Economic Governance & G20 Archive

Economic Governance & G20 Archive

The New U.S. Administration and the German G20 Summit: 3 Things to Watch

This article outlines what US hostility towards multilateralism might mean for the G20 Summit in Hamburg. Nancy Alexander points to three areas of concern: a possible shift of geopolitical alliances, disputes over a new course of global economy, and the future of sustainable development worldwide.

By Nancy Alexander

G20 and Investment

The G20 is promoting a new investment paradigm for itself and inviting the world to follow suit. What are the stated G20 goals and commitments in relation to this topic? What does “investment” mean? What is the progress so far and what are the challenges in relation to this topic? What is the desired future direction of the G20 with respect to the topic?

By Motoko Aizawa

G20 in Hamburg: Setting directions towards a democratic multilateralism

The G20 Hamburg Summit in July 2017 will be about nothing less than how globalization should be governed in the future. The G20 countries will have to respond to the key question of our times: How should a globalized world economy be coordinated for the benefit of all humanity against the backdrop of economic uncertainty, higher levels of inequality, climate change, refugees and migration?

By Dr. Heike Löschmann

G20 and Trade

Trade has contributed to inequalities in many countries. Therefore the G20 should ensure that its trade agenda does not conflict with that of the WTO or the United Nations. Many processes need to be revised to reduce so inequalities can be reduced.

By Motoko Aizawa

The Solar System of G20: Engagement Groups

Seven “Engagement Groups” circle around the G20 and attempt to influence its decisions. However, their relative power to influence outcomes differs greatly.

By Dr. Heike Löschmann, Nancy Alexander

Commitments on Global Health

The Ebola crisis prooved, that the G20 aims to ensure infectious agents to not cross borders rather than acting in disease prevention. This is why there is a serious concern that public health needs of poorer countries will be ignored.

By Marwin Meier, Birthe Redepenning

Power and legitimacy of the G20 in a multilateral governance system

The Group of 20 (G20) is a “club” of nations with significant influence. There is a significant democratic deficit in the G20 since its decisions and actions are not governed by international law and it is not accountable to representative bodies.

By Nancy Alexander, Dr. Heike Löschmann

Energy Sustainability

The endorsement of the Paris Agreement at the Chinese G20 was clearly a step forward for energy sustainability in the face of climate change. Still the indications of how it might be achieved is limited in scope.

By Elizabeth Bast, Alex Doukas

Fossil fuel subsidies and finance

G20 governments are spending $444 billion every year to support fossil fuel production. These financial flows are limiting the expansion of renewable energies that could curb global warming and meet a variety of sustainable development goals.

By Elizabeth Bast, Alex Doukas

Anti-Corruption – Goal on Anti-Corruption

Tackling corruption is crucial to the G20’s goal of generating inclusive growth and establishing a cleaner, safer, more sustainable economic framework. The cross-border nature of the problem requires global solutions, ones that the G20 must lead on.

By Maggie Murphy

The G7 and G20 in the global governance landscape

The Group of Seven (G7) and the Group of Twenty (G20) are informal governance clubs, which hold annual Summits of Heads of State to discuss issues of global importance.

By Nancy Alexander, Waleria Schuele, Dr. Heike Löschmann

Macroeconomics and Sovereign Debt

When a government takes on more public debt than it can service, there are serious consequences. Besides cuts in public budgets one country’s over-indebtedness can have spillover effects on regional or even global markets, as we saw in the recent Greek financial crisis.

By Motoko Aizawa

Green finance and climate finance

The G20 uses the term “Green Finance” as a broad umbrella term that refers to the major shift in financial flows required to support projects that benefit the environment and society by reducing pollution or tackling climate change.

By Motoko Aizawa

The Rotating G20 Presidency: How do member countries take turns?

On 1 December 2016, Germany became the host and President of the G20 and began to work within the so-called G20 Troika, which in addition to itself consists of the previous 2016 G20 President (China) and the subsequent 2018 President (Argentina).

By Nancy Alexander, Dr. Heike Löschmann, Waleria Schuele

Group of 20 (G20) – In a Nutshell

Who are the G20 member countries? What issues do they have? Who leads? Our factsheet gives a first overview.

