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G20 Summit in Osaka – The Drought Years of International Cooperation

DIE Blog - vor 7 Stunden 11 Minuten

The G20 has been mired in an ongoing crisis for years. After the G20, newly formed ten years ago at the level of heads of state and government, initially overcame the economic and financial crisis more or less successfully, the question quickly arose as to its role beyond reacting to crisis. Instead of taking on a proactive role as a strategic steering committee for the global economy, driving reforms and ensuring the provision of global public goods (such as climate protection and free trade), the G20 proceeded to jump from one issue to the next. The fact that its presidency changes every year has contributed to this ‘issue hopping’.

In the meantime, the G20 is becoming paralysed by a creeping political crisis, fuelled mainly by the disinterest of the U.S. in multilateral cooperation. It is precisely such multilateral cooperation that is needed in order to solve the ever-increasing global problems that know no borders – from climate change and tax evasion to protectionism. Worse still is how the U.S. puts its own national interests first and, in doing so, encourages others to follow suit. It is making successful cooperation between the twenty most important economic nations of the planet increasingly difficult. And this is the fundamental challenge that the G20 must face during the next summit in the economic metropolis of Osaka, Japan, on 28 and 29 June 2019. How can multilateral cooperation be maintained under these circumstances?

Cooperation Breakdowns Could Have Been Avoided

The last two G20 summits, 2017 in Hamburg and 2018 in Buenos Aires, were surprisingly uneventful. This can be attributed to several factors, such as the diplomatic skill of the German federal government, while the ambitions were also scaled back, as was the case during the Argentinean G20 presidency.

The upstream G7 summits also played a role by heading off the force of U.S. criticism and drawing up important lines of compromise. The G7 summit in Taormina, Italy, in May 2017 may have been marked by confrontational discussions, but it did manage to carve out resolutions, particularly in the areas of trade and climate policy, which were also confirmed in the larger circle of the G20. On the other hand, last year’s G7 summit in La Malbaie in Canada showed how unpredictable the U.S. position has become. The summit resolutions were overshadowed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s rejection of the G7 communique, which he tweeted from Air Force One on his way to the next summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

What remains of the last two years of summit diplomacy is a retreat to the lowest common denominator – such as within the context of trade protectionism – and a search for coalitions of the willing that exclude the U.S. An example of this is the ambitious climate plan that was drawn up at the summit in Hamburg, but was not supported by the U.S.

G20 Minus X Is not the Solution

For some, the last option appears to be a suitable reaction to the unwillingness of the U.S. to cooperate. If the U.S. refuses to provide its support in critical policy areas such as climate policy, then the rest of the G20 states must forge ahead alone. This two-speed policy is also applied at times in the European Union (EU) (in monetary policy, for example) or in world trade organisations (such as with plurilateral agreements). But it is also criticised in these much more formal organisations.

Given the fact that the G20, unlike the EU or the World Trade Organization (WTO), has neither an official mandate, nor procedural rules, nor a secretariat, and as such works on a very informal and ad hoc basis, the broad application of the G20 minus X approach would only further promote the erosion of willingness to cooperate. It could lead to other countries choosing the opt-out solution, and as a result there would no longer be any need to reach an agreement within the G20. It is also important to note that the G20 depends on the support of international organisations in the implementation of its decisions. For example, it is highly doubtful whether the World Bank, whose president is traditionally an American, would implement a G19 resolution without the U.S.

Japan’s Ambitious Pragmatism

Until now, the Japanese G20 presidency has chosen a very pragmatic approach, but is putting forth some rather ambitious topics. In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cited issues such as the regulating of global data flows, fighting climate change and reforming the WTO as priorities for the G20 summit. During the preparatory meetings for the Osaka summit, which include a multitude of work groups and minister meetings, Japanese chairs often choose a non-confrontational approach in an attempt to take the interests of the U.S. into consideration. This may not come as a surprise, since the Japanese export industry is also in constant threat of landing in the crosshairs of Trump’s trade protectionism. Playing to the national audience may also be part of it, as demonstrated by all the efforts that went into President Trump’s state visit to the newly enthroned emperor at the end of May.

