The Future of the G20 and Its Place in Global Governance

CIGI G20 Paper No. 5

April 27, 2011

Despite the success of the G20 in helping prevent the 2008 global financial crisis from becoming an economic depression, the group can do more in the area of effective global governance, particularly on economic and security issues, says CIGI Distinguished Fellow Paul Heinbecker in the fifth instalment in CIGI’s G20 Paper series. The G20 could play a major role in determining whether we are to live in a time of enhanced cooperative governance or in a zero-sum international competition. To achieve its potential, Heinbecker calls for a “reciprocal, strong relationship” between the G20 and the UN, and stresses the importance of the G20’s relationship to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Based on the evolution of the G8, he suggests that the G20 will begin to consider adding political and security issues to its agenda. The author highlights the world’s most pressing hybrid issues, which a broader G20 agenda could help to tackle, such as “the economic and financial dimensions of climate change, food and energy security, and support for the political transformation of the Middle East and North Africa, which will have major economic dimensions and impact.” A former ambassador and permanent representative of Canada to the UN, Paul Heinbecker is one of Canada’s most experienced commentators on foreign policy and international governance.

Part of Series

CIGI G20 Papers

Emanating from CIGI’s G20 work program, the “CIGI G20 Papers” seek to examine and understand options for the G20 on major transnational and institutional issues, such as the response to the economic crisis, financial regulation, and the G20’s place in the processes and “architecture” of international economic governance. The first four papers to be published were originally presented at CIGI’s conference on International Governance Innovation: Issues for the 2010 Summits (May 3-5, 2010). They address questions relating to the new Financial Stability Board; the process of summitry and the G20’s effectiveness and legitimacy; the G20 and the post-crisis economic order (and by extension, the G8); and the macroeconomic stabilization framework for sustained global growth and prosperity.

About the Author

With a distinguished career in Canadian diplomacy — including posts as ambassador to Germany, permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) and adviser to various prime ministers, Paul Heinbecker is one of Canada’s most experienced commentators on foreign policy and international governance. Paul is also the director of the Centre for Global Relations at Wilfrid Laurier University.