Guest Contributor: Max Brem, Senior Director of Communications at CIGI

As the financial crisis rocked the world and created havoc in the global real economy, understanding the crisis and analyzing both its short- and long-term impacts became a major focus of CIGI’s research program during the last 12 months.  CIGI’s annual conference, “Towards a Global New Deal,” starting today is but the capstone of  a year of substantial analytical work, research  and policy-oriented publications.  Highlights of these published outputs are noted below.

CIGI Special G20 Report: Flashpoints for the Pittsburgh Summit, edited by Andrew F. Cooper and Daniel Schwanen, is a collection of policy papers by respected academics and practitioners who have followed the rise of  the G20 and are deeply knowledgeable about the key issues, from financial regulatory reform to national responses to the crisis to the need for new institutions to cope with future global financial-economic problems. The report contains ideas and policy recommendations for overcoming the crisis and for strengthening international economic governance. This is a very timely set of papers given that the G20 was formally designated at Pittsburgh as the replacement for the G7/8 as the “premier forum for international economic cooperation.”

At Pittsburgh and the other G20 meetings over the past year, new funds were injected into the IMF in an effort to reinvigorate its role as one of the leading international bodies positioned to help solve the global crisis and avert recurrences on a similar scale. The Future of the International Monetary Fund: A Canadian Perspective, edited by Bessma Momani and Eric Santor, is a CIGI/CIC special report that highlights the breadth of Canadian expertise on IMF reform issues. The report advances practical recommendations on the IMF’s governance, functional reforms and the organizational culture.  The objective is an IMF that can help ensure monetary and financial stability.

At the L’Aquila Group of 8 Summit in July, leaders agreed upon the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, regarding global food security. The declaration was significant as environmental sustainability has been largely absent from the international agenda during this crisis. In Environmental Sustainability and the Financial Crisis: Linkages and Policy Recommendations, edited by Jennifer Clapp, authors argue that economic prosperity cannot be divorced from sustainable solutions to threats such as climate change, food and energy insecurity. They outline the unique challenges and opportunities in these areas in the face of the economic crisis.

With its growing economic size and surpluses, China continues to be prominent in all global discussions regarding a global economic recovery. But what about the impact in China itself?  China and the Financial Crisis is a task force report by CIGI and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences that assesses the impact of the global economic crisis on China. Challenges will arise for China from increased integration into the global economy, its dependence on exports, uncertainty in housing prices and a potential turn to protectionist policies. In its report, the task force also suggests that China has an interest in the emerging global financial architecture and in maintaining openness in the trading system, and predicts that a point of contention will be deciding the purpose and objectives of those systems.

CIGI has formed a task force of eminent economists to study and offer solutions for the devastating effects of the crisis on developing and transition economies. The Effect of the World Financial Crisis on Developing Countries: An Initial Assessment is the task force’s first statement. Contributors from CIGI include John Whalley and Manmohan Agarwal. It briefly outlines the nature of the crisis for developing countries and suggests, in general terms, a strategy for a way forward.

Repairing the global economy requires strong leadership. Soundings Series: National Perspectives on Global Leadership (NPGL) is a series of commentaries from worldwide think tanks which examine public and media reaction in G20 countries to the performance of leaders at the global-level summits during 2009. A joint Brookings Institution-CIGI project overseen by Colin Bradford, NPGL is an experimental inquiry into the political relationships between national leaders and their publics, and whether G20 leaders can rebuild public trust in their collective capacity to restore the world’s economy. The third set of Soundings, following the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh,is now available online.

Additional publications and commentary on the global economic crisis produced by CIGI are accessible via the Global Economic Crisis feature.

The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.