The G20 @ 10 conference: Assessing the benefits, limitations and the future of global club governance in turbulent times

Photp: G20 Conference GroupIn Buenos Aires on 30 November and 1 December 2018, the G20 is having its 10th anniversary as a summit format at the leaders’ level. On 14 and 15 November 2008, this previously-obscure group of finance ministers and central bankers of the nineteen most “systemically relevant” countries and the EU was transformed into a forum for international leaders to meet with a view into the abyss of the global financial crisis that originated in the US and spread fast across the world. Ten years and 12 leaders’ summits later, the G20 has moved beyond its 2008-09 role as a crisis-management forum and became the self-described “premier forum for […] international economic cooperation.” In this capacity it is now facing new demands to tackle global challenges such as climate change, digitalization and pandemics. As its agenda has expanded and the urgency of the crisis fades, the G20 faces questions regarding its relationship to other formal institutions of global governance, such as the United Nations, its effectiveness in dealing with global challenges as well as its legitimacy and accountability vis-à-vis its people and the 174 non-members.

T20 – Cooperation to overcome the challenges to multilateralism?

Photo: Buenos Aires Skyline

The T20 summit assembled 1000 researchers from 68 countries during the past two days in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to present policy recommendations on issues such as future of work, climate action, trade and social inclusion. A joint communique was handed over to G20 Chair and Argentinean President Mauricio Macri that called for more engagement to overcome the challenges faced by multilateral cooperation in all these areas.

After the G7 Summit: When you think it can’t get any worse…

Photo: ShredderThe G7 Summit on 8 and 9 June 2018 in Charlevoix, Canada, ended in the worst possible outcome. Even an open clash at the negotiation table would have been better than President Trump’s post-summit withdrawal from the joint communique. On his road of destruction of the existing international order, Donald Trump has deprived the G7 of its operating principle: the forging of shared purpose as a basis of joint action among a select group of important countries. This is a bad omen for the upcoming G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the end of the year.

What remains of the G20 Hamburg Summit?

Image: Knots G20

Preserve cohesion of the G20

At first glance, the communiqué of the G20’s Hamburg Summit is an ordinary piece of international diplomacy. However, as is often the case, context is key to assess its real importance. Two context factors defined this year’s negotiations of G20 leaders in the exhibition halls in the city center of Hamburg. Within the negotiation room, an unruly US president questioned a number of common positions that had already been adopted by the G20 in previous years.