Revitalizing the G20World leaders will gather in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 5-6 for the eighth annual G20 summit. The summit will proceed according to the agenda and themes coordinated during the so-called sherpas meetings and agreements made in the G20 finance ministers and central governors’ meeting. As in the past, leaders will discuss issues related to the global economy, finance, trade and development. It will be South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s debute on a global summit stage. As the president of a country that hosted and chaired the 2010 G20 summit, Park can make a meaningful contribution to the event and to the global economy. She might even be able to help bolster the waning status of the group and restore its pivotal role in global economic cooperation.
The group of 20 economies replaced the G7 as a venue for effectively coping with the global financial crisis triggered by the Lehman Brothers meltdown in September 2008. It included key emerging conomies in global economic discussions. Leaders from the United States, Britain and France arranged the first summit in Washington in November 2008. Amid the need for concerted efforts to rein in the global financial meltdown, restore the global economy and restructure international financial governance mechanisms, leaders met again in London the following year. They reached a consensus on detailed action plans to improveregulatory problems and enhance financial safety nets to prevent and cope betterwith future dangers and risks. Satisfied with the results, the G20 leaders met again in Pittsburgh in the same year and agreed to regularize the summit and make it a premier forum for international economic cooperation.
The world economy, which is even more interconnected and integrated, requires deeper and closer policy coordination and cooperation among major economies. And yet, international cooperation becomes harder under the multilayered economic landscape and non-polar world order. That is why the G20 leaders agreed that a larger framework would be more effective than the exclusive G7 in staging egotiations and inducing cooperation. It has been a big development in the global economic governance framework.
The G20 framework has been losing global influence since the Seoul meeting in 2010. There have been several complicated factors. First of all, the collective leadership structure had innate weaknesses and limitations. The sense of urgency that brought together the world leaders into a common campaign to stabilize the global economy after the financial meltdown was watered down once the immediate dangers passed.