Monday, November 22, 2010

A solemn commitment to what, exactly?

The G20 summit in Seoul, which ended 10 days ago, featured the requisite closing communiqué, in which participant nations pledged, among others, "to continue our coordinated efforts and act together to generate strong, sustainable and balanced growth." In language simultaneously aspirational, anodyne, and arcane, the 22-page document managed to duck most of the key issues, pushing difficult decisions into the future.

On development, as William Easterly notes, the "summit set the lowest possible expectations on development, and then heroically failed to meet them." The official declaration does promise the G20 "will take concrete actions to increase our financial and technical support, including fulfilling the Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments by advanced countries," but remains silent, of course, on what precisely those concrete actions might entail.

A more cynical but also more honest (and amusing) communiqué was offered by Derek DeCloet in Toronto's Globe and Mail. If only official communiqués could be written a little more along these lines!

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