Global Governance | Discussion Takeaways

The United Nations and the G-20: Ensuring Complementary Efforts

April 2010


In little more than a year, the G-20 has emerged as a vital summit-level forum for leaders to coordinate international economic policy. The global financial crisis drove home the need for consultations among a wider set of key economic players, more representative of 21st-century realities than the earlier G-8 club of predominately Western industrialized nations.

This development raises important questions about the future shape of the international system and multilateral cooperation. It is increasingly clear that diplomatic cooperation will be multi-multilateral—with an intricate web of different intergovernmental forums and mechanisms. If multilateral cooperation is to fulfill its purpose of solving problems and spreading peace and justice around the world, governments and their leaders must mobilize and harmonize the capabilities of the intergovernmental instruments at their disposal.

The Stanley Center’s 41st United Nations Issues Conference convened some 35 governmental and nongovernmental officials near New York on March 26-28, 2010, to discuss effective collaboration between the United Nations and the G-20 heads of state summits and preparatory processes. Participants included UN officials, diplomats from a number of countries, and global governance specialists.

Highlights and key observations from the discussion are in this Policy Memo.