By Nancy Alexander, Waleria Schuele, Dr. Heike Löschmann

An Energy Agenda for the G20 as if the Future Mattered

The G20 has fallen behind other international organizations in addressing the challenges of climate change and supporting sustainable energy transformation and electrification. This article lays the foundation for a reflection and discussion on what the G20 can usefully do to support these transformations, and how it must change to achieve this.

Five things that can promote transparency in Public-Private Partnerships

Transparency is an important but easily overlooked agenda in the mix of challenges facing Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) that aim to tackle a range of development imperatives, such as provision of infrastructure and other critical social services. The World Bank recently published ‘A Framework for Disclosure in Public-Private Partnership Projects,’ a practical tool intended to help countries set up PPP disclosure frameworks, based on an earlier eleven-jurisdiction study. Here are five things beyond the World Bank’s recommendations that can help promote PPP transparency:

By Motoko Aizawa

The Age of Megaprojects

While the world is already experiencing the biggest investment boom in human history, Leaders plan to boost economic growth through an explosion of megaprojects. This article examines the risks of megaprojects, including the question of whether they could privatize gain and socialize losses.
By Nancy Alexander

Can Addis start a Domino Effect for Raising Multilateral Ambition in 2015?

The year 2015 could go down in history books as the landmark year for turning around the world’s “business-as-usual” economic and financial system in ways that could lead to a sustainable future.  Or, it could be a year of cascading multilateral failures, signaling a further decline of UN-led efforts for sustainable development. When world leaders meet from July 13-16, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the third UN Conference on Financing for Development (FfD-3), the stakes are high. Fear and hope should motivate the outcomes of the conference. 

By Nancy Alexander, Liane Schalatek

Nancy Alexander Interview with Telesur: BRICS Countries and Their Challenges

See this Telesur interview with Nancy Alexander, Director of our Economic Governance Program, about the BRICS countries and whether their new structures (the New Development Bank and an international credit rating agency) might function with integrity and take into account risks such as global warming and environmental degradation.

A Commentary on Turkey's Growth Strategy


At the 9th G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, all member states presented their individual plans to promote “stronger economic growth and employment outcomes”. As G20 President this year, Turkey may consider its growth strategy and employment plan as models for other G20 countries. Its approach may also shape the G20 agenda. To explore these possibilities, this paper presents and comments on some highlights of the Turkish plans.

The World Bank: In the vanguard of an infrastructure boom

The world is experiencing the “biggest investment boom in human history”, with some $6-9 trillion annually (8 per cent of global GDP) devoted to mega, giga and tera (million, billion, and trillion) dollar projects. The G20 sees massive infrastructure investment as one of the ‘silver bullets’ that can achieve its target and, by boosting trade and integration, add $2 trillion to the global economy and create millions of jobs.

By Nancy Alexander

The Emerging Multi-Polar World Order


The new investment and development model is evolving with breathtaking speed due to not only the strong global consensus in support of it, but also the competition between the West and emerging powers to implement the model.

The G20 Adrift: Selected Outcomes of the 2014 Summit


This paper highlights decisions of the G20 Summit as they relate to: Taxation and  Corruption; Labor and Gender Participation in the Workforce; Financial Regulation; Trade; Climate Change, Food, and Energy; Global Governance; and Infrastructure.

Infrastructure: for people or for profit? (Español - Infraestructura: para la gente o para el lucro?)

Worldwide, the essential role of infrastructure is being rediscovered.  However, mega-projects -- including in the energy sector -- need good governance in order to deliver benefits and avoid harm to communities, ecology and the climate.  The 20+ authors in this anthology describe the challenge and imperative of achieving democratic and responsible governance of infrastructure. This publication is available in English and Spanish.

What Role for Development Finance in the Future of Africa and the Global South?

Africa emerges as a major “battleground” of what could be called the “economic world war” of suborders—such as the G7 and BRICS—with the World Economic Forum (WEF) networking this competitive terrain in the infrastructural financing “scramble for Africa” and the developing world. How will the infrastructure-financing scramble (and its links to extractive industries) play out?

By Nancy Alexander

Introduction to the G20


This paper provides background on the G20 and the upcoming Australian G20 Summit, which will be held in Brisbane in November 2014.

The great revenge of the North? TTIP and the rest of the world

TTIP is an initiative that aims to cement the dominance of the two largest economic powers in the world. Rainer Falk and Barbara Unmüßig consider a topic thus far left out of critical debate: TTIP’s implications for the “rest of the world,” particularly for developing and emerging economies.

