As G20 Summit Nears, U.N. Calls for Sustainable Growth For All

New York, N.Y.   Eyes will be fixed on St. Petersburg, Russia on Sep. 5, as finance ministers and central bank governors gather for the upcoming two-day Group of 20 (G20) Summit. The ministers and bankers will discuss international economic and financial policies that will impact every corner of the globe.

In a preview of its agenda, the G20 released a communiqué July 20 that identifies “strengthening growth and creating jobs” as its priority. The document states that the group is “fully committed to taking decisive actions to return to a robust, job rich growth path.” This announcement comes at a time when the global economy shows signs of recovery, but the gains remain “fragile and uneven.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the G20 nations, which together represent 90 percent of global GDP, to show leadership in steering the world economy toward sustainable growth for all nations. “It is truly a time for action to end poverty,” he said in an open letter to the G20.

Informal plenary meeting of the General Assembly on the outcome of the G20.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discusses outcome of 2011 G20 Summit with
General Assembly. U.N. Photo/JC McIlwaine.

On Sept. 3, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported that a moderate recovery is underway in the major advanced economies but growth has slowed in some of the large emerging economies. The assessment adds that the slowdown in emerging economies “points to sluggish near-term growth globally,” as the outlook improves for advanced economies.

OECD Deputy Chief Economist Jorgen Elmeskov warned, “The gradual pick-up in momentum in the advanced economies is encouraging but a sustainable recovery is not yet firmly established.

The secretary-general echoed that concern. He said, “… We need to strengthen our policies to promote growth and jobs.” Mr. Ban urged the G20 states to improve policy coordination “to mitigate the vulnerability of emerging and developing countries to adverse spillover effects.”

As the world inches toward the 2015 deadline of achieving the eight anti-poverty targets of the Millennium Development Goals, the secretary-general admonished the G20 that the economic slowdown is no excuse to reduce their financial commitments.

Mr. Elmeskov advised: “Continued support for demand is still needed to make sure recovery takes hold, and it remains vital that this be complemented by structural reforms to boost growth, rebalance the global economy and avoid a ratcheting-up of structural unemployment.”

The G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union.

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Nigel Roberts
Nigel Roberts is the Communications Committee Chair of the J. Luce Foundation. He's also a communications consultant and freelance writer. His clients have included (now retired) U.S. Congressman Ed Towns.

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