In the policy brief 'Wielding influence in a new governance architecture: Norway, the G20 and the 2030 Agenda' written by Research Director Ole Jacob Sending and Senior Research Fellow Joachim Nahem, the authors discuss how the power of the G20 as an arena for shaping global governance represents both a challenge and an opportunity for Norway.

It is a challenge because Norway has for the last half-century invested heavily in multilateral institutions both as an end in itself, and as a means to embed Norwegian interest within multilateral rules. The G20 may pose a challenge if its seen to undermine the credibility of multilateral institutions with regard to uphold established rules. This in turn, may reduce Norway ́s ability to influence global governance through these multilateral institutions. It is an opportunity to the degree that the G20 can strengthen global governance on key areas of importance for Norway, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The developments analysed in the brief have significant implications for the role of the G20 in shaping the 2030 Agenda and for how Norway can best engage with it. The authors highlight some points:

  • There are ever more non-state actors that are important in global governance and bilateralism is on the increase. The criteria used for assessing and criticising the G20 do not reflect this development
  • The G20 is not necessarily more or less accountable and “democratic” than other institutions
  • The G20 may serve to strengthen multilateralism, provided that the G20 provides leadership while ensuring inclusion and voice of non-members
  • The G20, particularly under the German presidency, has managed to build a fairly strong network of civil society actors (Civil 20), research institutions (T20) and business actors (B20)
  • The power to shape the 2030 Agenda resides in networks that cut across both inter-governmental and different transnational organizations, including the G20
  • These networks, especially those associated with the G20 Development Working Group (DWG) and Sherpas, is a central entry-point for actors seeking to shape the G20 agenda

Read the full policy brief here.