What lies ahead for G20 after Seoul summit

17:32, November 13, 2010      

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The G20 Seoul Summit ends in controversy, and it is now France, the 2011 chair, that should pick up the discussion agenda and move on.

Among the issues to be taken up by the next organizer of the summit, there is a fresh idea of institutionalizing a permanent secretariat office for the G20 scheme.

In August, French President Nicholas Sarkozy first officially addressed the issue of creating the G20 secretariat.

Ahead of the Seoul Summit, Sakong Il, president of the preparation committee, made a comment on Sarkozy's remarks, saying the G20 leaders should develop the issue at the Seoul Summit.

Accordingly, it was expected of the Seoul government to kick- start formal discussion on the issue, but it was not ever tabled at the Seoul Summit, the South Korean organizing committee said.

It may be higher-priority issues such as trade imbalance and exchange rates that kept the G20 leaders away from discussing the secretariat topic in Seoul.

Beside priority concern, however, the top leaders also must have been unwilling to bring up another issue over which their interests and opinions clashed.

The G20 scheme, reflecting more of emerging countries' power and interest in nature, certainly isn't a governance structure that existing global powers can fully embrace.

Accordingly, some members of the G8 countries were publicly claiming a return to the previous super-power dominated hegemony, all the more opposed to the institutionalization of the G20.

Advanced nations taking a more moderate stance, though agreeing with the general idea of G20, also seem to be rejecting the G20- should-replace-G8 theory.

On the contrary, emerging countries in general view the G20 system as an opportunity, securing more shares in the global politics and economy than ever.

Also, as for those not found at the top 20 list, the G20 scheme offers more benefits as well, with emerging economy members trying to represent their peer developing nations' interests in a bid to strengthen legitimacy and credibility of the G20.

On the back of support from non-member nations, countries newly joining the world governance system are not likely to tolerate the G20's power diminishing as the effect of the crisis wanes.

Rather, they will seek to increase their voice, possibly through setting up a headquarter for the G20 talks, which will be endowed with rights to review and control the implementation of what has been agreed at summits.

Thus, once the secretariat talks begin officially, there will be added another heated debate on the G20 discussion table, with the G20 nations already divided over a range of agenda items.

Looked into further in depth, there is also found apparent disaccord between countries in favor of the secretariat, more specifically between France and South Korea.

It is widely known that France, the first official advocate of the secretariat, wants a central office in order to deal with general issues, such as climate changes and development.

South Korea, on the other hand, is ambitiously seeking to host the base camp on its territory, eyeing to build a center for global economic policy coordination.

What South Korea envisions is overlapping with the role of international financial organizations, namely the IMF, and the country may have to stand up against more stakeholders than just advanced nations.

At the moment, not all conflict factors are addressed yet as the G20 countries still stay calm regarding the issue.

The G20, however, will not likely stay dormant in France, or as the G20 runs up for the France Summit, considering the event is held in a country that commenced the debate.

Then, it is now France that holds the key to the future of G20.

Source: Xinhua


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