G20 Endorses Growth-focused Development Strategy, Action Plan

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak addresses the G-20 summit in Seoul, South Korea. G-20 leaders have endorsed a new development strategy that focuses on promoting economic growth. Photo by: UN Photo

Leaders of the world’s top 20 economies have endorsed an economic growth-oriented development strategy as part of an outcome document they adopted at the end of the G-20 summit in Seoul, South Korea.

The Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth commits G-20 member countries to helping developing countries “maximize their growth potential.”

The G-20 leaders also endorsed the Multi-Year Action Plan on Development, which maps the concrete measures needed to ease the bottlenecks to growth in developing countries as outlined in the consensus.

The consensus and action plan were drafted by the South Korean government, along with the World Bank and other multinational agencies.

>> G20 Leaders Expected to Adopt New Development Plan

The consensus identifies identifies nine priority areas where action and reform are deemed to be most needed: infrastructure building, human resources development, private investment and job creation, trade promotion, domestic resources mobilization, financial inclusion, resilient growth and knowledge sharing.

Among the specific actions outlined in the multiyear plan towards addressing key challenges in these areas are developing comprehensive infrastructure action plans, creating international comparable skills indicators, enhancing trade capacity and market access, enhancing coherence and coordination of global food and agriculture policies and supporting the development of more effective tax systems.

The plan sets target dates for all specific actions it outlines. Leaders have also agreed to review its progress and consider adding additional measures at their next summit in France in 2011.

Initial reactions from the developemnt community to this economic growth-driven approach have been largely positive but various aid groups warned that this new focus should not deter the G-20 from keeping its aid promises.

>> Aid Groups Warn Against G20’s Economics-driven Approach to Development

Some groups noted the consensus lacks elements of financial transparency.

“What is missing from the Seoul communiqué are the key elements of global financial transparency: country by country reporting for multinational corporations, automatic tax information exchange, full disclosure of corporate ownership or beneficiaries of offshore trusts and accounts, and a tougher stance on non cooperative jurisdictions,” John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, argued.

ODA, trade and IMF reforms

G-20 leaders pledged to “take concrete actions” to increase their financial and technical support for poor countries and follow through on existing aid commitments.

In addition, the group has reaffirmed its commitment to free trade and pledged to refrain from introducing any form of protectionist trade action.

The group has also adopted measures to reform the International Monetary Fund, including a shift in quota shares of developing countries and under-represented IMF members of more than 6 percent. The outcome document says it will complete work on this measure by its next annual meeting in 2012.

Power shift within the IMF is among the long-standing issues being pushed by several members the international development community. Proponents of the shift, however, appear to be unsatisfied with the G-20’s proposal.

“The much-heralded reform of IMF voting amounts to little more than robbing Peter to pay Paul. In reality, developing countries quota share will only increase by 2.8 per cent. Pakistan, Bolivia and Nigeria are paying for China and Brazil’s gain,” Jasmine Burnlye of Oxfam International said.

About the author

  • 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.