G20 - Pittsburg Summit 2009
Now it is happening, all eyes are on Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the host of the two-day long, tens of millions of dollars staging costs ,G-20 Summit; With President Obama chairing the event and welcoming the guests, nothing less is expected than a mega media fiasco. Leaders and important personal will come a-knocking from countries all around the world that constitute together eighty five percent of the world’s economy. At the summit, all aspects of the progress made since the Washington and London Summits will be reviewed and the leaders will discuss more actions regarding sustaining the ongoing recovery from the global economic and financial crisis. This article looks at what should we expect.
The central debate is going to revolve around reforming the way the world economy is governed and the obvious follow-up question: who should run the global economy. Furthermore, another main issue to be discussed by the G-20 members is placing limits on bankers’ bonuses worldwide. But what is the G-20 actually? The G-20, The Group of Twenty, to give it its full title, was formally set up in 1999 as a result of the Asian financial crisis, in order to bring together major finance ministers and bankers from industrialized and developing economies to discuss the hot issues in the world economy. Among the desirable members you can find: Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Saudi Arabia ,Russia, the United Kingdom, the USA as well as the European Union itself and more, and they are usually joined by representatives from widely renowned institutions such as the World Bank, World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund.
Last year, the frightening ongoing recession pushed G-20 officials to hold the first summit that had primary heads of state as guests in the Washington summit, when the leaders agreed on an action plan that included issues such as promoting integrity in the markets, strengthening worldwide cooperation, reforming international economic institutions and more. The theme in the April 2009 summit in London was similar: dealing with the crisis. In London the leaders continued to work on the previously made resolutions and agreed upon six pledges centering on restoring confidence, repairing the financial system, restoring financial regulation, preventing future crises by building up international institutions, promoting global trade and building a stable, green recovery. Altogether, the counterparts pledged they would spend an astronomical five trillion dollars on efforts to salvage their economies and another trillion dollars to help out struggling nations. In London the leaders also requested another convention to be held before the end of the year; Obama enthusiastically agreed to entertain and chose Pittsburgh for the setting.
Thus, why Pittsburgh? Officials like to say the city of bridges was chosen because of the remarkable transformation it made from a grimy old steel industry to high-tech innovation including green and clean development over the years, a positive change that Obama surely wants to showcase. “Pittsburgh stands as a bold example of how to create new jobs and industries while transitioning to a 21st century economy” he has said. Pittsburgh is a perfect spot to show off local green achievements made this year such as the revival of “East Penn Manufacturing”, the city’s medical laboratories, and transformed industrial plants that went hybrid. Yet the proximity to New York is kind of comfy since many of the attendees must attend the UN General Assembly as well and the fact that, well let’s face it, Pittsburgh is important for the second cadence also must be taken into account. A great deal of thought was also made in selecting the convention center itself, the David L. Lawrence center, the world’s first green convention center.
Another question to be asked is did they do what they promised? At this time, the picture isn’t clear enough to say, but much of the dough promised to struggling countries has been transferred to them. However, there still remains a lot of work ahead with complex issues like who is going to be running the global economy and regulation of banks and hedge funds as mentioned before.
More importantly, what should we expect from the Pittsburgh Summit? Since many prime economies are slowly recovering from the recession, there is no need (nor could it be fulfilled) for another round of big spending pledges, instead the summit will concentrate on the ones its members already committed to. The center stage will focus on regulation and reform, with the topic of the day being dealing with banker’s bonuses; there is a good chance to see an agreement on that. Another hot item, is making sure that all countries are on the same page and don’t mess around with staggering companies. Will India and China be presented better in the International Monetary Fund? The IMF, The UN’s agency that facilitates international commerce and aids developing countries, will also be under discussion. Obama also claimed that we must stay clear of the asset bubbles by setting up a path for “sustainable growth while steering clear of the imbalances of the past”. Hence that’s going to be a key part of the agenda as well. Although the recovery is in progress, the fact that many people are still unemployed, should and probably will be a noticeable subject.
In conclusion, as financial crises fear no international boundaries, these meetings offer an opportunity to discuss economic problems and maybe even agree on the appropriate actions that need to be taken in response. As the conductors of the world’s largest economies, these leaders have a responsibility to work together in order to insure this kind of crisis won’t happen again. “The Pittsburgh Summit is an important opportunity to continue the hard work that we have done in confronting the global economic crisis, and renewing prosperity for our people”, said Obama on the eve of the summit’s jumpstart. Prior to Obama’s election, critics said that after the campaign ends, Obama will be tested by major-hard-to-cope-with events and by his reactions to them. Now it’s up to him and his administration to deal with the crisis in order to prove themselves. Now is the time to see whether the Pittsburgh Summit will be remembered as an important milestone or a complete disaster in terms of financial pace making and use of the tax payer’s cash. Will it be a prestigious achievement, one that may prove that Obama’s administration is better than his predecessor’s Or will the summit be just another brick in the wall of history?
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