The leaders of the G20 countries have now held seven summits - enough to begin critically evaluating how well the G20 serves the interest of specific sub-parts of the international community. The purpose of this policy brief is to assess how well the G20 responds to African interests. It is divided into three parts.
How well does the G20 reflect African interests and priorities? Some thoughts following the Los Cabos, Mexico summit
The leaders of the G20 countries have now held seven summits - enough to begin critically evaluating how well the G20 serves the interest of specific sub-parts of the international community. The purpose of this policy brief is to assess how well the G20 responds to African interests. It is divided into three parts. The first is a brief description of the most recent summit, held on June 18-19, 2012 in Los Cabos, Mexico. The second part is a brief discussion of the criteria that will be used in this evaluation. The third part is an assessment of the G20 against these criteria.
The Los Cabos summit
The G20 summit is the culmination of a busy schedule of meetings of senior policy makers and technical experts. The participants in these meetings include, in addition to the representatives of the G20 states themselves, officials from international organizations such as the IMF, the World Bank, the regional development banks, the FSB, OECD, ILO, UNCTAD, WTO, and UNDP. Representatives of regional organizations, such as the AU and NEPAD, are present at the summit. The purpose of these meetings is to follow up on the decisions and requests of the G20 leaders, promote cooperation between the participants of the G20 process on particular issues, and to help shape the summit discussions and communiqué.
So far, the host country for each year’s summit has served as the chair of the G20 during that year, even though the individual G20 working groups, panels and task forces will have their own chairs. The host state is responsible for organizing and chairing the summit’s preparatory meetings and the summit itself. This allows the host country to influence both the G20’s agenda for that year and its future work programme. For example, Mexico as the 2012 host nation, focused attention on green growth and job creation.
Since the G20 does not have a permanent secretariat, the participating international organizations usually assume responsibility for preparing the background studies and policy proposals for the leaders of the G20 and may play a role in implementing their decisions. For example, the FSB and the IMF coordinate many of the studies on financial regulatory issues and the IMF serves as the leading independent assessor in the mutual assessment program that the G20 countries are implementing. These organizations also help transmit G20 initiatives, for example those relating to financial sector regulation, to the other states in the global system.
The final point to note about the evolving G20 process is the growing range of affiliated meetings held in conjunction with the G20 process. In the case of the Los Cabos summit, Mexico organized meetings of business leaders, labour, youth, think tanks, and civil society from the G20 countries. These meetings may result in reports which can feed into the G20 process.