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ITUC/TUAC Evaluation of the G20 Seoul Leaders' Declaration and Summit Outcome - Seoul, 11-12 November 2010



  • 1011t_g20_Seoul_evalpdf
  • 1011t_g20_Seoul_eval_espdf
  • 1011t_g20_Seoul_eval_frpdf


1. The G20 Seoul Summit was marked by a much publicised failure of governments to agree quantitative limits to the size of trade imbalances together with a stalling of momentum for international financial regulation and reform. Moreover the shift continues in G20 priorities to cutting public deficits, away from coordinated action to support demand and employment in the global economy. Despite this, as a result of trade union advocacy with governments and international institutions in Seoul the Leaders’ Declaration includes positive language on employment. The Leaders state: “We recognise the importance of addressing the concerns of the most vulnerable. To this end, we are determined to put jobs at the heart of the recovery, to provide social protection, decent work and also to ensure accelerated growth in low income countries (LIC’s)” (#5). However the “Seoul Action Plan” on country measures adopted by the Summit refers to employment objectives only in the context of structural policies that are much the same as those advocated before the crisis broke in 2008.

2. The Summit adopted “the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth” reflecting the transfer of the development agenda from the G8 to the G20; there are lengthy annexes on achieving development and commitments to make progress on climate change and related issues such as eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, however there is no reference to new ways of raising revenue such as a financial transactions tax. It is therefore unclear how adequate resources are to be mobilised for urgent social, developmental and environmental goals.

3. On institutional matters the “reformed” IMF remains the main servicing institution for the G20. The ILO remains one of the few UN agencies mandated to implement G20 work and is referred to in the follow-up of the structural reform agenda alongside the IMF, OECD and World Bank. One significant development in the Seoul Summit document is the reference to engaging trade unions and other groups in the G20 process for the first time, even if more attention is given to the B-20 business sector consultations - an asymmetry needing to be remedied by future G20 meetings.

4. It is urgent that as France assumes the G20 Presidency for 2011 the G20 rediscover its collective sense of purpose, before stagnant growth and a return to rising unemployment delivers them a jarring wake-up call. The French President has stated that priorities should include action on the Financial Transactions Tax and international financial sector regulation. Over coming months against the background of faltering recovery, the trade union movement will need to pressure G20 Leaders to return to a spirit of cooperation on action to deliver employment and recovery instead of a slide to paralysis in the face of financial market panic. A G20 Labour Ministers’ meeting must be held early in 2011 and a G20 working group established to track the delivery of employment commitments. (...)

The full evaluation is attached in English, French and Spanish