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London's Legacy

By Gordon Brown, prime minister, United Kingdom
[Chinese] [French]

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We know from the experience of the London Summit that the world will come together again. Our goal is to ensure that pledges are truly delivered for people everywhere who are worried about their future

Five months ago, as the scale of the global economic crisis presented unprecedented challenges, world leaders came together in London and agreed on a unique response. United in our determination for a coordinated package of macroeconomic and financial measures to ease the worldwide recession, a historic deal was signed by countries representing two thirds of the planet’s population.

We had set an ambitious agenda to restore stability, confidence, growth and jobs – and it was backed by a groundbreaking agreement to provide $1.1 trillion of support to the global economy.

As part of our efforts to overcome the immediate crisis we approved extra financial resources for the International Monetary Fund, for additional lending and for trade finance.

Leaders also committed themselves to reject the protectionism that history has taught in the end protects no one.

Instead, global trade and investment were promoted by extending the pact not to raise new trade barriers until at least the end of 2010.

Financial supervision and regulation were strengthened. We have moved to bring an end to tax havens and taken steps to reform our international financial institutions to prevent a repeat of the economic turmoil we have witnessed.

Leaders provided additional resources for the poorest countries. We committed to a transition to low carbon technologies, helping to build an inclusive, green and sustainable recovery.

So no-one should underestimate those extraordinary achievements reached in London last April.

Already we are beginning to see positive results. Emerging market bond spreads have fallen by almost half since London. It is still early days, but with countries across all continents pushing for recovery, most are forecast to be free of the shackles of recession by the end of this year.

Now is not the time to lose our focus, however. Rather, it is the moment to renew our determination to deliver fully on our commitments, both individually and collectively.

Indeed, the continued problems facing people around the world demand that we accelerate their implementation to secure a global new deal.

Complacency will be the enemy of recovery. People are still losing their jobs, their homes and – in some cases – their hope. We must not fail them.

At Pittsburgh we will have to forge a new partnership of purpose to further support the fragile recovery in the world economy, to manage the adjustment to a new pattern of global economic growth and to create a lasting framework to deliver balanced global growth for the future.

All countries must also demonstrate progress on implementing the commitments they made in London, in particular on strengthening our financial sectors.

I have been consulting widely within the G20 and beyond to develop proposals on modernising our international financial institutions.

They must be better placed to meet the challenges of globalisation, promote sustainable global growth, and prevent and respond to future crises.

The G20 also has a moral duty to mitigate the effects of the economic crisis on the world’s poorest.

We must also address the challenge of climate change. In just three months the world will come together to reach a historic agreement at Copenhagen. Pittsburgh is an opportunity to make important progress.

What are required once again are leadership, vision and courage. We are therefore fortunate to have US president Barack Obama as our host for the G20.

During his short presidency, he has already given renewed hope not only to the people of the United States but to all citizens in all parts of the world.

Tough negotiations lie ahead. It will not be easy. But we know from the experience of the London Summit that the world will come together again.

Our goal is to ensure that pledges are not just agreed on paper but truly delivered for people everywhere worried about their future.

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