To make summits matter, we need to be far more ruthless about our priorities and clearer about what we're trying to achieve
Disappointment at the collective performance of our leaders at global summits goes far beyond the development movement. Eight hundred or more journalists attend the average G20, to shine a spotlight on the failure of the group to fulfil its self-proclaimed mandate to manage the global economy.
These disappointments have deep roots, and there's nothing unique about the current position. They are the product of long-standing weaknesses in the multilateral process, exacerbated by recent shifts in power relations that are present in pretty much every global negotiation.
Few NGOs found much to celebrate at December's COP18 climate talks in Doha. The G8 and the G20 have produced similarly disappointing results in recent years. The Rio+20 summit in June was a particularly egregious example. With 50,000 delegates and campaigners present, not one meaningful new commitment was made other than agreement to develop new global goals. It was agreed after much intensive negotiation that these would be developed by an inter-governmental committee of 30 countries. Six months later it has not yet met, because there is no agreement about who should be on it.[view whole blog post ]