It is questionable whether, under these conditions, ambitious summit resolutions can be expected that can stand up to the growing global challenges. What’s more, the waters will certainly not be getting any calmer for the G20 in the coming years. Saudi Arabia, largely isolated from the rest of the world, will lead the G20 next year, while the U.S. will have the G7 presidency. After that, the G20 presidency in 2021 will go to Italy, currently a country under a populist government averse to cooperation. It will then be India’s turn in 2022, a country with diplomatic influence but that has also taken a more nationalist turn in the past several years.

Stabilising International Cooperation from Below

Given this background, societal actors such as non-governmental organisations, companies and thin tanks are gaining significance. In the context of the G20 these groups are called „Engagement Groups“. For example, business associations are organised in Business20, non-governmental organisations in Civil20, and research institutes and think tanks in Think20. These groups follow different interests and approaches. While the B20 is particularly concerned with positions from economic and entrepreneurial perspectives, the C20 puts emphasis on the decisions of the G20 with a view on their effects on weaker countries and marginalised groups. At the same time, the T20 does not consider itself a representation of interests, but instead wants to contribute to better decision-making in the G20 through evidence-based analyses.

What unites these different groups, however, is the insight that various global problems can only be solved through more, not less, international cooperation. In the past two years, the B20, C20 and T20 appealed jointly to the G20 to do more for climate protection, for example. More of these initiatives ‘from below’ are needed in order to get us through the current drought years of international cooperation.


This article first appeared in Diplomatisches Magazin 6/2019.

Der Beitrag G20 Summit in Osaka – The Drought Years of International Cooperation erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.

UNESCO beschließt vorläufig BNE-Programm ab 2020 | BNE - Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung

Weblinks - 14. Juni 2019 - 10:58


  • Ende 2019 läuft das aktuelle UNESCO-Weltaktionsprogramm Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung aus. Doch es steht bereits fest, dass es weitergehen wird: Der UNESCO-Exekutivrat hat dem Positionspapier für die inhaltliche Ausgestaltung des Nachfolgeprogramms zugestimmt. - Karsten Weitzenegger

Tags: unesco, bildung, entwicklung, BNE, Nachhaltige Entwicklungsziele

by: Karsten Weitzenegger

Mehr Nachhaltigkeit: Die Zeit ist reif

VENRO - 13. Juni 2019 - 14:13

Bewegungen wie Fridays for Future oder die Ergebnisse der Europawahl zeigen, dass das Thema der ökologischen Nachhaltigkeit in der Mitte der Gesellschaft angekommen ist. Dennoch kommt die Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 nur schleppend voran. Eine umfassende Nachhaltigkeitsdebatte in Deutschland ist daher überfällig. Auf einem zivilgesellschaftlichen Gipfel haben wir hierfür erste Akzente gesetzt.

Würde die ganze Welt so leben wie wir in Deutschland, bräuchte es drei Planeten. Denn das deutsche und europäische Wirtschafts- und Gesellschaftsmodell ist nicht nachhaltig – weder ökologisch noch sozial oder wirtschaftlich – und mit globaler Gerechtigkeit nicht vereinbar. Erstmals seit Verabschiedung der Agenda 2030 mit ihren 17 Zielen für nachhaltige Entwicklung findet im September 2019 wieder ein Nachhaltigkeitsgipfel der Vereinten Nationen statt, auf dem Bilanz gezogen wird. Bereits heute ist klar, dass die Weltgemeinschaft ihre Ziele weitestgehend verfehlen wird. Der UN-Gipfel muss daher für einen klaren Appell genutzt werden: Wir brauchen endlich mehr Bewegung in der Umsetzung der Globalen Nachhaltigkeitsziele.

