The accountability of the G20’s development agenda: perspectives and suggestions from developing countries of the Commonwealth and Francophonie

Research reports and studies
April 2013
Zhenbo Hou and Dirk Willem te Velde

In a paper prepared for the Commonwealth - Francophonie - G20 Development Working Group Meeting, this paper presents perspectives and suggestions from developing countries of the Commonwealth and Francophonie.

The Commonwealth and Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, representing more than 90 countries and 2.5 billion people, have built up a growing relationship with the G20. The Commonwealth contributes to the G20 development agenda through analytical papers and through the sharing of experiences. At the same time, the G20 DWG has the opportunity to share their agenda and discuss commitments with the Commonwealth and Francophonie countries. This mutual accountability helps to create a virtuous circle whereby the G20’s development agenda is more relevant for those developing countries it aims to support, and developing countries will be more aware of and are more committed to implementing G20 initiatives.

The G20 has recognised accountability of its development agenda as a key issue for 2013, but it has to come from a low base as it has not put in place an accountability mechanism at the start of the Seoul consensus even though accountability is one of the core principles. Whilst there are still fundamental questions about who has to be held accountable to whom, this paper regards accountability as (i) a compliance mechanism; (ii) a learning process, and (iii) as mutual responsibility. It will therefore assess progress made by the G20 DWG in terms of commitments in action plans and general workings of the group, assess the lessons, and suggest how the G20 could be held accountable in the future, deriving implications for responsibilities for the G20 and the Commonwealth and Francophonie.

This paper provides a Commonwealth and Francophonie contribution to the DWG and the Russian G20 Presidency in its view on the G20 Development Working Group Accountability Report. It will do this by

  • (i) reviewing progress on accountability at the G20 (section 2);
  • (ii) reviewing the multi - year action plan in the 2010 Seoul consensus and its relevance for Commonwealth and Francophonie countries (section 3);
  • (iii) discussing the principles in the Seoul consensus and soft workings of the G20 of interest to Commonwealth and Francophonie countries (section 4);
  • and (i v ) discuss areas in the G20’s development agenda which are of interest to Commonwealt h and Francophonie countries and in which the G20 should be held accountable in the future (section 5).

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