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Fixing Global Governance

Persistent failures of global governance reflect the broader shift from a unipolar to a multipolar world. With politics driving economics, rather than the other way around, the situation demands a rewiring of the global order, starting with ambitious reforms of the G20 and the Bretton Woods institutions.

EDINBURGH – After India’s G20 summit and the UN General Assembly this month, world leaders will attend the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Marrakesh, before heading to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai. But there is little optimism that these summits will deliver meaningful progress in tackling our greatest challenges, not because of any lack of resolve, but because the global rulebook we have been following since the end of World War II is no longer fit for purpose.

The world’s growing fragmentation was confirmed at the G20 summit. Though the meeting signaled India’s arrival as a major power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s moment of triumph was fleeting. The summit did little to prevent the 2020s from almost certainly becoming a low-growth decade.

Despite the African Union’s admission as a full member of the G20, the Global South received scant relief for its crushing debts. And though G20 members are responsible for 75% of global carbon emissions, the summit failed to address the scale of the climate financing gap. Acting on the findings of the G20’s Capital Adequacy Review, the Biden administration has committed to secure an additional $25 billion for the World Bank; but that figure falls far short of the $260 billion annual fillip that former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers recommended in the Singh-Summers report to the G20 this year.