By Barbara Unmüßig, Rainer Falk

G20-BRICS Update #18 - The Fossil Fools Troika


The February 2014 "G20-BRICS Update" features articles on the Australian G20 Presidency by Senator Christine Milne and Alan Alexandroff; articles on the BRICS by Graciela Rodriguez and Oliver Stuenkel (Brazil) and Vitaliy Kartamyshev (Russia); and reviews of work by Jayati Ghosh and Observer Research Foundation (India).

Think20 papers 2014: policy recommendations for the Brisbane G20 Summit


On 1 December 2013, Australia began its twelve-month presidency of the G20, a role that will culminate with the chairing of the Brisbane G20 summit, 15-16 November 2014. The ‘Think20’ is a network of think tanks and academics from G20 countries that are working to provide an important analytical input into the G20 process.

Responsible Investment in Infrastructure: Recommendations for the G20


Nancy Alexander and seven contributing authors present "Responsible Investment in Infrastructure: Recommendations for the G20," which responds to the G20's efforts to mobilize financial support for public-private partnership (PPPs) in large infrastructure projects in order to promote regional integration.

G20-BRICS Update #17 - G20 Growthcery

At the September 2013 G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Leaders faced conflicts relating to the Syrian crisis and decelerating global growth and, particularly, the role of the monetary policies of advanced countries, especially the U.S., in destabilizing developing country ́s economies.

Global Financial Governance and Impact Report 2013


This volume attempts to measure the quality of governance and the impact of the Group of 20 (G20), the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the IMF, World Bank, and Tax Rule-Making Bodies. Nancy Alexander gives the body a “poor” rating for its lack of transparency, accountability, inclusiveness and participation and responsibility.

Implementing Gender Equality at the World Bank


Gender equality efforts at the World Bank are not new. Several recent World Bank and external reports have taken stock of how successfully gender equality concerns have been mainstreamed in World Bank activities in the past few years. This analysis finds that while there have been some improvements ,persistent weaknesses in implementation remain largely due to a focus on internal process over gender equality impacts in developing countries.

Missing Women: The G20, Gender Equality and Global Economic Governance


The policy priorities of the G20 have profound gender implications, although the G20 rarely recognizes this fact. This report explores the possibilities for gender bias in the G20's policies, including those related to: fiscal and monetary priorities, employment, social protection, and development.

G20 Fundamentals #4


The Track Record of the Group of 20 (G20) on Eliminating Fossil Fuel Subsidies. This paper reviews the potential for and obstacles to implementing a phase-out and proposes an action agenda for the G20.

G20 Update #15 - Russia's G20 Priorities

This issue features articles on  the G20 exclusion of African perspectives, the story of Russia’s CivilG8–2006 Project, the parade of “20” meetings, the G20’s Anti-Corruption Working Group and includes a “knowledge box” on “The `Enough’ Campaign and the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

G20 Fundamentals #3


After introducing the topic of corruption, this paper identifies the G20 anti-corruption commitments and progress (or lack thereof) in the implementation of these commitments. It also proposes goals for the Working Group in 2013 and beyond.

G20 Fundamentals #2


This article assesses the G20's performance against its seven commitments to reform the financial sector. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has significant responsibility for carrying out the mandates of the G20 in this sector.

G20 Update #14 - The New G20 Troika

On December 1, 2012, the G20 welcomed its new leadership “troika”– Russia, Mexico, and Australia – the current, past and future presidents, respectively. The Russian G20 Presidency has announced its priorities for the 2013 Summit.G20 Sherpas, or presidential aides, will meet in Moscow in mid-December. At the same time, civil society, think tanks, and business leaders will gather to hammer out recommendations to present to the Sherpas.

Privatizing the Governance of Green Growth


Many powerful transnational corporations (TNCs) have growing influence over the governance of resources in sectors, such as energy and agriculture. This paper addresses the strategic dilemmas faced by civil society organizations that address corporate power in their struggles to curb global warming and achieve the human rights, including the rights to food and energy.

The G20: Playing Outside the Big Tent


This month, two events occur back-to-back: the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio +20”) in Brazil and the Group of 20 (G20) Summit, in Mexico. This paper asks how the powerful G20 might influence outcomes of Rio+20.

