The G8-G20 Relationship in Global Governance
This volume explores the G8/G20 summits’ performance, their comparative strengths and limitations, the division of labour and relationship between them as it is emerging over the period of their co-existence, and how the future G8-G20 partnership can be improved to the benefit of both bodies, the prosperity and well-being of their citizens, and the sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy as a whole.
It presents the results of a collaborative research program of the International Organisations Research Institute of the National Research University Higher School of Economics and the G8 Research Group and G20 Research Group at the University of Toronto. It thus combines the talents of two research teams that have worked together for many years on the analytic and empirical components essential to accomplish the task in this book). The first team, led by Marina Larionova at the National Research University-Higher School of Economics in Moscow includes her scholarly colleagues, researchers, and practitioners in Russia and beyond, in the person of Dr. Vadim Lukov, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Coordinator for G20 and BRICS Affairs and Zia Qureshi of the World Bank. The second team, led by John Kirton at the University of Toronto, includes his colleagues at Toronto and Dries Lesage from University of Ghent in Europe. This combination has facilitated the task of producing a cumulative, coherent work.
Most of the chapters were initially presented as papers and research reports and discussed at an international research workshop “Partnership for Progress. From the 2010 Muskoka-Toronto Summits to Seoul Summit,” organized by the International Organisations Research Institute (IORI) of the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) with support from Oxfam and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom. The workshop led to a refined analysis and to recommendations on the G8 and G20 future coexistence and their engagement with other multilateral institutions. Initial drafts of the chapters on accountability by John Kirton and Marina Larionova were presented at a conference on global governance at Princeton University. The full set of HSE workshop papers, and initial drafts of many of the chapters in this volume, were published as a special edition of the International Organisations Research Journal, on the theme of “G-x Summitry,” in December 2010. These initial analysis were subsequently extensively developed, updated, and expanded to take full account of the subsequent summits of the G8 and G20 in 2011, 2012, 2013, the work of other international institutions, and new trends in G8-G20 summitry. They were further enriched by collectively held workshops involving most of the authors in Paris, Mexico City, Belfast and Moscow during this time.
As the global community reflects on the contentious outcomes of the G20 successive summits and looks forward to the Australian Presidency to come up with ambitious agendas, both G8 and G20 legitimacy and effectiveness are put to test.
The G20’s claim for responsibility to act as the premier forum for international economic cooperation needs to be confirmed by its capability to show political leadership in steering the world to a new international order, deliver on its pledges, account for decisions made in the summits, as well as engage with a wide range of partners. It is still not obvious that an early success of the G20 summitry as an anti-crisis management mechanism pre-determines its establishment as a global governance steering board. Though the G20 eclipsed the G8, assertions of the G8 demise are premature. There is a lot of qualitative analysis advancing arguments in support of sometimes contradictory perspectives of the G8/G20 summitry future.
This chapter attempts to put both institutions within the same assessment paradigm on the basis of a functional approach. This approach allows compare the G8 and G20 across at least three groups of indicators: performance of global governance functions, accountability and compliance performance; contribution towards global governance agenda; and engagement with other international institutions. Thus, the study contributes to building a quantifiable evidence base for an assessment of the G20 and G8 effectiveness and to informing the forecast of their future roles.
On the main global governance functions of deliberation, direction-setting, decisionmaking, delivery and global governance development performance the research looks at the balance and dynamics of these functions in the G20 and G8 documents (the documents include the summits’ declarations, ministerials’ statements, progress reports, experts’ and working groups’ documents).19 Contribution to global governance agenda was assessed on the basis of comparative weights of the key global governance issues in the G8 and G20 documents, dynamics of the agendas and the institutions’ responsiveness to new challenges. Finally, the G8 and G20 comparative contribution to effective multilateralism was assessed on the basis of the intensity and modes of their engagement with other multilateral institutions on key priorities and values. The timeframe of analysis covers the G8/G20 coexistence period from 2008 to 2013.
G20-B20 Dialogue should be instrumental in enhancing G20 efficiency by both responding to the business interests and concerns and engaging private sector in generating growth and jobs. B20 (G20 Business Summit) was first initiated by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) on the eve of the Toronto summit in June 2010. To date five B20 meetings, including the one in Toronto, have been organized each putting forward recommendations for G20 leaders: in Seoul in November 2010, in Cannes in November 2011, in Los Cabos in June 2012 and in St Petersburg in 2013.
Investment made into the dialogue by both business and governments warrants an independent unbiased and rigorous analysis of what has been achieved and what lessons should be learnt. This chapter reviews progress of G20-B20 engagement to identify achievement and challenges.
Global governance challenges generate a demand for global governance from multilateral international institutions that cannot be met by the available supply. The national priorities of the international institutions’ member-states also shape the demand for collective action. The institutions’ capacity for forging consensus and making collective decisions can be transformed into “global governance supply.” The country chairing an institution should align both types of demand (global risks and members priorities) with the capacity of the institution its national priorities, interests and capabilities. The chair should also be guided by a comparative assessment of international institutions’ effectiveness for dealing with specific global problems.
