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G20 can have positive impact at critical moment

By David Gosset (China Daily Europe) Updated: 2016-09-04 14:15

If geopolitics can be understood as a succession of situations in which the relations among the actors constantly evolve, it can be argued that the current moment in global affairs is marked by growing uncertainty and disorder.

The underlying causes of this entropy are as profound as powerful - deep demographic shifts, a series of unprecedented technological disruptions, diffusion and shift of power - but they manifest themselves through economic, social, political or international crises.

The G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou especially matters because it coincides with an intensification of crises: a sluggish global economic recovery following the 2008 financial crisis, environmental perturbations threatening the balance between nature and mankind, and the development of regional tensions impacting the interactions and level of trust among the G20 members.

The high expectations for the summit can be explained by the unique context surrounding it but also by the recognition that it can have a positive impact at a critical moment in international relations.

Volatility and entropy should not paralyze intergovernmental mechanisms; on the contrary, they are an urgent call for decisive actions and wise leadership for better global governance. Without appropriate reforms of global institutions and the strengthening of global governance, disorder will only broaden.

It is in this context that the G20 summit offers a unique opportunity for world leaders to enter a course of constructive, responsible and inclusive policies and, by doing so, to advance global governance.

For Hangzhou to be a success, world leaders have to agree on the points of convergence and focus on cooperative actions while at the same time staying away from sterile controversies. One can't hope for a more robust global economic growth which would be beneficial for all without better coordination of monetary, fiscal and structural policies.

In a sense, there is no better place than China today to reassure the world on the capacity to tackle daunting problems and to send a message of confidence for the future of the world economy. In the first half of 2016, supported by an entrepreneurial mindset and an appetite for innovation, China's GDP grew by 6.7 percent; last year, the country contributed approximately 30 percent to global economic growth.

President Xi Jinping's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, the world's largest infrastructure project building upon the success of China's own material transformation, is open to the Eurasian and African countries and, beyond, to all willing to create the conditions for economic expansion.

The Hangzhou meeting comes only nine months after the success of the COP21. Laurent Fabius, the chairman of the Paris conference on climate change and the main architect of its positive outcome, acknowledged on several occasions that without the synergies between US President Barack Obama and Xi, it would have been impossible for the 195 parties to reach such a historic agreement. There is no doubt that as G20 chairman, Xi will ensure that the Paris spirit is kept alive in Hangzhou.

The effectiveness of China's governance - a proven capacity to reform and to act with a long-term strategic horizon - is an invitation for the 11th G20 meeting to take us closer to the new equilibrium of an organized multipolarity.

However, despite the quality of its preparation and organization, a two-day summit cannot realistically solve all the world's problems and bring order to disorder. But it can certainly infuse a spirit. Working "toward an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy", the official theme of the meeting, such a spirit can enrich our collective wisdom and is an encouragement for mankind to envision a common dream of peace and prosperity.

The author is director of the Academia Sinica Europaea at China Europe International Business School, and founder of the Euro-China Forum and the New Silk Road Initiative. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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