Obwohl Union und SPD die Agenda 2030 im Koalitionsvertrag als Maßstab ihres Regierungshandelns bezeichnen, kommt die Umsetzung in Deutschland nur schleppend voran. Vor diesem Hintergrund fordern mehr als 130 zivilgesellschaftliche Organisationen in der gemeinsamen Erklärung Genug herausgeredet die Bundesregierung auf, die Agenda 2030 konsequent umzusetzen und ihre Politik endlich an den nachhaltigen Entwicklungszielen der Vereinten Nationen auszurichten. Die in der Erklärung dargelegten Forderungen wurden am 3. Juni 2019 mit Vertreterinnen und Vertretern der Bundesregierung auf der Konferenz Nicht auf der Höhe – Deutschland vor dem Nachhaltigkeitsgipfel der Vereinten Nationen diskutiert, die vom Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung, VENRO und weiteren Nichtregierungsorganisationen organisiert wurde.

„Wir sind entschlossen, die kühnen und transformativen Schritte zu unternehmen, die dringend notwendig sind, um die Welt auf den Pfad der Nachhaltigkeit und der Widerstandsfähigkeit zu bringen […] und niemanden zurückzulassen“, zitierte Dr. Luise Steinwachs, stellvertretende Vorstandsvorsitzende von VENRO, die Präambel der Agenda 2030 in ihrer Einführungsrede. Die parlamentarischen Staatssekretärinnen Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter (Bundesumweltministerium) und Dr. Maria Flachsbarth (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung) bekräftigten auf der Konferenz den Willen, sich verstärkt für die Umsetzung der Deutschen Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie in, mit und durch Deutschland einzusetzen und dabei mit der Zivilgesellschaft zusammenzuarbeiten.

Es bedarf Taten statt Worte

Um gezielte Akzente für eine umfassende Nachhaltigkeitsdebatte in Deutschland zu setzen, bestand die Konferenz aus verschiedenen Dialogformaten, die eine Plattform für Austausch und Strategieentwicklung bieten sollten. Im Rahmen eines World Café-Gesprächs diskutierten Ressortkoordinator_innen aus sechs Bundesministerien die Politikansätze ihrer Häuser mit Vertretern aus der Zivilgesellschaft. Im Abschlusspanel tauschten sich Vertreter_innen von Fridays for Future, dem BUND, Oxfam und der Deutschen Umwelthilfe über mögliche Lösungsansätze zur Erreichung der Nachhaltigkeitsziele aus.

Einmal mehr wurde dabei deutlich, dass die Zeit reif ist. Immer öfter fordern junge Menschen, zivilgesellschaftliche Organisationen und Bürgerinnen und Bürgern von der Bundesregierung die Einhaltung der Nachhaltigkeitsziele ein. Es bedarf daher Taten statt Worte: Die Bundesregierung muss die internationale Verantwortung Deutschlands für Nachhaltigkeit und Gerechtigkeit endlich zu einem wichtigen Kriterium ihrer politischen Entscheidungen machen.

Denn die große transformative Wirkung, die von der Agenda 2030 ausgehen sollte, lässt bisher weiter auf sich warten. Ihre Umsetzung stellt die internationale Staatengemeinschaft vor Herausforderungen, die nur gemeinsam mit Akteuren aus Wirtschaft, Gesellschaft, Wissenschaft und Zivilgesellschaft bewältigt werden können. Wir brauchen deshalb multilaterale Lösungen und eine globale Partnerschaft, wir brauchen eine große Willenskraft der Mitgliedsstaaten und wir brauchen die Bereitschaft jedes Einzelnen, um die Kernanliegen der Agenda, Menschen, Planeten, Wohlstand, Frieden und Partnerschaft, als Leitprinzipen der Nachhaltigkeitsziele umzusetzen.

Unsere zivilgesellschaftliche Erklärung können Sie hier abrufen: Genug herausgeredet: Höhenangst vor dem UN-Gipfel überwinden!

