Development & Finance Archive

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.

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 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.


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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.


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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 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.

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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.

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.

G20 Update #13 - Leadership Transition

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.

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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.

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.


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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.

G20 Update #10 - The G20's New Troika

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.

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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.

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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.


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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?

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.

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.


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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.


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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.

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?

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.

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.