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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Heiligendamm Process and the reform of global governance

Considering the challenges the world is facing today, including the financial, energy and climate crises, there is an urgent need for an inclusive global governance structure with a high-level body fully representing the world population.

A new discussion paper by the German Development Institute looks at the 'Heiligendamm Process' as the starting point for further discussions on global governance reform. Further it offers different models for a future global governance architecture.

The Heiligendamm Process, which emerged from Germany's G8 Presidency in 2007, was an attempt to intensify dialogue with the new emerging actors, namely Mexico, China, India, South Africa and Brazil (referred to as G5). However it was seen as open process and not as a step towards enlargement, which was rejected especially by the USA and Japan.

According to the author the global economic crisis brought the enlargement-option back on the agenda:

"While this high-level dialogue [the Heiligendamm Process] was geared to an informal exchange of views and experiences as well as to confidence-building, the global financial crisis now calls for rapid action and hard-and-fast arrangements."

The Process is seen as success in terms of trust-building. It also helped to form a confident and pro-active G5, which even came up with concrete policy proposals during the recent G20 Summit in London. After the first phase of the Heiligendamm Process participants now need to decide where this governance model should be going to.

The author proposes a new out-ward looking process which includes other global governance structures and at the same time urges the G8 to explicitly deal with the enlargement issue. This discussion should also consider the role of the G20 which proved to be effective during the recent crisis.

by Martin Behrens

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