Neues Handbuch „Managing Outcomes“ der AGEH | ZFD Ziviler Friedensdienst

Weblinks - 12. Juni 2019 - 12:42


  • Das Handbuch „Managing Outcomes“ der AGEH gibt insbesondere ZFD-Partnerorganisationen und ZFD-Fachkräften einen Leitfaden für Projektplanung, -monitoring und -evaluation (PME) an die Hand. „Ziel des Buches ist es, anhand der vorgestellten Methode Projekte im ZFD-Kontext erfolgreicher umzusetzen und damit langfristig die Arbeit der Partnerorganisationen nachhaltiger zu gestalten“, so Christian Kuijstermans, Berater für wirkungsorientiertes PME bei der AGEH und Autor des Buches. Neben der fundierten Einführung in den „Managing Outcomes“-Ansatz mit Hilfe grafischer Elemente enthält das Buch eine Vielzahl an Arbeitsblättern zur konkreten Umsetzung. Beispiele aus Projekten der ZFD-Partnerorganisationen der AGEH veranschaulichen die praktische Arbeit mit dem „Managing Outcomes“-Ansatz. Lokale PME-Fachkräfte, die in ZFD-Programmen weltweit arbeiten, haben ihre Erfahrungen aus vielen Jahren praktischer Arbeit mit der Methode ebenfalls einfließen lassen. - Karsten Weitzenegger

Tags: outcomes, friedensdienst, Freiwilligendienst, evaluierung, Wirkungsorientierung, wirkung, wirkungsmessung, partnerschaften, handbuch, manual

by: Karsten Weitzenegger

Warum eine Berufsausbildung für den Personentransport in Nairobi wichtig ist und junge Frauen Arbeitsplatzangebote brauchen | E+Z

Weblinks - 9. Juni 2019 - 23:43


  • In Nairobi betreiben private Transportunternehmen die Buslinien. Eines von ihnen ist Citi Hoppa. Geschäftsführerin Judy Thuo setzt auf Qualität in der Kundenbetreuung. Sie erklärt, warum betriebliche Ausbildung im öffentlichen Nahverkehr nötig ist und warum besonders Frauen Erwerbschancen brauchen. - Karsten Weitzenegger

Tags: frauen, entwicklung, berufsbildung, Kenia

by: Karsten Weitzenegger

A looming debt crisis in developing countries: What role for the G20?

DIE Blog - 5. Juni 2019 - 16:43

The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors are meeting this weekend in Fukuoka, Japan, for their final meeting ahead of the G20 Summit at the end of the month. One issue that should feature high on the agenda is the rise of debt levels in many developing countries.

High debt levels constrain the ability of developing countries to mobilize sufficient financial resources for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Increased debt levels of developing countries have not only been driven by an increase in credits but also by a shift in the debt composition from traditional development aid, often in the form of concessional loans, towards more non-concessional financing mainly from non-traditional donors and private creditors. In Low-Income Countries (LICs) public debt financed with non-concessional credits doubled between 2007 and 2016. A further problem is that creditors often do not publicly reveal the terms of their loans provided.

The G20 assumes a crucial role in addressing the heightened debt vulnerabilities in developing countries. On the one hand, the G20 as a group should promote instruments fostering sustainable finance including the G20 Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Financing. In addition, the G20 should support instruments that facilitate coordination problems in case of debt restructuring such as collective action clauses for sovereign bond contracts. Moreover, the G20 can play an important role in promoting the dialogue on these instruments. On the other hand, the G20 countries, as one of the main lender group to developing countries, have a responsibility for sustainable lending by endorsing measures to improve public debt management in developing countries and by providing more transparency on their credits to developing countries.

Debt vulnerability due to a shift in the pattern of debt

External debt levels have substantially scaled up in developing countries. According to estimates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, about 44 per cent of Low-Income Countries (LICs) are currently at high risk or are in debt distress having problems to service its existing debt.

One main reason behind these high debt levels has been a shift in the pattern of debt from concessional to non-concessional debt (debt at market conditions) foremost provided by private creditors and non-traditional donors including China and India. The IMF estimated that public debt at market conditions in LICs increased to 46 percent as a share of total public debt and therefore doubled between 2007 and 2016. According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), public debt of developing countries owed to private creditors as a share of total debt scaled up from about 40 percent in 2000 to about 60 percent in 2017.

