Tuesday 25 Feb 2020 | 16:46 | SYDNEY
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Relaunching the G20

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis the Director of the Lowy Institute’s G20 Studies Centre, Mike Callaghan, argues that Australia should ‘relaunch’ the G20 when it chairs the forum in 2014.  

‘The G20 has achieved a great deal but the forum is in danger of losing its way. If the G20 is to live up to its potential it needs to sharpen its focus and effectiveness’, says Callaghan.

Relaunching the G20 identifies nine key lessons from the G20’s history that can help realise its potential to be the premier forum for international economic cooperation.

This includes not losing sight of a key strength of the G20 – the direct involvement of the national leaders. But to maximise the involvement of leaders, the forum needs a focused agenda.

‘A circuit-breaker is needed. The G20 must move away from the current approach where new agenda items are added to the growing list of those inherited from the previous chair’, says  Callaghan.

The forum should also remember Bill Clinton’s election slogan from 1992: ‘It’s the economy, stupid’. The fragility of the global economy means that the priority of G20 leaders should be on restoring sustainable economic and jobs growth.

Callaghan sees an opportunity for Australia, as the chair of the G20 in 2014, ‘to make a clean break with the past’ and refocus the expanding G20 Leaders’ agenda on ‘priority issues where meaningful outcomes are achievable’.

This Analysis is published by the Lowy Institute’s G20 Studies Centre. The G20 Studies Centre, which was established with funding by the Australian Government, aims to generate new ideas and publish policy research and analysis to help build a stronger and more effective G20.  

Mike Callaghan is the Director of the G20 Studies Centre at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. Prior to taking up this position, Mike was Executive Director, International, in the Australian Treasury and Australia’s G20 Finance Deputy. He was also the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on the International Economy. From 2005 to 2007, Mike was Executive Director, Revenue Group in the Australian Treasury where he was responsible for the provision of advice to Ministers on taxation and retirement income policies and legislation. In 2006 he was appointed by the IMF Managing Director and the President of the World Bank to an eminent persons group to report on improving cooperation between the World Bank and the IMF. From 2000 to 2004 Mike was Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund, Washington DC, representing a constituency of 14 countries, including Australia. Mike has served as Chief of Staff to the Australian Treasurer, the Hon Peter Costello. He joined the Treasury in 1974 and has held a variety of senior positions, including heading the Economic Division and the Financial Institutions Division. He has economic and law degrees from the Australian National University and is a graduate from the Royal College of Defence Studies, London.