G20, Development and Global Governence: An Assessment
In comparison with the G7/G8, ultimately, the ability of the G20, to take decisions by consensus on policies to be implemented collectively indicates that the G20 is more than just a global talking shop, even if not yet equipped with the powers over the global economy equivalent to the UN Security Council’s powers over global security. However, the UN Security Council also depends upon UN member countries to implement its decisions and is only ever as powerful as the commitment of its members to uphold the UN Charter. The best indication of precisely how the G20’s powers may evolve into a more robust form of global economic governance, is portrayed in the new working relationship between the G20 and the IMF. The G20 work plan, originally proposed by the Bush government in the USA as the ‘Agenda for Growth’, envisages country pledges to reduce global financial imbalances and improve financial stability. Enforcement of commitments would be undertaken by a process of mutual assessment, with the IMF to act as referee in cases of disputes and with the power of moral suasion to encourage compliance. By integrating the financial resources and technical capacities of the IMF with the perceived global legitimacy of the G20 as a policy making institution, this approach can make G20 policy implementation more effective even whilst granting greater legitimacy to the IMF, oft criticized for its voting by share ownership of the wealthiest countries. However, one of the principal merits of the ‘talking shop’ form of global economic governance is that national interests and priorities can and do change as a result of leaders communicating with and learning from each other.