Thursday, June 4, 2009

G20 abandon UN to meet in Pittsburgh

The Obama administration has announced that the USA will host the next meeting of the G20 on 24-25 September in Pittsburgh and is expecting kudos for highlighting the real economy with green shoot credentials, not the financial sector of Wall Street and New York City. These dates clash with the annual opening of UN General Assembly when heads of state and government gather for a few days at UN headquarters on top political issues; this gathering will be gutted this September when the political leaders of the "top" economies are escorted to Pittsburgh. Seen as a slight to the UN by accident or design, many UN insiders are also interpreting this as a rebuff to the Secretary-General (S-G) and damage to his chances for a second term.

These chances are already made fragile by a sense of disappointment with the S-G's delivery in key areas for the major powers, especially on management reform and securing the UN as an effective peace-keeping instrument. Despite their chorus-ed questioning of UN effectiveness, major powers have invested heavily in these areas as an important part of their national and foreign policies.

Will a late-year Cabinet re-shuffle help the S-G secure a second term? Rumours that Chief of Staff and Deputy will go are matched with those that the UK wants back the position of the S-G's Chief of Staff. This sense of entitlement dates to Mark Malloch-Brown, the American-supported candidate for Administrator of UNDP, who moved on to S-G Chief of Staff and then briefly Deputy Secretary-General. The Brits will not be interested in a tenure of only one year, so this quest implies support for a 2nd term. And the UK is one of the key veto-wielding members of the Security Council. For now…

Things would change if holding the veto required a triple AAA rating from financial markets. Perhaps this is another example of the UK cleverly protecting its top shelf power position. Could this key placement be a Trojan Horse to protect the (sub?) prime status of G20 politics and its venue for doing business at a time when most governments are clamouring for influence in the established fora of the UN and/or IFIs... And to protect the status of the UK as junior co-convenor with the USA of the G20. The initial meeting was in Washington last November, the 2nd in London, now Pittsburgh. Should not the 4th be in Beijing?


  1. It is annoying how the US and UK hark back to 1945 all the time. Next year will be 2010, for heaven's sake, and we will be well into a new century and new millennium.

    "Colonialism" was consigned to the rubbish bin after the Second World War; it is time to consign "neo-colonialism" to the rubbish bin in the new century and new millennium.

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  3. this is all crap- absolute rubbish