G-20 Pittsburgh Summit vague on plans, symbolic of unity

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At the G-20 Summit Sept. 25, international leaders met in Pittsburgh to draft a set of coordinated efforts to secure the recovery of global economy. The proposed resolutions from the summit were somewhat abstract, but ultimately the leaders resolved to continue recovery efforts that were jumpstarted at the London G-20 Summit in April.

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GET TO WORK—From left: French President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown open the second day of the G-20 Summit.

“Six months ago, I said that the London summit marked a turning point in the G-20’s effort to prevent economic catastrophe. And here in Pittsburgh, we’ve taken several significant steps forward to secure our recovery and transition to strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth,” President Barack Obama said at a press briefing after the meeting. “We brought the global economy back from the brink. We laid the groundwork today for long-term prosperity, as well.”

Although Obama’s speech and the statement released by the international leaders did not contain specifics, it promoted a higher sense of international unity on issues of not only economics, but nuclear weapons and climate change as well.

“We have learned, time and again, that in the 21st century, the nations of the world share mutual interests. That’s why I’ve called for a new era of engagement that yields real results for our people— an era when nations live up to their responsibilities, and act on behalf of our shared security and prosperity,” Obama said. “And that’s exactly the kind of strong cooperation that we forged here in Pittsburgh, and earlier this week in New York. Indeed, on issue after issue, we see that the international community is beginning to move forward together.”

In his speech, Obama highlighted broad measures that would stabilize the economy such as continuing the nation’s coordinated stimulus plans, creating new financial regulations and focusing on clean energy. This includes shifting more responsibility to the International Monetary Fund that oversees the global financial system.

One concrete proposal was the establishment of a new World Bank Trust Fund to support investments in food security for the world’s poorest countries.

But what do these resolutions mean? Representative Joe Preston Jr. said the summit was as much a symbol of economic recovery as it was a time for international leaders to recommit to global recovery efforts.

“These were the most economically healthy countries that came here,” he said. “It was sending a message that they’re going to stay the course dealing with a world wide stimulus.”

Preston said the U.S. economy is dependent upon the international economy. Likewise he said ensuring the stability of the international community on all issues would help secure local stability.

“We have seen stocks go down. That means spending goes down,” Preston said. “If you don’t have dollars going from one door to another, that affects the health and wealth of all of the nations.”

The Pittsburgh Summit marks the replacement of the G-8, which was comprised of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia, by the G-20, which added Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the European Union as the world’s economic forum.

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