This event looked at the role of small states in global governance institutions. The speakers began by explaining a shift in world politics toward more informality, “as new centers of power mobilize and old institutions fall behind the curve of change…” Their point of entry was an examination of the G-20, which was established in 1999 but took the leading role in organizing a response to the global financial crisis that began in 2008 when it became clear that existing institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the G8, and the UN, “could not coordinate an effective response to the crisis.” Although the G-20 is widely hailed as having done a good job in stabilizing the global economy, concerns over its lack of oversight or participation from the wider international community “elicited a strong response from the states left out of the G-20.” While efficiency was paramount in the early days of the crisis, legitimacy came to be a more pressing concern for small states that were excluded from decision making. In response to the desire to shift toward more legitimacy, Ambassador Vanu Gopala Menon, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the UN offered a way to respond to the exclusion of most of the world’s countries. According to the authors, “rather than simply accepting, rejecting, or ignoring the G-20 process [Menon] sought to build a more equitable relationship between G-20 and non-G-20 countries.” The new group he helped to form was called The Global Governance Group (3G).
H.E. Ms. Karen Tan, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations
Andrew F. Cooper, Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo
Bessma Momani, The Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo