G20 and BRICS Update

G20 and BRICS Update

The Heinrich Böll Foundation publishes a quarterly newsletter, the “G20-BRICS Update,” on the G20 Summit processes and outcomes with special emphasis on the contributions to the processes by civil society organizations.

Since the Mexican G20 Summit, the Eurozone crisis and the U.S. slowdown are hitting many emerging and developing countries suffer from declines in industrial output, export growth, trade and inflows of capital.
The eurozone crisis hijacked the French G20 Summit and shows every sign of doing the same at the Mexican Summit, as fear of a Greek exit (“Grexit”) from the eurozone morphs into panic over Spain (“Spanic”).

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 G20’s new troika is preparing for the G20 Summit in Los Cabos,Mexico on June 18-19, 2012. The troika is comprised of the current, former, and upcoming Presidencies of the G20: Mexico, France, and Russia.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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