Article

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 An agreement among the Group of 20 has now been replaced by a Group of 19+1, in which the outlier position of the United States is essentially legitimized.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. ...

Read on at foreignaffairs.com

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GIGA Authors

Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar is the President of German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and Professor of International Relations at Universität Hamburg. Before she was Reader for International Political Economy at University of Cambridge, and has taught and studied at the University of Oxford. Her research expertise lies in the areas of international trade, rising powers, and multilateralism. She has published numerous books and articles in leading academic outlets. Her latest book Poverty Narratives in International Trade Negotiations is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. She regularly provides her expertise to diverse media. Since early May 2019 she writes “Globale Gedanken”, a column in Der Tagesspiegel.

Recent Publications by the Authors

Amrita Narlikar

An improved pandemic narrative by Chancellor Merkel?

Observer Research Foundation (ORF) - Expert Speak, 2020

Amrita Narlikar

Rebooting Multilateralism? Lessons Still to be Learnt

Global Policy, Opinion, (first published by ORF, 11.09.2020), 2020

Amrita Narlikar

The German Conversation on Multilateralism: An Inside-Outside Perspective

Global Public Policy Institute, PEACELAB, 2020

Amrita Narlikar

Rebooting Multilateralism? Lessons Still to be Learnt

in: Shoba Suri (ed.), Rebooting the World: Six Months of COVID-19, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), 2020, 71-75

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