G20-2011 Cannes Summit 3-4 November 2011

The forthcoming G20 Cannes Summit to be held in Cannes on 3-4 November 2011 will be the sixth meeting of the G-20 heads of government in a series of on-going discussions about financial markets and the world economy.

The summit includes leaders and representatives of the core members of the G-20 major economies which comprise 19 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States) and the European Union which is represented by the European Council and the European Commission.

Invited states include: Ethiopia, Singapore, Spain, United Arab Emirates and Equatorial Guinea.

International organisations include: African Union, Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, Secretariat General of the French Presidency of the G20 and G8, European Central Bank, Financial Stability Board, Global Governance Group, International Labour Organisation, International Monterary Fund, NEPAD, OECD, United Nations, World Bank Group and the WTO.

Priorities of the French presidency:

  • Coordination odf economic policies and reducing global macroeconomic imbalances
  • Strengthening financial regulations
  • Reforming the international monetary system
  • Combating commodity price volatility
  • Improving global governance
  • Working on behalf of development

If the G20 seeks to be a kind of global economic government, it will soon discover its limitations. Its legitimacy derives solely from its economic power, which is no basis for efficiently regulating global affairs – certainly no more efficiently than the 193 members of the United Nations.

The G20 is ultimately a self-appointed global authority. If it wants to be accepted and have real credibility and legitimacy, it needs to consider global public goods and the future of all humankind. But even then there are question marks over how much policymaking should be done outside the United Nations.

Globalisation can only be a success if state sovereignty is defined not only by rights but also by responsibilities. Effective global coordination does not automatically mean global government, and global institutions do not necessarily impair national sovereignty. They can actually strengthen it by helping governments to secure global public goods. The G20 needs to prove that it can and is willing to do that. Whether it measures up to the task remains to be seen.  

Add new comment