November 10, 2008
Brace yourselves for a flurry of promises and diplomatic hand-waving as the world prepares for this weekend’s global financial summit.
The NYT reports that the G20 wants a bigger say in the global economy. Problem is, the global financial summit is not designed to achieve far-reaching structural changes of the sort G20 leaders such as Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva are seeking.
The European Network on Debt and Development suggests that Europe will bring lofty ambitions to the table as well, but precious little in the way of concrete mechanisms or meaningful procedural reforms to affect change.
My sense? Prepare for disappointment. As Aldo Caliari points out, the timing and form of President Bush’s economic summit is designed to undermine ongoing negotiations at Doha and avoid the transparent and multilateral approach of the United Nations. As such, the whole affair is looking depressingly similar to the original Bretton Woods meetings of 1944. Until the U.S. and Europe show the political maturity to surrender some authority and embrace a truly multilateral process we will get a lot of fluffy proclamations but few substantive changes.
Don’t get me wrong, I suspect that there will be some impressive sounding stuff that comes out of this weekend’s meetings. I have no reason to believe, however, that it will be anything like the kind of democratic, equitable sorts of reforms to global trade and finance that the world so deeply needs.
Breaking news: William New at IP Watch reports that Francis Gurry of Australia has just been named the new director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Gurry won by a single vote (!) over Brazil’s José Graça Aranha, signalling that while the widely discredited former director Kamil Idris may be gone, the organization remains divided between those who favor the position of the G8 countries and those who prefer the pro-development leadership of the Brazilian delegation in recent years.
Both Gurry and Graça Aranha were WIPO insiders and both have strong reputations as credible, professional public servants.
Unfortunately, the IP Watch story does not include any additional data on the breakdown of the vote. (At the moment, I’m not sure whether such information can become public).