and Mexico) plus Argentina, Australia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Turkey and the EU.  Now it’s worth noting that French President Sarkozy enlarged the gathering adding even more ‘unofficial’ European states - even beyond the EU representative - Spain, Holland and Belgium.

Now there has been much criticism over the illegitimacy of the G7/8 and the demand for enlargement - whether G8 plus China, G8 plus China, India and Brazil or the full G13 (a new entrant has emerged - this the G16 - adding to the G13, Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt or Nigeria - in other words an Islamic ‘representative(s)’. This G plus innovation has been suggested by The Managing Global Insecurity Project a tripartite leadership led by Brooking’s, Carlos Pascaul, New York University’s Bruce Jones, and Stanford’s, Stephen Stedman. We’ll comment on their recently released,  A Plan for Action: A New Era of International Cooperation for a Changed World: 2009, 2010, and Beyond in an upcoming blog post)

The G20 is a major leap. And it has - for the moment - a quite evident mandate - fixing the global financial crisis - an ingredient missing from the original L20 proposal.  But why the addition of say an Argentina, a Turkey or an Indonesia to tackle global finance?  And now Leaders’ agendas have become overcrowded.  The G20 are to convene again April 2, 2009 and the G8 plus is to meet in Italy in July.  And there are now partial leadership meetings - the BRICs, etc.  This schedule appears to be hectic motion.  Maybe too much motion not enough deciding.

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