Readers' Guide Comment on “However, it [G20] needs to be embedded explicitly in the formal multilateral system” and “the report proposes a number of steps to anchor the G20 in the multilateral system”
WEF’s redefinition of the international system includes periodically co-locating ad hoc elite, non-state bodies inside formal intergovernmental institutions. In this fashion, WEF ensures that the current ad hoc bodies maintain their ‘independence’ while acting as if they are accountable to the wider international community. Temporarily co-locating the G20 would also act to preempt the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from establishing an Economic Security Council. The G20 countries in ECOSOC are likely to block an ECOSOC consensus on an economic coordinating body on the grounds that a powerful economic coordinating body, the G20, already exists. It is interesting that WEF does not propose having the President of the General Assembly sit regularly at the table at G20 meetings as a representative of the other 172 countries. 1
Readers' Guide Comment on “the report proposes a number of steps.. [to] inculcate a sense of systemic stewardship within [the G20]”
A further element of the redefinition is to change the function of the heads of state who would normally represent their specific G20 countries. GRI recommends that when the G20 heads of state meet, they should see themselves as global managers, not just advocates for their national constituencies.
This argument is similar to one often made in difficult circumstances to national parliamentarians. When they meet at a national or European level, parliamentarians are often called upon to see themselves as national or regional leaders, not just as representatives of their local geographic area. As with the parliamentarians, the G20 heads of state know that they cannot move very far from a national position without risking the loss of domestic political support.
Yet the GRI is correct in recognizing that some form of transnational outlook is necessary in order to manage the globalized economy. But it will take more than a gentle appeal by WEF to change the character of heads of state and government when they are meeting together.
The Readers' Guide welcomes comments with alternative examples or counter examples, supplemental assessments of the extracted GRI text or commentary – critical or otherwise – of the above interpretation of GRI’s perspective.