New Scientific Aspects

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The leaders also agreed (but only for advanced member countries) to ‘at least halve deficits by 2013 and stabilize or reduce government debt-to-GDP ratios by 2016’ (G20 2010a). ) In addition to following up on the Pittsburgh ‘Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth’, leaders at the Toronto summit continued calling for financial sector reform resting on four pillars: a strong regulatory framework, effective supervision, resolving and addressing the issue of systemic institutions, and transparent international assessment and peer review (G20 2010a).

The summit’s Declaration, with an annexed Action Plan to Implement Principles for Reform, fully documents these undertakings (G20 2008). 24 The G20 London, 2–3 April 2009 Encouraged by the Washington summit’s initiatives and having built up enough peer support, Gordon Brown, UK prime minister, convened the second G20 summit in London, with the motto ‘Stability, Growth, Jobs’. This summit achieved more substantial results in tackling the continuing economic and financial crisis, urging co-ordinated fiscal stimulus measures by member countries, and agreeing to treble financial resources available to the IMF (to US$750 billion) and to other important steps including new Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocations and trade finance support.

Whatever the reluctance of some of the old G7 or G8 countries, this development was inevitable and necessary for effective global governance. Beyond realpolitik, this shift also has to do with equity, if only by implication. Lastly, political leadership and commitment at the highest level – that of heads of state and government – were needed to make the G20 a reality and the powerful institution that it has become. The G20’s potential has begun to grow, albeit slowly, in areas beyond strictly economic and financial issues.

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