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CIGI Commentaries

CIGI Commentaries consist of expert analysis of current international governance topics, written in the style of newspaper op-eds, aimed at advancing public understanding and influencing public debate.

Central Bank Communication after the Crisis: Has Anything Changed?

January 21, 2015
CIGI Commentary
The story is now well known. As central banks around the world began to converge on similar monetary policy strategies there was little thought given to the possibility that the twin goals of price stability and financial stability would come into conflict with each other. The global financial crisis of 2008-2009 changed attitudes and reminded policy makers that it is not straightforward to manage macro- and microprudential concerns simultaneously. Central bank governors began to underscore the importance of communication even before the GFC, but this event complicated central bank communication in several respects.

A Youth Perspective on the Challenges Facing the North

January 21, 2015
Jessica Nasrallah
Over 50 students from across Canada gathered in Iqaluit, Nunavut from October 30 to November 2, 2014 for the first ever Arctic Youth Ambassador Summit. Global Vision, a national not-for-profit organization that engages young future leaders in Canada through education and hands-on experiences, organized the summit. Students had the opportunity to listen to locals, including the youth, and government officials discuss a wide variety of pressing issues concerning the North and consider different perspectives on solving the many challenges facing this beautiful and remote region, including food security and safe Arctic shipping. The summit was originally intended to focus on the three core themes mandated by the priorities of Canada’s Arctic Council Chairmanship: responsible resource development; sustainable circumpolar communities; and Arctic shipping. However, it did not take long to realize, especially after engaging with locals, that we needed to unpack these issues, and even add new ones. This commentary provides a critical overview of the key topics that emerged from the summit.

A Disappointing New Year!

January 8, 2015
One word describes the global economy in 2014: disappointment. In October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its outlook for global growth to 3.3 percent, extending a pattern of missed forecasts that dates to 2011. The IMF foresees better days in the new year. That is possible, but the cautious optimism should not be taken for granted. The headwinds that impeded progress in 2014 are still blowing hard.

The Equator Principles: A Tool for a Sustainable Financial Sector?

December 18, 2014
Olaf Weber and Emmanuel Acheta
The sustainability and societal impact of the financial sector have been discussed intensively since the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. Although voluntary codes of conduct — such as the Equator Principles (EPs) for project finance, the UN Principles for Responsible Investment that focus on the sustainability of institutional investments and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Financial Initiative (UNEP FI), a general guideline for managing sustainability in the financial sector — have been in place for at least a decade, they were unable to point the financial sector in a sustainable direction in order to prevent the financial crisis.

The Battle of the Banks

November 18, 2014
There are many takeaways from the 2014 G20 summit meetings in Brisbane, Australia, but one that stands out is the battle for creating, funding and maintaining development banks that can undertake large infrastructure financing. One of the pillars of the Brisbane pact on growth and development is the G20 leaders’ nod to the importance of infrastructure and investment as the key means of attaining both the promised two percent additional GDP growth across the globe, and the goal of creating quality jobs for youth, women and the disadvantaged.

If Fully Implemented...

November 17, 2014
The ninth summit meeting of leaders of the G20 has now concluded in Brisbane, Australia. Many observers saw this meeting as a critical test of whether the G20 could continue to show leadership of the global economy. Following the G20’s recognized success at its first two meetings in halting the slide of the world economy into an even more serious crisis, many commentators have observed that more recently, the G20 appeared to have lost its way.

Keeping Up with the Challenges from Global Monetary Policy Spillovers

November 12, 2014
International spillovers of unconventional monetary policies have been an important discussion item in G20 meetings over the past few years. While the current Australian presidency has managed to ease some of the initial tension on this topic, it will remain a subject of conversation in forthcoming G20 meetings, given the expected US Fed tightening and the possibility of the European Central Bank’s own quantitative easing.

Time to Replace the Catatonic UNFCCC

September 30, 2014
Political realities provide a challenging context for climate change negotiations, including fundamental North-South differences on financial transfers and on legally binding targets. Funding is not forthcoming — the Green Climate Fund, to be disbursed to developing countries to undertake their climate actions, has yet to receive any funds. Developed countries refuse to consider making legally binding commitments to restrict emissions unless China, India and Brazil all make similar commitments. Domestic energy policy changes in the United States and the United Kingdom reveal that they are not serious about reducing emissions.

Greening Economic Growth: How Can Environmental Regulation Enhance Innovation and Competitiveness?

September 18, 2014
Paul Lanoie
A major challenge facing society is discovering new ways to grow economies without growing environmental impacts, commonly referred to as “decoupling” economic growth from environmental degradation. It is, however, a widely held belief among both economists and regulators that the adoption of environmental regulation will, by nature, impair economic growth. In this view, policies or regulations designed to improve the environmental performance of economic actors (for example, firms) will, by default, reduce the potential for economic growth — which means decoupling is not viable as a policy objective. One need look no further than the current paralysis with the international negotiations to limit greenhouse gas emissions (and decarbonize economic growth) to see the implications of this perception.

African Perspectives on Sovereign Debt Restructuring

August 19, 2014
On August 7 and 8, CIGI’s Global Economy Program co-hosted a conference with Uganda Debt Network to discuss African perspectives on sovereign debt restructuring.
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