A bit about me
My name is Alexandre T. Gingras and I will be writing on here in the coming months and hopefully years. I reside near Ottawa, Canada, and hold a Bachelors’ Degree in Political Science from the University of Ottawa and a Master’s Degree from the University of Uppsala in Sweden.
|Discussing with Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei in Mauritius|
My Master’s thesis entitled Pre-Emptive Peace: Collective Security and Rogue States in the 21st Century, written and published in 2010, advocated and articulated the need to expand the G20’s responsibilities in the fold of international security through the creation of a Foreign Ministers group, in order to assist the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in the disarmament talks over nuclear proliferation situations in Iran and North Korea. It was the first extensive discussion on the creation of a G20 Foreign Ministers group, which had been mentioned in passing previously by Professor John Kirton and former Finnish politician Risto Penttilä, and it has received the support of many academics, politicians, and diplomats, including former IAEA Director and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.
Let’s quickly recap the G20’s history. Former Canadian Finance Minister Paul Martin created and presided over the G20 Finance Ministers group, which initially met in Berlin in 1999, in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. When Martin became Prime Minister of Canada, he advocated expanding the G20 to also include the leaders of the nations represented: presidents, prime ministers and kings. However there was resistance from George W. Bush over the Martin plan between 2003 and 2006. Ultimately, because of the global economic crisis of 2008, Bush called for the first G20 leaders’ summit in 2008, which is largely credited with saving the world from an economic disaster of apocalyptic proportions.
A growing role
While its initial leaders’ meetings in Washington, London, Pittsburgh and Toronto initially focused on the global economic security and recovery, in November 2010 at the Seoul Summit, the G20 took on the issue of international development, which had been until then a G8 responsibility.
I proposed that this was the first of many responsibilities that would eventually shift to the G20. Indeed, between 2010 and 2011, the G20 Ministers of International Development, Labour, Energy and Agriculture held their first meetings, and I urged officials in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Korea as well as policy experts in think-tanks advising G20 host nations to push for the same. On February 19 and 20, 2012, the G20 Foreign Ministers met for the first time in Los Cabos, Mexico, for an informal gathering.
|The first-ever G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in February 2012|
So the story begins…
In my opinion, the biggest shift in international relations in decades just took place in Mexico. That is what this blog will be about. While people might not realize it overnight, the discussions and eventual “alignment” of 20 most powerful countries’ foreign policies and their chief diplomats is likely to change the very nature of peace and conflict as we know them, in building a safer and more secure world.