In line with this new debt structure, debt conditions have changed to shorter maturities as well as higher and more variable interest rates that increased debt services and refinancing risks. Since foreign currency for repaying debt is earned through exports the ratio of debt service payments to exports represents an important indicator for the level of debt. According to UNCTAD, debt services in per cent of exports of all developing countries accounted for 8.7 per cent in 2011 and to 15.4 per cent in 2016. Heightened debt service obligations do not only endanger debt sustainability but also drives out other public expenditures needed for achieving the SDGs. However, options for refinancing debt in LICs, unlike rising powers such as China, is limited because their access to international financial markets is constrained and national financial systems are often not developed adequately.

This new pattern of debt and the resulting heterogeneous creditor group is associated with new challenges to coordinate debt restructurings. In addition, there are external risks such as increases in global interest rates that could further endanger debt sustainability and financial stability in developing countries.

What role for the G20?

To capture the evolving debt vulnerabilities of developing countries the G20 takes on an important role in promoting responsible lending to and borrowing of developing countries both as a group and as individual countries. To address increasing debt vulnerabilities of developing countries a set of measures is needed.

At the G20 level, the group should continue working on the Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Financing that they had established under the German presidency in 2017. These Guidelines cover the conduct of lenders and borrowers such as information sharing and transparency, coordination of stakeholders or the promotion of contractual clauses. Since various proposals for similar guidelines have been put forward and partly implemented by the Institute of International Finance (a global association of private financial institutions), the United Nations, the G20 and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) it would be crucial to propose and establish a set of uniform guidelines for responsible lending and borrowing. The G20 can play an important role in promoting dialogue on this instrument.

The new composition of the debt structure creates a new and more heterogeneous creditor group that impedes debt restructuring. For this reason, the use of tools tackling coordination problems are crucial including collective clauses used in sovereign bond contracts. These clauses serve to simplify restructuring sovereign bonds by using for example majority rules during a bond restructuring. The G20 should further promote the extended application of this instrument, as mentioned in the G20 Guidelines.

Responsibilities of the G20 countries

Bilateral donors, acknowledging their responsibilities, should endorse measures to improve public debt management and should contribute to sustainable debt structures of developing countries considering adequate loan maturities, interest rates and ratios of domestic and foreign currency. The G20 countries’ activities in this area need to be better coordinated with the debt management measures established by multilateral institutions including the Debt Management Facility of the World Bank and the IMF as well as UNCTAD’s Debt Management and Financial Analysis System Programme.

G20 countries should also provide greater transparency and more complete data on their credits to developing countries. Information on the financial terms included in credits to developing countries have not fully been made publicly available in the data set published by the IMF, World Bank, the Bank for International Settlements, the OECD and the Paris Club. These data could be compared with those provided by developing countries.

In view of the heightened debt vulnerabilities in developing countries, the G20 need to act now to prevent a renewed debt crisis. Ensuring debt sustainability in these countries represents a shared responsibility of both lenders and borrowers.

Der Beitrag A looming debt crisis in developing countries: What role for the G20? erschien zuerst auf International Development Blog.


SID Frankfurt - 5. Juni 2019 - 15:11

With Prof. Dr. Justin Yifu Lin, Peking University / former Chief Economist of the World Bank

1st Goethe Asia Forum Frankfurt

Moderation: Prof. Dr. Rainer Klump – The event was organized by IZO in collaboration with SAFE and SID Chapter Frankfurt on Monday, 21 January 2019.

To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Interdisciplinary Centre for East Asian Studies (IZO), Prof. Lin examined the economics of China’s new era. With the age of Western global dominance coming to an end, it is China’s time to shine. The potential is certainly there, but to realize it, she will have to confront serious challenges, from domestic supply-side reforms to expanding international responsibilities. In his speech, Prof. Lin critically analyzed China’s dual-track transition from a planned to a market economy, focus on recent reforms and their shortcomings and put China’s trajectory in comparative perspective.

Group picture with Prof. Dr. Justin Yifu Lin, Prof. Rainer Klump. Prof. Dr. Zhiyi Yang and Norbert Noisser. Copyright/Photo: Uwe Dettmar


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