G-20 Communique: Fine Words, Now for Action

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,,, at 9/26/2009 12:18:00 PM
I have gradually been warming to these G-20 summits given that the process has become more inclusive of LDCs in rhetoric. However, it remains to be seen if there is indeed a substantive change in the way global governance is handled in these meetings' aftermath as per talk of a new world order and so on and so forth.

You can read the massive communique from the Pittsburgh G-20 site. Given the varying interests of the parties involved, it's unsurprising that it's something of a laundry list of wishes. These wishes, of course, need coordination in order to be fulfilled. Some passages that have struck me follow:

First, the much-ballyhooed redistribution of shares in the IMF amounts to shuffling "at least 5%" around. The FT's Alan Beattie has a good backgrounder on the issues at stake here. Meanwhile, here is the relevant portion:
20. We are committed to a shift in International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota share to dynamic emerging markets and developing countries of at least 5% from over-represented countries to under-represented countries using the current quota formula as the basis to work from. Today we have delivered on our promise to contribute over $500 billion to a renewed and expanded IMF New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB).
There is also mention of the IMF's sister institution, the World Bank. However, there are no numerical commitments given here:
21. We stressed the importance of adopting a dynamic formula at the World Bank which primarily reflects countries’ evolving economic weight and the World Bank’s development mission, and that generates an increase of at least 3% of voting power for developing and transition countries, to the benefit of under-represented countries. While recognizing that over-represented countries will make a contribution, it will be important to protect the voting power of the smallest poor countries. We called on the World Bank to play a leading role in responding to problems whose nature requires globally coordinated action, such as climate change and food security, and agreed that the World Bank and the regional development banks should have sufficient resources to address these challenges and fulfill their mandates.
There are also statements about environmental matters in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate change discussions, although the latter event is evidently seen as more of the ideal venue:
32. As leaders of the world’s major economies, we are working for a resilient, sustainable, and green recovery. We underscore anew our resolve to take strong action to address the threat of dangerous climate change. We reaffirm the objective, provisions, and principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including common but differentiated responsibilities. We note the principles endorsed by Leaders at the Major Economies Forum in L’Aquila, Italy. We will intensify our efforts, in cooperation with other parties, to reach agreement in Copenhagen through the UNFCCC negotiation. An agreement must include mitigation, adaptation, technology, and financing.
Also reiterated was the call for "fighting protectionism" without reference to recent blow-ups between the US and China as well as other trade partners. Doha? Done by 2010, they say. I particularly look forward to WTO discussion of the services agenda--temporary migration, especially:
49. We remain committed to further trade liberalization. We are determined to seek an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Round in 2010, consistent with its mandate, based on the progress already made, including with regard to modalities. We understand the need for countries to directly engage with each other, within the WTO bearing in mind the centrality of the multilateral process, in order to evaluate and close the remaining gaps. We note that in order to conclude the negotiations in 2010, closing those gaps should proceed as quickly as possible. We ask our ministers to take stock of the situation no later than early 2010, taking into account the results of the work program agreed to in Geneva following the Delhi Ministerial, and seek progress on Agriculture, Non-Agricultural Market Access, as well as Services, Rules, Trade Facilitation and all other remaining issues. We will remain engaged and review the progress of the negotiations at our next meeting.
And here's something bound to please the French and others who rail against undeserved bonuses:
Reforming compensation practices to support financial stability: Excessive compensation in the financial sector has both reflected and encouraged excessive risk taking. Reforming compensation policies and practices is an essential part of our effort to increase financial stability. We fully endorse the implementation standards of the FSB aimed at aligning compensation with long-term value creation, not excessive risk-taking, including by (i) avoiding multi-year guaranteed bonuses; (ii) requiring a significant portion of variable compensation to be deferred, tied to performance and subject to appropriate clawback and to be vested in the form of stock or stock-like instruments, as long as these create incentives aligned with long-term value creation and the time horizon of risk; (iii) ensuring that compensation for senior executives and other employees having a material impact on the firm’s risk exposure align with performance and risk; (iv) making firms’ compensation policies and structures transparent through disclosure requirements; (v) limiting variable compensation as a percentage of total net revenues when it is inconsistent with the maintenance of a sound capital base; and (vi) ensuring that compensation committees overseeing compensation policies are able to act independently.
And don't forget those tax havens which will be patrolled more heavily and sanctioned accordingly if caught bending the rules too far:
15. Our commitment to fight non-cooperative jurisdictions (NCJs) has produced impressive results. We are committed to maintain the momentum in dealing with tax havens, money laundering, proceeds of corruption, terrorist financing, and prudential standards. We welcome the expansion of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information, including the participation of developing countries, and welcome the agreement to deliver an effective program of peer review. The main focus of the Forum’s work will be to improve tax transparency and exchange of information so that countries can fully enforce their tax laws to protect their tax base. We stand ready to use countermeasures against tax havens from March 2010. We welcome the progress made by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing and call upon the FATF to issue a public list of high risk jurisdictions by February 2010. We call on the FSB to report progress to address NCJs with regards to international cooperation and information exchange in November 2009 and to initiate a peer review process by February 2010.
There's still a lot that I've omitted here. Overall, though, I am rather surprised with how extensive the conversation has become. These cross-cutting issues are vast and a real change in the world order will require shifts in global governance mechanisms towards LDCs taking on a more active role. Certainly, there are some changes now under substantive discussion that they've asked for inclusion here. Now it's their turn to make the best of it by grasping these opportunities lest they remain buried in soon-forgotten communiques.