DAKAR – As leaders of the world’s most powerful economies gather for the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, policymakers everywhere seek action on today’s most pressing global issues: economic recovery and sustainable development.
Indeed, the world’s poorest, smallest, and most vulnerable countries need urgent progress in both areas. Without global economic recovery, their prospects for overcoming obstacles to growth will dim. And, without a comprehensive development agenda that addresses green energy, food security, and climate change, it will be impossible to create economies that can sustain economic and social advancement.
Roughly 90% of the world’s countries are without seats at the G-20 table, so many of their most serious development challenges – for example, limited access to foreign markets or to finance for infrastructure investment – are beyond their control. These challenges are compounded by persistent debt and, for many countries, especially small island states, high vulnerability to natural disasters.
To be sure, the G-20 has made the most vulnerable countries’ key challenges a top priority, and has pursued the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth – the nine-pillar multi-year plan endorsed at the 2010 summit – with unprecedented vigor. Moreover, the Mexican G-20 presidency has reached out to vulnerable non-members, actively integrating their experiences and lessons into the G-20 policy framework on development. And the Commonwealth and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) – which together represent 110 countries – have contributed actively to the G-20 development agenda in the run-up to Los Cabos.