Op-Ed Contributors

Consensus key to G20

By Ding Yifan (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-25 07:50
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China should push fellow BRIC members to speak on behalf of other developing countries at the Toronto summit

There are quite a few reasons why the world expects to hear some encouraging news from the G20 summit to be held in Toronto on Saturday.

The global economy is not completely out of the woods yet even though some signs of recovery are being seen.

During last year's Pittsburgh Summit held in the US, leaders of G20 member nations unanimously agreed on a joint policy framework to promote robust, sustainable and balanced global economic growth.

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Despite high expectations, whether substantial steps will be taken during the current summit to effectively implementing this consensus remains unclear.

Given the fact that G20 members form 90 percent of the global economic aggregate, 80 percent of its trade volume and two-thirds of its population, consultations among the bloc's leaders about key global economic matters, including the international monetary and financial system, will undoubtedly influence the whole world.

Yet, despite its increasing influence, G20 members still have a long, somewhat tortuous, way to go before final consensus is achieved and then codified into binding rules.

The G20 comprises not only major developed and financial powers but also developing and significant manufacturing hubs.

This melting pot means the bloc will likely face an uphill task in coordinating varying or even conflicting stances and viewpoints among member states on a range of issues.

In fact, ironing out differences among its members due to the wide interests at play has always been a tough task at previous G20 summit meetings.

At the Pittsburgh Summit, the G20 reached consensus on many key issues.

These included setting up a robust, sustainable and balanced development framework and putting in place a banking and financial risk monitoring and control system; reforming the organizational structure of global financial institutions and increasing representation for developing countries and giving more voting rights to them in international financial bodies.

They also agreed to take fresh measures to aid in the economic development of the impoverished, gradually stop subsidizing inefficient fossil fuels and take action to maintain an open, greener and more sustainable development model.

However, the Pittsburgh summit failed to achieve concrete results apart from its decisions to increase the share and voting power of developing countries in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and to develop the G20 forum into a regular and annual event to coordinate economic decision-making among members.

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