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Making International Summits Work

The just-concluded Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris set the stage for a series of pivotal gatherings that could reshape climate finance and empower developing countries. But for that to happen, world leaders must ensure that such meetings are well prepared – and that key leaders attend.

OXFORD – The world leaders who just gathered in Paris for the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact have vowed to mobilize resources to support developing countries grappling with debt crises and to empower the Global South to assume a larger role in global governance. While these are worthy goals, such high-profile summits often yield little more than group photographs and empty pledges.

Even so, the Paris meeting is significant because it set the stage for a series of leaders’ summits in September: the G20 meeting in New Delhi, the Finance in Common gathering in Colombia, and the United Nations’ SDG Summit in New York.

The efficacy of these summits becomes even more important given what is at stake. The increase in extreme poverty over the past three years, together with the growing frequency of humanitarian and natural disasters, many of them caused by climate change, underscores countries’ need to build resilience.