G20 summit: less-developed nations still struggle to shape agenda
As competing agendas descend upon Toronto for this weekend’s G20 summit, the so-called BRIC countries expect to get an equal voice, but less-developed countries remain concerned about being heard.
(Page 3 of 3)
The situation has improved, experts say, as the G20 has shifted from a forum for finance ministers to one for heads of states. In Pittsburgh in 2009, G20 members agreed to increase emerging-market representation in the IMF by 5 percent. Though the quota shift has not happened yet, analysts say the G20 overall has helped close the division of interests between the global North and South, or rich and poor, hemispheres.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
“You don’t see the deep North-South type of gulf,” says Alan Alexandroff, co-director of the University of Toronto-based G20 Research Group, a global network of thinkers following G20 developments. In today’s globalized economy, many of the main concerns of developing countries overlap with those of the developed. “There are differences, but a lot of the contentious issues in this lead-up have been between Europe and Canada or Europe and the United States.”
As host nation of the G20, Canada says it is prioritizing the implementation of previous G20 and G8 donor commitments. In a recent speech, Canadian Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan offered hopeful words for developing countries, signaling that Ottawa would push back against any protectionist measures. “Canada believes that lasting economic recovery – not just in North America, but around the world – depends on free trade, not protectionism," he said.
For developing nations, the most realistic expectation will be that developed countries focus on their own agendas, but that they do so in a “development-friendly” manner, says Dirk Willem te Velde of the Overseas Development Institute in London.
“All in all, it’s important that the G20 have their own house in order, but that they do so and rebalance their economies in a way that is helpful for poorest countries as well.”
- G-20 summit: financial reform is needed. But how fast?
- At G-20 summit, an economic clash of civilizations
- G-20 summit dilemma: Stimulate economic growth or rein in deficits?