The Heiligendamm Process: Extending the G8-G5 Dialogue

Yesterday, in their joint declaration, G8 and G5 countries committed themselves to work together to address international governance challenges. To facilitate continued dialogue on issues such as investment, intellectual property and climate, the leaders announced an extension of the Heiligendamm Process – renaming it the Heiligendamm-L’Aquila Process (HAP) – the structured dialogue among the officials of the established industrialized countries  and the major emerging economies of the global South – China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico.

In this exclusive video, Andrew F. Cooper interviews Ulrich Benterbusch, Director of the Heiligendamm Dialogue Process at the OECD. Since the 2007 Heiligendamm G8 Summit, Mr. Benterbusch has been the primary facilitator of this program that has allowed for confidence building and partnerships among G8 and G5 states, development of common policy towards critical global issues, as well as spill-over affects for the international financial institutions.

To view the complete documents outlining the progress of the HDP and agenda of the HAP, see:

Promoting the Global Agenda: Joint G8-G5 Declaration  (9 July 2009)
ANNEX 1: HDP Concluding Report
ANNEX 2: The Agenda of the Heiligendamm-L’Aquila Process (HAP)

As Mr. Benterbusch explains, the structured dialogue format provides for less predetermined outcomes and deeper understandings between the participants. The HDP has developed a “special atmosphere” where officials are able to discuss political and economic issues in an open manner. He identifies investment as an area where much progress has taken place and G8-G5 have agreed to reduce or avoid protectionist measures while fostering future bilateral and multilateral agreements.

Looking ahead to the 2010 G8 Summit in Muskoka, Canada, Mr. Benterbusch notes that the new phase of the process or HAP has signalled a willingness of the partners to engage in a “more ambitious way” towards tangible results. While there are numerous important issues on the global agenda, the HAP will not be seeking to invent new policy areas, rather it will be able to provide a setting where these issues can be addressed in an informal manner that can yeild common positions. This, from Mr. Benterbusch’s perspective, forms the “value-added” of the HAP.

Disclaimer: This blog is solely intended to spur discussion, while the opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI, Chatham House or their respective Boards of Directors.

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