The emergence of new economic powers in an increasingly integrated world economy has highlighted the need for better management of international interdependencies and reform of global economic governance.
Since 2008 the G20 has emerged as a key multilateral forum on the basis of its perceived effectiveness as a 'crisis committee' managing the global economic and financial turmoil. It is now turning into the world’s 'permanent steering committee' with a broader agenda including global imbalances, climate change, trade and development.
In the process, the G20's lack of legitimacy and representativeness has become more apparent. Improving its governance is necessary over the long term, but simply expanding its membership could undermine its effectiveness.
Developing the G20's outreach to a broader range of countries and building a permanent secretariat could make it more representative but this will take time and be very contentious.
In the short run, the G20 can increase its legitimacy through greater transparency and accountability, by establishing an independent audit mechanism for commitments, and leading governance reform of the international financial institutions.