For most countries, getting invited to a G-20 summit is like being invited to an exclusive party held by the most popular kids in school. Although everybody wants to attend the party, only the popular kids (the G-20 members) get to decide who are invited. In the G-20, these popular kids just happen to be the largest economies in the world.
There is a common misconception that G-20 members should be the 20 largest economies in the world. However the composition of the group has not changed since its inception in 1999. This has attracted controversy and criticism from the international community.
In an interview with Der Spiegel, a German weekly magazine, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre described the G-20 as “one of the greatest setbacks since World War II.” According to Støre, the G-20 was a “self-appointed group” whose “composition was (is) determined by the major countries and powers”.
The organisation responded in a statement: “In a forum such as the G-20, it is particularly important for the number of countries involved to be restricted and fixed to ensure the effectiveness and continuity of its activity. There are no formal criteria for G-20 membership and the composition of the group has remained unchanged since it was established. In view of the objectives of the G-20, it was considered important that countries and regions of systemic significance for the international financial system be included. Aspects such as geographical balance and population representation also played a major part.”
Collectively, the G-20 represents approximately 90 per cent of the world’s GNP, 80 per cent of global trade, and two-thirds of the planet’s population. While there have been meetings among the G-20 members since 1999, the first official G-20 summit was only held in Washington D.C. in 2008.
Since then, G-20 summit participants have been limited to the member nations and any other nations and international organisations that have been invited by the members. Some of the nations that have been invited to a G-20 summit thus far include Spain, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Vietnam and Singapore.
In the upcoming G-20 summit to be held in Cannes, France from 3rd to 4th November 2011, the core members are once again expected to come together and discuss numerous economic issues alongside international organisations such as the IMF and the WTO plus a new batch of invited states. Among the invited states include recurring invitees such as Ethiopia, Singapore and Spain, while the United Arab Emirates and Equatorial Guinea are also expected to send representatives for their first ever G-20 summit.
However just like the guest list at any regular party, there is often as much discussion over those who weren’t invited to the party as those who were invited.
…Read the full article on EconomyWatch.com: Why Is Iran Not In The G20?