Democratizing Financing for Sustainable Development: Gender Equality is the Key

Twenty years after global leaders convened for the Earth Summit, governments meet again at Rio+20 to explore new approaches to address many of the same unresolved problems of inequities, persisting poverty and ecological overexploitation. Unfortunately, too little has changed and ecological conditions have worsened.

By Liane Schalatek

Closing the Gender Equality Gap in Southern Africa

Twenty years after the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), delegates meet again in Rio de Janeiro to give sustainable development a ‘new boost’. The Rio+20 is regarded as important for renewing the political commitment for sustainable development, providing an opportunity for global actors to assess progress and gaps in already agreed outcomes of major sustainable development summits, and to collectively address emerging issues.

By Kulthoum Omari

Whither Macroeconomics? Sustainable Development from a Feminist Human Rights Perspective

The ambitious agenda of Rio+20, marred by growing inequality within and between countries, a financial crisis in high-income countries, stagnant (to be generous) economic growth, and increasing militarization and conservatism around issues related to reproductive and sexual rights, begs the questions: where are we now, and what have we achieved in the last 20 years from a feminist human rights perspective? 

By Savi Bisnath

World Bank’s “Inclusive Green Growth” (IGG) Report – A Brief Assessment


The World Bank's May 2012 volume on "Inclusive Green Growth" has some positive solutions to offer, but falls short in several crucial ways: the lack of emphasis on poverty reduction, equality and human rights; an uncritical regard for market mechanisms to govern asset markets, and a view of infrastructure as the “heart of green growth,” among other things.

G20 Update #11 - Occupy G20?

The G8 and G20 Summits, which will be held on May 18-19 and June 18-19, respectively, are both being held in remote locations. When the original venue of the G8 Summit was Chicago (just prior to the May 20 NATO Summit in Chicago), major “Occupy” protests were being organized. Then, President Obama decided to move the G8 Summit to Camp David, his presidential retreat in the mountains of the U.S. state of Maryland.

The Role of the G20 in Enhancing Financial Inclusion

This paper describes the strengths and weaknesses in the G20’s “financial inclusion” initiative, which attempts to get desperately needed credit to households as well as the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that provide almost half of the labor force and almost half manufacturing employment in developing countries.

How the Mexican G20 Summit Can Promote Sustainable Development

The G20’s legacy will relate to economic outcomes as well as its record in reducing both the resource-intensity of development and the incidence of poverty and inequality. To that end, this brief provides recommendations for the G20 with regard to infrastructure, food security, investment in sustainable development, and global governance.

How Policymakers Can Help Firms Get Rights Right - Group of 20

Susan Ariel Aaronson, Associate Research Professor of the Elliott School, George Washington University, underscores how firms often operate in states where human rights may not be respected. For these and other firms, the Guiding Principles (GP) on Business and Human Rights, adopted by the UN in 2011, delineate their human rights responsibilities. This paper identifies how policy-makers can help firms meet these responsibilities.

Submission to the 2012 Earth Summit Outcome Document ‘Zero Draft’

The 2012 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is scheduled for June 20-22, 2012 – right "on the heels" of the Mexican G20 Summit on June 18-19, 2012. Will the G20 Summit support or undermine the goals of the 2012 Earth Summit? This paper describes the risk that, unless the G20 changes its orientation, it could undermine hopes for positive outcomes at the 2012 Summit.

G20 Update #9 - Leadership Transition

The French Presidency of the G20 began the year with sweeping ambitions of overhauling global governance. But now, on the eve of the Summit, its greatest accomplishment may be a more or less convincing plan to save the Eurozone.The latest newsletter on "EU financial reforms" by SOMO and WEED, provides important perspectives on EU and G20 approaches to the crisis.

Beyond the Public Eye: High-Level Panel on Infrastructure To Unveil its Recommendations for G20 Leaders

On November 3-4, when the G20 Leaders gather for their Summit in Cannes, they will review recommendations from a High-Level Panel (HLP) on Infrastructure, which proposes a global process for scaling up and streamlining public-private partnerships (PPPs) for large-scale, regional infrastructure projects. This paper describes this top-down initiative, which is disconnected from efforts to promote sustainability and, instead, takes a “bigger is better” approach to development.

