Lord Malloch-Brown: The fear is that G20 will commit our money but avoid reform

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The Independent Online

What was an arcane area left to officials to prepare before a G8 summit has suddenly got heads of government's attention. If you think of most of the summits in the past, they showed up a little embarrassedly, almost because they didn't necessarily want to explain to constituencies back home why they were going off on these trips which were often subject to criticism for high living or whatever was supposedly being associated with them. But now suddenly in the run-up to this summit you see a group of world leaders acting as sherpas and using the political platform as they would on a domestic political issue to try and take a position.

We've done all we can between representation and expensive consultations in the run-up to the summit to make sure that, although it is a small subset of global leaders, 85 per cent of global GDP is represented, that conversation can be truly global and that no group gets left out. There will be a strong pitch for success for Copenhagen for greening the economy, but perhaps not as much as some had hoped for.

There won't be a number for a global fiscal stimulus. It is less political and more an economic and technical judgement around the fact that many of the G20 are in mid-course of quite significant stimuli numbering more than $2 trillion. There has been the issue of trade and protectionism. We have to recommit because of the 17 out of 20 countries who didn't honour the spirit of Washington. We've got to do a bit more.

Next, the poor countries: they don't have the economic independence to do a stimulus on their own. They have very limited means to do counter-cyclical investment. They have social protection needs with possibly tens of millions of people driven below the poverty line. A strong package based on the IMF and World Bank is critical for them. Finally to the strengthening of these international institutions which is so critical as the instruments of managing all of this – the IMF and World Bank. We will see a significant growth in the World Bank's role. We will see a huge enhancement of the IMF's resources. It is critical for those of us who believe in the importance of an international system that money comes with reform.

Lord Malloch-Brown, minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, was speaking at Chatham House yesterday morning