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Thursday 24 Aug 2017 | 16:41 | SYDNEY
Thursday 24 Aug 2017 | 16:41 | SYDNEY

Think-20, the thinking person's G20

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COMMENTS

13 March 2012 12:15

As I've argued before here on The Interpreter, getting global economic governance to work in the G20 era is no easy task. So, could think tanks make a contribution?

Well, the Mexican Government believes they can. Think-20 is an initiative of the Mexican G-20 presidency, organised in collaboration with COMEXI, the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations, and at the end of February I attended the inaugural meeting in Mexico City. This  brought together representatives from a selection of think tanks (see graphic below) to discuss Mexico's plans for its presidency of the G-20 this year, in the run-up to the leaders' meeting scheduled for Los Cabos in June.

This was the first time think tanks have been invited to take part directly in the discussion of a G-20 presidency, so it marked a significant recognition of the potential contribution that think tanks can make to global governance. The agenda covered economic stabilisation and reform, the future of the international financial architecture, food security and green growth, and the effectiveness and productivity of G-20 summits. Despite a healthy diversity of opinion, the group agreed on a range of suggestions.

It will come as no surprise that, in a gathering of think tankers, the area of greatest consensus was on the role of think tanks themselves. Participants highlighted several ways in which a network of G-20 (and non-G-20) think tanks could make an ongoing contribution. Three of the most important were:

  • By serving as an ideas bank, and providing new ideas and policies for G20 governments.
  • By providing a potential source of accountability, though monitoring how well G20 governments delivered on their commitments.
  • By working to deliver buy-in to the G20 process, through helping to explain the importance of the G20 and of (at least some of) the policies it is trying to promote.

The main day of meetings was held under the Chatham House role, but here's a recording of the press conference in which four of the participants (including this somewhat jet-lagged Australian) had a go at summarising the discussion. 

(Source for image)

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