G20 Update #8 - Breaking News

Harvard Professor Dani Rodrik uses the graph (below) to illustrate the “great divergence” between Western economies which struggle with crushing debt burdens and political paralyses, on the one hand, and the economic dynamism of developing nations. Emerging market countries want their economic dynamism to translate into political muscle, including at the IMF.

The Position of IMF Managing Director

Christine Lagarde is the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Undoubtedly, this is a step forward in the right direction, and would have been difficult to imagine only a few years ago.

The G20: "Maestro" of the Development Finance World?

This paper describes the G20's Development Action Plan (DAP) to promote economic growth in some 80 low-income countries. The DAP would deploy existing bilateral and multilateral aid to offset risks to private investment in infrastructure and agriculture projects that promote regional integration.

The G20, Latin America, and the Future of Regional Integration

This publication examines questions such as: What are the roles of Argentina, Brazil and Mexico in the G20? What are the implications of the G20 agenda for Latin America relating to monetary policy; regulation of commodity speculation; employment and social protection; and trade integration?

G20 Fundamentals #1

This paper provides background on the G20 and the upcoming Australian G20 Summit, which will be held in Brisbane in November 2014.

G20 Update #7

Our latest issue looks at how the financialization of agricultural markets increased price volatility and how the G20, paradoxically, wants to address this by even greater financialization. It investigates what role the G20 will play in the transformatio of the world economy and in tackling climate change. It also addresses the practice of inviting CEOs of big businesses to G20 summits and calls for a more legitimate approach by inviting business associations that are more representative.

Introduction to the G20

This article is a brief introduction to the G20 – its origin and power dynamic, membership, structure, mandate, and governance mechanisms for accountability.

“Relevant” Regulation of Food Derivatives

This paper examines how the current WTO negotiations propose limits or disciplines on governmental regulations. The paper focuses on regulations that limit or discourage speculators from participating in commodity markets, which contributes to volatility in the prices of food commodities. To demonstrate this point, the paper presents a case study of a specific policy option for regulation of derivatives. It concludes with a description of options for resolving the ambiguity of selected disciplines.

The World Bank's Proposed Program for Results (P4R)

This paper critiques the World Bank's proposed Program for Results (P4R) instrument by examining protections of the environment and affected communities and control of corruption (Part I); the effectiveness of proposed mechanisms of accountability (Part II); and the integrity of the consultation process on the proposed P4R instrument (Part III). Part IV presents conclusions.

Transatlantic Cooperation for Post-Crisis Financial Reform: To What End?

This study examines the question: What are the key issues regarding financial regulation on which transatlantic cooperation (or lack of it) could have an impact? While global regulation of global financial markets can be important, for instance, to prevent arbitrage, it should not be seen as an end in and of itself.

Needed: A True World Bank Development Report on Gender Equality

It is certainly laudable that gender equality gets the serious consideration it deserves in the current international development discourse, and having a WDR exclusively focused on gender equality gives it yet another ‘stamp of approval’ of being an intrinsic development issue. Too bad, that the World Bank is not using this occasion to accompany the academic exercise internally with a serious reflection and reconsideration of the Bank’s own understanding of and approach to gender equality.

G20 Update #6

Historically, Summit agendas have a way of being hijacked by current events and the 2011 Summits will be no exception. On May 26-27, the G8 Summit can be expected to address threats in the Middle East, especially Libya; in the Eurozone (where sovereign debt ratings for Spain and Portugal have been downgraded), and in Japan. Some G20 Leaders want the G8 to die a quiet death; they perceive G8 Leaders “pre-cooking” outcomes for their Summit, which is not until November. Meanwhile, as events unfold, the G8 and G20 Ministers and working groups continue to work in parallel.

G20: Confusion About the Current Crisis

This article on the G20 argues that, to date, the centers of capitalism are rejecting proposals which limit or meaningfully regulate excessive financial speculation. However, there are positive proposals, such as the Financial Transactions Tax (FTT), that may gain traction.

G20 Update #5


In this edition of the newsletter we cover a wide array of issue-areas and opinions:

1) Kirk Herbertson of World Resources Institute and Nancy Alexander of HBS look at the G20 as a standard setter and ask whether it could push for the internalization of environmental and human rights impacts in order to lead to better investment decision-making.


2) Nancy Alexander looks at the implications of the G20 for global governance.

