Waterloo, Canada — May 26 —Can the G8 and the G20 continue to co-exist? And, if so, what should the United Nations’ relationship be with each organization?

These are among the key questions outlined in two new publications from The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), being released to coincide with the 2011 G8 Summit in Deauville, France.

The first, The G7 to G8 to G20: Evolution in Global Governance, is CIGI Distinguished Fellow Gordon Smith’s history of the formation of the three main leaders’ summit groups. It provides a brief history of recent global summitry from its origins in the aftermath of the 1971 breakdown of the Bretton Woods system of exchange rates and the oil crisis in 1973 through to a leaders’ summit forum at the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008.  Smith wraps up the paper with a discussion of the differences in the G8 and G20 models, concluding that the G20 process is still the best option for meeting the challenges of complex global governance issues.

The second CIGI publication being released is the conference report from The New Geometry of Global Summitry: The future of the G20 (and the G8), which was held May 2 to 5, 2011, at CIGI. The report, written by Peter Heap, summarizes the key topics considered by conference participants, including:  the G20’s position as a “global steering group” and the related issue of ensuring legitimacy; global governance challenges and the need for summitry; the future roles of the G8, the UN and the G20; and items under consideration for the G20’s agenda in 2012 and beyond.


A former Canadian deputy cabinet minister, NATO ambassador and Sherpa for the prime minister of Canada at three G7/G8 summits, Gordon Smith is a leading expert on the evolution of global summitry.

Peter Heap is a senior researcher at the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria.


CIGI will also have experts available in the following three key areas of the 2011 G8 agenda:

New common challenges: the internet and green growth

  • Andrew F. Cooper, CIGI Distinguished Fellow, internet gambling’s role in global economy
  • David Runnalls, Acting Director of CIGI’s Environment and Energy Program, green growth, United Nations' High-level Panel on Global Sustainability
  • Simon Zadek, CIGI Senior Visiting Fellow and sustainability adviser to the World Economic Forum, green growth, sustainability and collaborative governance

Peace and security component

  • Jennifer Clapp, CIGI Chair at the Balsilie School of International Affairs, international food trade and the current food crisis
  • Trevor Findlay, CIGI Senior Fellow and Director of the Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance, nuclear safety and non-proliferation, G8’s global partnership against the spread of weapons of mass destruction
  • Mark Sedra, CIGI Senior Fellow, post-conflict state building, security sector reform
  • Bessma Momani, CIGI Senior Fellow, Middle East and North Africa uprisings, emerging market economies

Partnership with Africa

  • Gregory Chin, CIGI Senior Fellow and Acting Director of CIGI’s Development Program
  • Thomas Tieku, lead researcher with CIGI’s Africa Initiative and Director of African Studies at University of Toronto’s New College, Democracy promotion in Africa

Members of CIGI’s G20 Working Group will also be available for comment on related global economy issues and the evolving dynamics of global summitry.


Declan Kelly, Communications Specialist, CIGI

Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 356, Email: [email protected]

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, nonpartisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of RIM (Research In Motion), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit www.cigionline.org.

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.