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Volume 1, Issue 1
G20 Bulletin: 24 October 2000.
Montréal, Canada
by Aaron Gairdner

The G20 - an international political forum comprising the finance ministers and central bank governors of the world's leading industrialized countries and emerging markets - is evolving into a strong parallel component of the more insular G7/8 summit process. Long seen as a key centre of global governance, the G7/8 has suffered from criticism that it is unrepresentative of the global community. In contrast, the small but highly representative G20 brings a new sense of legitimacy to the G7/8 centre of global governance for the international financial and economic system.

The G20 consists of 20 "systematically significant" countries from every continent, plus the European Union and representatives from the IMF and World Bank. They account for roughly 85% of the world's GNP, 65% of the population, and 60% of the world's poor. At the first G20 Meeting in Berlin 1999, finance ministers and central bank governors discussed the G20's comparative institutional advantage in building consensus and contributing to the global-transnational policy agenda. Specifically, the Berlin meeting was devoted to a discussion of how to reduce vulnerabilities in foreign exchange rate regimes, liability management, private sector involvement in crisis prevention and resolution, and implementation of standards and codes.

In Montreal, at the G20's second meeting, the finance ministers and central bank governors continue to focus on the promotion of financial stability and also to discuss globalization approaches to ease its negative forces and better harness its positive opportunities for all people. This free-flowing dialogue includes the reform and continuity of the international institutional framework. While it is unlikely that members will forge a strong consensus on how to respond to the challenges and opportunities of globalization, success can be measured by the degree to which members engage the subject and laying the foundations for future meetings. In addition, oil prices are being discussed, despite their absence from the official agenda.

In essence, the G20's small membership and its representative quality are ideally suited to tackle global issues efficiently.

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