The Real Power of the G-20 - Why the Summit in Hamburg Stood Out

The G20 summit in Hamburg - a landmark moment. GIGA President Prof. Amrita Narlikar shares her analysis in an article in Foreign Affairs online.

At first glance, the recent G-20 summit in Hamburg may have seemed little more than another expensive and pointless diplomatic exercise. The “Leaders’ Declaration,” a document issued at the end of every meeting to set goals and define the lines of collective action, is a compromise text full of banal niceties. The paragraphs on trade are an illustration: the G-20 members promise to “fight protectionism” and yet also acknowledge “the role of legitimate trade defense instruments,” which is essentially a polite nod to the very measures that countries use for protectionism. Climate change is arguably an even bigger disappointment. An agreement among the Group of 20 has now been replaced by a Group of 19+1, in which the outlier position of the United States is essentially legitimized.

With the summit costing the host country at least 130 million euros, German taxpayers are understandably irate about a meeting that they see as having little to no public benefit. Violent protests marred the meeting on a daily basis, and Hamburg has yet to recover from the upheaval. Damaged properties are now being reconstructed and restored, and insurance claims have run into the millions. Citizens of the city were so shaken by what transpired that they now say they never want to host such a summit again. It is therefore worth asking whether any good has come out of this apparent mess. It might seem easy to answer no. But on closer inspection, the answer is an emphatic yes. ...

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GIGA AutorInnen

Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar ist die Präsidentin des German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) und Professorin für Internationale Beziehungen an der Universität Hamburg. Zuvor war sie als Reader für Internationale Politische Ökonomie an der Universität Cambridge tätig und hat an der Universität Oxford gelehrt und studiert. Ihr Forschungsschwerpunkt liegt in den Bereichen Welthandel, aufstrebende Mächte und Multilateralismus. Sie hat zahlreiche Bücher und Artikel veröffentlicht. Ihr neustes Buch, Poverty Narratives in International Trade Negotiations, ist im Erscheinen bei Cambridge University Press. Sie stellt ihr Fachwissen regelmäßig den Medien zur Verfügung. Seit Anfang Mai 2019 schreibt sie „Globale Gedanken“, eine Kolumne in Der Tagesspiegel.

Aktuelle Publikationen der AutorInnen

Amrita Narlikar

First world problems: Choosing lifestyle over life

Observer Research Foundation - Health Express, 2020

Amrita Narlikar / Amitabh Mattoo

China’s Wolf Warrior Diplomacy: Why we are all Hong Kong now

Observer Research Foundation (ORF) - Raisina Debates , 2020

Narlikar Amrita

Las políticas de los BRICS en medio de la pandemia

in: Gian Luca Gardini (ed.), El Mundo antes y después del Covid-19: Reflexiones intelectuales sobre la política, la diplomacia y las relaciones internacionales, Salmanca/Stockholm: European Institute of International Studies Press, 2020, 30-33

Amrita Narlikar

Knowing one’s friends and allies: The politics of the BRICS amidst the pandemic

Observer Research Foundation (ORF) - Raisina Debates, 2020

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