No Governance, No Party

July 20, 2009


Paola Subacchi

Research Director, International Economics, Chatham House

Despite the worst expectations in the weeks before the summit, the G8 gathering in L’Aquila handed over neither a significant outcome nor an embarrassing disaster. Participants seemed pleased with the Italians who were praised for their excellent job in managing the whole choreography and delivering a great party. The Italian organisers must felt relieved, especially as some commentators seemed prepared to support Italy’s expulsion from the G8 on the ground of poor organisational skills and its Prime Minister’s penchant for scandals.

The idea that Italy was risking the expulsion hit the main headlines in the first day of the summit, with no further follow-up. But it is disconcerting and interesting at the same time. It is disconcerting because of the implicit assumption that the G8 membership could be decided on the basis of how efficient a country is in organising a meeting and how effective, and credible, the leadership of the hosting leader is. But the organising country does not equate the entire G8 even if it plays an important role in shaping the summit, and determining its relevance.

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The Heiligendamm Process: Extending the G8-G5 Dialogue

July 10, 2009

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.

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G5 Leaders Shifting the Balance

July 9, 2009

G5

Andrew F. Cooper
Associate Director and Distinguished Fellow, CIGI

While the BRIC group of states have grabbed a great deal of attention with their landmark leaders’ summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia, 15 June 2009, their expanded G5 alter ego has been a significant force at this week’s G8 Summit in L’Aquila.

Coined by Goldman-Sachs, the original BRIC investment acronym has moved from a laudatory account of the rise of 4 big economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) to a geo-political reality. Such a shift indicates the extent to which we are moving into a more contested global order. In many ways, the BRIC countries are more interesting for their differences than their similarities. Brazil and India are robust democracies. Russia is a managed democracy. China is a one party state. India has a fast rising population. Russia is in serious demographic trouble with a sharply reduced life expectancy. Brazil and Russia are resource rich. India and China are resource dependent.

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G8 and G20: What’s the Dominant ‘G’?

June 30, 2009

Andrew F. Cooper
Associate Director and Distinguished Fellow, CIGI

The task of labelling the G8 is starting in earnest. What the host country would like to term the event is as the summit of principles. Leaving aside the situational difficulty of a scandal-ridden Italian government, led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, playing up the role of ethics in public life, there are deeper structural reasons why this branding effort may fall flat.

At the declaratory level all of the state officials are being careful to say that the G8 and the G20 are not in competition. Yet at the same time it is clear that the G20 has become the core forum for dealing with the financial crisis. The G8 is not where the action on the instrumental agenda. Rather it is a way station to the bigger event in the form of the G20. Indeed the announcement by the Obama administration that the G20 will be held in Pittsburgh on 25 September has reduced the authority and influence of the L’Aquila summit.

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