As G20 leaders prepare to meet in Seoul, South Korea, a new report reveals what they’ve accomplished since their last meeting in Toronto in June. It says G20 members have a 64 percent compliance rate on 10 priority commitments. That’s just slightly better than the Pittsburg summit in 2009, where the compliance rate was 62 percent.
The G20 Research Group released the Toronto Summit Final Compliance Report Wednesday. The group is based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University Of Toronto.
Co-Director Alex Alexandroff, who’s in Seoul, reacts to the 64 percent compliance rate, saying, “It’s certainly as an average not as high obviously as we’ve seen in other settings, particularly looking at the traditional, the original, G7/G8 group. They would have scores significantly higher.”
He says the gap may be due to many G20 countries simply being new to the commitment and follow-up process.
“We have a lot of new countries involved here…. It’s a work in progress,” he says, adding, “There’s a significant split between G8 countries, former G8 countries, who have for quite some time now been meeting and did meet on an annual basis going back decades, and the new G20 group, particularly those who are not G7/G8 members. At the moment, their compliance records tend to be significantly poorer.”
The G20 meetings have been held on a much more frequent basis than the traditional G8 meetings.
“It is a little compressed here because in the transitional G8 kind of framing it was an annual summit. This is a little bit compressed because we had a summit in June and now a summit just coming up starting tomorrow night in Seoul,” he says.
Does the compliance rate send a message? Alexandroff says, “It just underscores the need for the G20 to really focus. And if you look at the statements from certainly the Toronto summit, if you look at statements from the current Seoul summit…they do say we’ve got to make sure we meet the commitments that we’ve made previously. That’s a high priority.”
He says it’s important for the citizens of all the G20 countries to see that commitments are being made and kept. Canada, the host of the Toronto summit, had the highest compliance rate – 89 percent.
“It’s frequently the case that the host, I suspect, feels a little bit of pressure to make sure that not only have they worked very hard to create those commitments of the G20 group, the leadership, but also that they show compliance,” he says.
India had the lowest compliance rate for the Toronto summit, with 40 percent.
The G20 meetings are expected to be held less often than in the past. There have been five G20 meetings since 2008, including one on the economic crisis. France is scheduled to hold the next G20 summit in November 2011.