3) Marta Benavides introduces the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) and the important role of increased civil society involvement in the G20 process.

4) Ilcheong Yi of UNRISD discusses the financial transaction tax and its link to social security.

5) Karen Hansen-Kuhn of IATP gives an update on the on-going discussion within the G20 on commodity and food price volatility, a topic that certainly will remain on the top of the global agenda in 2011.

G20 Update #4

After the Seoul summit, we summarize - and criticize - the outcomes of summit: how does South Africa aim to represent the interests of the African continent at the G20 meetings and how is this perceived in other African countries? How could the G20 avoid falling into the same trap as the G8 - announcing well-intentioned programs without delivering them? And what needs to be done to effectively regulate financial markets and commodity speculation?

This Land is Our Land

For more than three decades, transnational corporations have been busy buying up what used to be known as the commons -- everything from our forests and our oceans to our broadcast airwaves and our most important intellectual and cultural works.

Cooperation or Clash? G20 at a Crossroads

Two years ago, the group of the world’s 20 major economies (the G20) announced their shared ambition: to manage the global economic crisis more efficiently and more transparently than the old industrialized nations (G8), and to prevent further financial market crises or economic downturns. Only two years later, the G20 now stands at a crossroads. At the Group’s summit meeting in Seoul on November 11 and 12, selfish interests may well gain the upper hand, pushing the group’s previous willingness to cooperate into the background.

More than an Add-on: the Centrality of Gender Equality for Development and Climate Solutions

Gender equality is highlighted as a special theme in the ongoing 16th round of replenishment talks for the World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA 16). A discussion about gender equality at the World Bank group is not new. Since 2001, the World Bank has had an official gender mainstreaming strategy. Yet there are some structural weaknesses in the way the World Bank addresses gender considerations that need to be overcome in order for IDA 16 to be able to contribute to gender-equitable development in the poorest developing countries.

G20 Update #3

We are getting ready for Seoul where the next G20 summit is taking place. The core issues there are expected to be development and financial markets regulation. Some of our contributors argue that addressing development helps closing the G20's legitimacy gap, while others worry that yet another development actor will only make the development field more messy and the G20 less focussed. Instead, the G20 should narrow its agenda to financial issues like the latest Basel rules.

This trade-off between legitimacy and focus could be solved by establishing issue-oriented, ministerial-led G20s: one that focuses on finance, one on development, one on climate change, and so forth.

G20 Update #2

Ahead of the G20 summit in Seoul, we present the ins and outs of food speculation which is expected to be one of the main topics of the summit in Seoul. We explain how food speculation works, analyze how it drives world hunger and propose what individual states and the G20 should do to limit food speculation.

The Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) and Allocation of IDA Resources

This paper recommends that the World Bank distribute its assistance to Africa in more equitable ways. On August 16, 2010, it was presented to the African Caucus of Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors, and World Bank and IMF Executive Directors in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The Caucus established a Task Force to advocate that the World Bank implement the recommendations.

G20 Update #1.2


We review the Toronto Summit and take a look ahead to Korea’s presidency of the G20 with a distinct focus on development issues, financial market regulation and civil society engagement.

G20 Update #1

We review the Toronto Summit and take a look ahead to Korea’s presidency of the G20 with a distinct focus on development issues, financial market regulation and civil society engagement.

Series of Policy Papers on Trade and Investment

The South Centre (Geneva) and the Harrison Institute of Georgetown Law Center (Washington, D.C.) prepared the following six papers which focus on the fact that, whereas tariffs are a primary barrier to trade in goods, domestic laws and regulations are the primary barrier to trade in service sectors.

Plain Language Guide: GATS Negotiations on Domestic Regulation

The World Trade Organization is negotiating “disciplines” on domestic regulation, which is essential for both development and environmental protection. Often ambiguous, some of the draft disciplines can be interpreted as a radical departure from the practice of most nations. They could change the course of regulation and development, particularly within federal systems and in small and vulnerable economies, where government systems are changing.

“Pre-established” Regulations and Development Permits

The World Trade Organization is negotiating “disciplines” on domestic regulation, one of which requires regulations to be “pre-established.” Established before what? If this means, before a development permit is sought, the discipline would limit the government’s authority to change environmental or community impact standards before a permit is issued. If so, this discipline could constrain changes in climate policy or environmental regulation of existing extraction industries.