For Russia, chairing the G20 in 2013, the G8 in 2014 and the BRICS in 2015, in a sequence of three presidencies presents a unique opportunity to influence global processes balancing external conditions and national priorities. The sequence of three presidencies provides an opportunity to elaborate an innovative agenda for the three institutions on the basis of comparative analysis of a forecasted global challenges and the G20, G8, BRICS capabilities to respond.
This chapter takes up that task. It offers a forward-looking, demand-responsive approach to PSI agenda setting and action taking, rather than the prevailing approach to focus on core subjects, see what is undelivered, and shrink or sink the rest. It argues that each institution’s work should address the risks and challenges most relevant to their missions and capabilities. The G20 agenda should be focused on managing economic risks. The G8 should prioritize geopolitical and technological risks. The BRICS innovative long-term agenda should address societal risks. Such approach will serve as a solid foundation for the division of labour maximizing the three institutions’ contribution to overcoming global governance failures. However, such systemic risks as severe income disparity, unforeseen negative consequences of regulation, the prolonged neglect of infrastructure, extreme volatility in energy and agriculture prices demand cooperation and coordination among the G8, G20 and BRICS. A proper balance between cooperation and the division of labour will enhance the institutions’ capabilities of managing global risks.
Global governance is the reality of contemporary world; the G8 and G20 are indispensable institutions of the contemporary global governance; global governance institutions should be answerable for their actions (or inactions) (Scholte 2011). Hence accountability processes should be inherent to global governance and can contribute to better governance.
In the global governance system the G8 and G20 stand out as powerful informal institutions, and much of the critique on their accountability deficit derives from the fact of their establishment and actions without a formal act of authorization. Another reason for the claim of the G8/G20 accountability gap is that the three components of accountability: standards for accountability, sanctions, information do not work properly (Grant and Keohane 2005). The G8 standards of accountability behaviour have got a longer and better track record than those of the G20, however, non availability of sanctions mechanism and lack of information/transparency, make demands for improving accountability fully valid. The G8/G20 summitry is a case of transnational accountability with two main sources for accountability: reputational and peer pressure. The G8 third source for accountability is shared norms and democratic values.
Nevertheless, both the G8 and G20 submit their performance to accountability mechanisms, though we can not speak of “an authorized or institutionalized accountability relationship when the requirement to report and the right to sanction, are mutually understood and accepted” (Keohane 2002). The leaders mandate their internal structures: ministers, experts groups, working groups to report of the progress made on decisions. The G20 leaders also request relevant international organizations to monitor and report publicly on G20 compliance with to their pledges. There are also examples of actors (NGOs, academic institutions, IOs) seeking to hold G8/G20 accountable on the normative justifications of the impact of their decisions on the societies and economies of their member states and global society, as well as international organizations. The claim is valid if we accept that “accountability is a condition and process whereby an actor answers for its conduct to those whom it affects” (Scholte 2011).
These considerations have underwritten the review of a flow of “accountability” reports made public in the G8/G20 process since 2008. By October 2013 their total number reached 206 for both institutions. The number of reports is growing rapidly, especially pertaining to the G20, thus 53 accountability reports were released from July 2012 to October 2013. The two main types of reports are those authorized by the G8/G20, or those self initiated by the actors seeking to hold them accountable. The authors have been broadly classified as G8/G20 structures, international institutions, academic institutions and NGOs. This chapter examines how these reports addressed the four accountability aspects of transparency, consultation, evaluation and correction (Scholte 2011). Several features of the reports were singled out as proxies for the respective qualities. Provision of the evidence base and data presented for each of the members rather than in an aggregated format enhance transparency, and hence served as a proxy for transparency. Recommendations provided by the author promote consultation, and thus were considered as a proxy for consultation. Scorings or ratings give clear signals of the evaluation results, and were regarded as proxies for evaluation quality. Each report was assessed against the set of these three functions with one score for transparency, one score for evaluation, and one score for consultation. As the correction is the prerogative of the affecting actors, reports were not assessed on this merit. Not all of the reports were formally positioned as accountability ones, but they were still included into the analysis, if they contained elements of accountability.
The twenty-first century has brought a proliferation of pressing global problems that break out far more suddenly and surprisingly, spread more swiftly and extensively, and interact in more complex and uncertain ways than ever before. On the eve of the century there was a financial crisis in Asia that began in 1997 and consumed countries in the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East over the following years. The terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, began a new era of global mega-terrorism, which quickly spread to many other countries and led to a war in Afghanistan that endured for over a decade. The collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers in New York on September 15, 2008, catalysed an American-turned-global financial crisis that immediately created the world’s worst recession since the one in the 1930s that had brought such great destruction in its wake. This new recession was followed by a European financial crisis that erupted in 2010.These new crises and their accompanying challenges have demanded and received a forceful, innovative, global governance response. The established Group of Seven (G7) major market democracies added Russia as a full member in 1998 to become the Group of Eight (G8) and reached out to embrace as participants the leading African countries in 2001, the emerging powers of China, Brazil, India, Mexico, and South Africa by 2005, and then Korea and Indonesia to address climate change by 2008. In November 2008, the Group of 20 (G20) systemically significant countries, formed in 1999 at the level of finance ministers and central bank governors, leapt to the leaders’ level to become a vibrant summit club. And in 2008 another plurilateral summit institution (PSI), assembling the big emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and, later, South Africa (BRICS), arrived on the scene