Ahead of Summit, A Renewed Push to Include Development in G20 Agenda

An G-20-themed decor at Busan's Gimhae International Airport. International organizations have called on the group to put developmet high on the summit’s agenda. Photo by: Jens-Olaf Walter / CC BY-NC Jens-Olaf WalterCC BY-NC

As the G-20 summit approaches, international leaders and organizations have reiterated their appeals for the group to put development high on its agenda in Seoul.

Among those pushing for the an increased focus on development with the G-20 is the summit’s host, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

“We are determined to create a long-term G-20 agenda to help the poorest nations, reflecting the G-20’s comparative advantage as an economic forum including donors, recipients and high-growth emerging economies,” Lee writes in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post.

He argues that the G-20 should not forget the more than 173 countries that are not represented at the Nov. 11-12 summit.

Lee underscores the importance of supporting economic growth of developing countries, which he describes as the “most effective cure for poverty” based on the experience of Korea and other new G-20 members.

“This is not to underplay the need for aid. But what we need is a change in the philosophy of aid, with a new emphasis on investment for the future, particularly in basic infrastructure, human capital and productive capacity,” he explains.

Lee shares that Korea has worked with the World Bank, the U.N. and other lending institutions and agencies to draft a new development consensus that emphasizes infrastructure, capacity building, trade, investment, food security and improved tax collection.

“This new consensus will be based on a multi-year action plan, recognizing that the right initiatives take time, and on accountability and deadlines,” Lee says. “It will emphasize a partnership with low-income countries, understanding that there is more than one recipe for progress.”

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the major financial issues expected to dominate discussions during the two-day summit are interconnected with development, Xinhua News says.

Oxfam International also made a case for putting development on the G-20’s agenda. It is urging leaders to agree to a new development consensus that will integrate support for education and health in developing countries into measures to boost global economic recovery. Oxfam said G-20 countries should adopt specific measures such as taxes on financial transactions and a commitment by donors to deliver on their pledges.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.