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G20 summit’s Seoul Development Consensus: please comment

UPDATE: OK I give up, I’ll be the bad guy again (see end of post)

I present selections of the text of the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth without comment, inviting instead the readers to comment:

Be economic-growth oriented and consistent with the G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth

Prioritize actions that tackle global or regional systemic issues

Differentiate, yet complement existing development efforts, avoiding duplication

Focus on feasible, practical and accountable measures to address clearly articulated problems

In close consultation with our developing country and LIC partners, as well as relevant international and regional organizations with development expertise, we have also identified nine areas, or “key pillars,” where we believe action and reform are most critical to ensure inclusive and sustainable economic growth and resilience in developing countries and LICs. These areas are: infrastructure, private investment and job creation, human resource development, trade, financial inclusion, growth with resilience, food security, domestic resource mobilization, and knowledge sharing. Creating optimal conditions for strong, sustainable and resilient economic growth in developing countries will require reform and transformation across each of these interlinked and mutually reinforcing key pillars.

UPDATE: OK I think I miscalculated, the Seoul Consensus is so completely free of substance that I couldn’t get much comment (thanks to the valiant souls below who tried).

So it’s my bitter lot in life to play the bad guy who says the obvious nasty things, like:

This summit set the lowest possible expectations on development, and then heroically failed to meet them.

Did it occur to any of the G20 sherpas that it would have been better to say, “we have nothing new on development” than to produce such vacuous babble then actually goes backward even from the dismally modest record of previous summits?

I guess the main puzzle is why the Koreans let themselves be insulted by having this Nothingness named after Seoul.

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8 Comments

  1. Iain Mclellan wrote:

    This is interesting. However if you want to “ensure inclusive and sustainable economic growth and resilience in developing countries and LICs” surely health would come under one of the 9 pillars?

    S.Korea has some interesting health stats according to the WHO in 2007 24 per 100,000 people committed suicide. That is huge… I feel that with the prevalent ageing population and v.low fertility rates, tackling health care to ensure that you have a fit population to work is essential.

    I think I am biased because I study at LSHTM.

    Posted November 13, 2010 at 10:25 am | Permalink
  2. Benjamin wrote:

    Sounds like a good new idea of moving foward. A commitment that could really make a difference. As in not too obvious but really thought out!

    And I am proud to say that I am not cynic since I know people in “developing countries” figure it out for themselves without any strategy like that.

    Posted November 13, 2010 at 11:07 am | Permalink
  3. Andy wrote:

    I believe the actual full title of this document is “Moving Forward: Proceeding with Going Ahead, A Non-Specific Proposal”.

    Posted November 13, 2010 at 11:42 am | Permalink
  4. Don Stoll wrote:

    I think the concern is not whether “people in ‘developing countries’ [can] figure it out for themselves”—of course they can, as Benjamin’s comment rightly insists—but whether the Seoul Consensus indicates commitment by G20 nations to supportive partnership with developing countries. Note the recent historical context: up to now just a very small fraction has appeared of the $20 billion promised in 2009 at L’Aquila to help farmers in poor countries over three years—after 2008’s food riots in thirty nations. So Prof. Easterly’s complaints look realistic rather than cynical.

    Posted November 13, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  5. fundamentalist wrote:

    To be even more cynical, what governments do is write babble like this, then take credit for everything the free market accomplishes.

    Posted November 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  6. hacker wrote:

    alert(“i am a hacker”)

    Posted November 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  7. Grohotun wrote:

    In real G20 summit is a big party ^_^

    Posted November 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink
  8. Santi wrote:

    same old discourse as always, every year there seems to be an emphasis on a particular “area” , but then there is no soul searching of why there was little or no progress in those “areas” that were under G20’s spotlight in previous years. Mutual accountability and bottom up approaches will never be forged at this type of summits. it’s such a waste of time and resources, ha

    Posted November 25, 2010 at 4:37 am | Permalink

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by William Easterly and Conduit Journal, nahsrad. nahsrad said: RT @bill_easterly: G20 Seoul Development Consensus extracts: I refrain from comment, it's up to you http://bit.ly/9FQWay […]

  2. […] so carefully worded to allow for diverse opinions that according to William Easterly, it is “completely free of substance.” InterAction did praise the inclusion of development language in the communiqué, but also […]

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