In a new commentary for the East Asia Forum, CIGI Senior Fellow Barry Carin outlines the reasons why, despite high hopes, expectations for the G20 and France’s presidency are unrealistic.

The French have inherited an "unfinished agenda" from past G20 summits. They have, however, not adopted from past summits certain ideas, like that of a G20 Secretariat, and succesful outreach strategies (Korea sought ideas and inputs from non-G20 countries).

France has "overburdened" the G20 agenda, but that is not the only reason why expectations for the G20 in 2011 are unrealistic according to Carin:

  1. Obama cannot deliver, given the US political gridlock.
  2. Cooperation from Japan cannot be counted on either.
  3. Cooperation from China is problematic.
  4. G20 Summits are too brief and too large to deal with the complexity of topics they seek to address.
  5. Non-members hotly contest the legitimacy of G20 decisions purporting to extend to other countries.
  6. There is a lack of consensus on what needs fixing in the current system or ‘non-system’.

But Carin writes that there is still optimism for 2012 and the future Mexican presidency:

  • “Mexico may artfully set up an informal secretariat, establish a ‘troika leadership,’ and pursue an adroit outreach strategy. Most important, they can limit the agenda to deal with existing G20 commitments, resisting the temptation for a new initiative. Then the G20 could graduate to a wider agenda, one that is at the very fore of global economic governance.”


**This is an abbreviated version of a commentary that was written by Dr. Carin and originally published by the East Asia Forum online (March 4, 2011).  Read the full commentary here>>


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