“Pre-established” Regulations and Financial Services

The World Trade Organization is negotiating “disciplines” on domestic regulation, one of which requires regulations to be “pre-established.” Established before what? If this means, before government can apply regulations to an existing financial institution, the discipline would limit the government’s authority to change “too big to fail” policies or increase developmental lending mandates to serve businesses that are rural, small, or owned by women.

Could a Foreign Investor Use GATS Disciplines in a BIT Claim?

The World Trade Organization is negotiating “disciplines” on domestic regulation that could be more powerful than negotiators realize. They could transform the GATS, the General Agreement on Trade in Services, into the first trade agreement that foreign investors enforce through claims against governments for hundreds of millions of dollars. If so, the magnitude of disputes could change the course of development for a small state or a vulnerable economy.

Free Trade Agreements Versus Bilateral Treaties

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the changes that are taking place in the international normative framework on investment through surveying the European Union and United States’ Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with developing countries.

The World Bank Reboots - Economic Governance

The World Bank’s Investment Lending Reforms (ILR) will significantly shift the way in which the institution operates. This re-issued paper contains updated information on the reforms and the implications of these reforms for people and the environment in recipient countries.

Are the World Bank’s Anti-Corruption Efforts Corrupted?

In 2009, the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) released an unprecedented 700-page evaluation which found evidence that the institution is failing to adequately address the risks of fraud and corruption in its assistance programs.

Standing in the Way of Development?

Between January 2007 and June 2009, the IMF claims that it was more flexible in terms of providing greater policy space to low-income countries to boost spending in the face of fuel, food and financing crises. To examine this claim, scholars at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) examined the empirical evidence in 13 countries. Learn about their findings in this report.

The case for a green economy that works for all

According to an estimate of the U.S. Congressional Research Service, the global financial crisis destroyed 40% of the world’s GDP. Since then, stock indices show a significant recovery of the lost wealth; however, analyses are likely to show that, on the whole, the response to the crisis (government stimulus packages and especially bank bail-outs of worldwide estimated $14 trillion) redistributed wealth upward. In the U.S., unemployment has exceeded the 10% mark and one out of every nine people receives food stamps.

The State of Play in GATS Negotiations: Are Developing Countries Benefiting?

As with many of the other WTO negotiating areas, talks on “trade in services” present serious challenges to developing countries. One challenge is the fact that – whereas tariffs are a primary barrier to trade in goods – domestic laws and regulations are the primary barrier to trade in services. Hence, when governments make commitments to liberalize services in different sectors such as, energy, environment, basic services, domestic laws and regulations governing these services need to be re-examined to ensure that they do not conflict with WTO rules.

Limits to Growth in China, too

With its gigantic domestic market, its allure to foreign investors, and the world’s largest currency reserve, China should be better prepared to weather the financial crisis than other emerging markets. Yet China’s exports account for 40 percent of its GDP and it has thus been deeply impacted by the worldwide recession, especially by the drop in U.S. demand

Gender Implications of the Financial Crisis in the United States

August 2009"The United States is a women’s success story in many ways... Yet for the past two decades at least, policies in other countries are catching up with and exceeding those in the United States, so that we can no longer consider ourselves the leader in women’s achievement or economic well-being."

Official G20 Documents

This dossier is a resource library on past G20 summits and working groups from 2010 until today.

Think Tank 20

The first Think 20 under the Australian Presidency was convened in Sydney, Australia on 11 December 2013 by the Lowy Institute, the Think 20, and the G20 Studies Centre. Click here to view each of thirty T20 participants made recommendations to the G20 on the topics of: The G20 economic/finance process; Trade liberalization; Financing for investment/infrastructure; and Development.


The Economic Governance Program focuses on democratizing governance structures to ensure that the international financial institutions and bodies, such as the G20 and BRICS, are representative and accountable. It also works on democratizing policy-making in thematic areas (e.g., finance, economics and trade) and sectoral areas (e.g., infrastructure) to strengthen “real economies” in ways that respect the rights of the earth, vulnerable groups, and women. We support the engagement of citizen’s groups in developing countries in both areas, including through  public education and capacity-building.

G20 Dossiers

For official G20 documents, as well as G20-related civil society, labor, business and think tank documents, click here.