University of Toronto

G20 Summits |  G20 Ministerials |  G20 Analysis |  Search |  About the G20 Research Group
[English]  [Français]  [Deutsch]  [Italiano]  [Portuguesa]  [Japanese]  [Chinese]  [Korean]  [Indonesian]

Munk School of Global Affairs

G20 Information Centre
provided by the G20 Research Group

The G20's Growing Security Governance Success

John Kirton, co-director, G20 Research Group, February 9, 2017

Paper prepared for a panel on "Which Global Security Goods can the G20 Provide?" at "The G20 as a Global Governance Institution," a conference sponsored by the Federal Academy for Security Policy, Ossietzkystrasse D-13187 Berlin-Pankow, February 9, 2017. Version of February 9, 2017.


At first glance, the G20 would seem to have a very limited role in global security governance. When the global financial crisis erupted in 2008 and the G20 leapt from the ministerial to the leaders' level, it immediately became the centre of global finance and economic governance, leaving the established G7/8 summit to deal with political security affairs. Indeed, since its creation in 1999, the G20's distinctive foundational mission had been the economic one of ensuring financial stability and making globalization work for the benefit of all. In contrast, the G8's mission, since its 1975 start as the G7, had been the pre-eminently political one of globally promoting the values of open democracy, individual liberty and social advance. The division of labour seemed to be confirmed at the G20's third summit in Pittsburgh in September 2009 when the G7 leaders and their other G20 colleagues declared that henceforth the G20 would be the permanent, primary forum for their international economic co-operation.

But leaders had chosen the word "primary," not "exclusive." Moreover, at Pittsburgh they again acted against terrorist finance. And the host, U.S. president Barack Obama, mobilized the summit to send Iran a clear public message that its nuclear weapons program must end. The Americans had treated Iran as a sponsor of terrorism since its revolutionary Islamic regime had invaded the American embassy in Tehran in 1979. The United States had used the G20 to respond when al Qaeda terrorists had attacked U.S. territory on September 11, 2001. At their first G20 summit, held in Washington DC in November 2008 to respond to the global financial crisis, the G20 leaders together had also declared: "We remain committed to addressing other critical challenges such as energy security and climate change, food security, the rule of law, and the fight against terrorism, poverty and disease." They subsequently did so on all of these issues at their ten summits since.

The Debate

G20 security governance has been the subject of a debate among six competing schools of thought.

The first, and by far the most frequent, "economics only" school says that the G20 should stick exclusively to finance and economic subjects, and leave political security issues to other global governance forum, notably the United Nations if not a fading G7.

A second school claims that in governing globalization, the G20 should take up those security subjects closely linked to economic issues, if in a very selective way. In the lead-up to the Toronto Summit in June 2010, Gordon Smith and Peter Heap (2010, 2) argued: "Canada should plan for broadening the G20 agenda to include areas such as climate change, energy security and even nuclear nonproliferation, where the linkages with economic policy are clear and the shared vulnerability of states makes them natural additions to G20 discussions." It should add a G20 foreign ministers forum to assist. More recently, this argument acquires added force in the new global governance world centred on the very comprehensive and fully integrated and inclusive 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with several security ones contained within.
A third school argues that the G20 was a counter-terrorism governor, since the 9/11 attacks on the United States showed the need for a collective response from well beyond the G8 countries, and including the Muslim majority ones (Kirton 2001). This prompted the first proposal to create a foreign ministers G20, alongside the finance ministers one, to oversee such a response (Gingras 2010).

A fourth school sees a more general G8-guided G20 security agenda, through which G8 members can consult other systemically significant countries (Pentillä 2003). G20 foreign ministers could thus meet on an ad hoc basis to do so. If successful, this could be followed by an annual meeting, with additional meetings added when the need arose. In the lead-up to the Seoul Summit, Barry Carin (2010: 16, 20) suggested "G20 foreign ministers could be invited to supplement existing efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation," noted the work of the G20's Anti-Corruption Working Group and declared "if there is a flare-up in the conflict in Sudan or the Persian Gulf, or an egregious North Korean provocation, there is no option not to react." Dong-hwi Lee (2010, 167) highlighted unification of the Korean peninsula as an appropriate G20 issue and concluded "if the G20 advances as planned, it might even take on the G8's security role in the medium to long term. In that case the G20, equipped with proper instruments such as a meeting of G20 foreign ministers, would be able to handle not only human security issues at the global level, but also the Korean Peninsula questions in Northeast Asia more effectively."

A fifth school calls for a general, stand-alone G20 foreign ministers meeting and summit security agenda. Alexandre Gingras (2010) invoked the theory of sociological liberalism as a rationale for this.

A sixth school argues that G20 leaders can and will discuss any subject they want, and have increasingly done so, if with variable effect.

The Thesis

This study shows that the G20 has governed global security more strongly, broadly and successfully since its start in 2001. It has done so because shocking security threats of a new, non-state and old, state-created kind require a response using financial and economic instruments, such as sanctions, from the increasingly vulnerable, systemically significant G20 countries being attacked. Rising threats to human security such as infectious disease and migration further require military instruments to be mobilized in response. As such shocks grow and as unilateral action by major powers and the established multilateral organizations fail to cope, G20 governors recognize that security is integrally, intimately and integrally linked to the G20's core financial and economic mission and competence. Moreover, leaders alone are responsible for addressing abroad all issues with which their governments deal at home, deciding which are the urgent priorities and treating them in a coherent way, using all effective instruments at hand. In the informal, intergovernmental institutions such as the G20 that these leaders directly operate abroad, there are no formal rules or higher ranking authorities to tell them what they can or cannot do. They have thus increasingly invoked their freedom and responsibility to make the G20 a global security governor of growing consequence and success. They will continue to do so in the years to come.

The Security Issue Area Defined

For purposes of this analysis, focused on global summit governance, security can be defined broadly and operationally as including any issue that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has addressed and any issue dealt with through the uniformed armed forces of G20 members. It thus includes health security, such as the response to the Ebola pandemic in 2014, climate change and migration, such as the flows across the Mediterranean in 2015–16. Other such security issues can be added to this list.

At the core, especially in a G20 context, lie the two issues of terrorism and crime and corruption. Both directly assault the core features of the Westphalian-Weberian sovereign state — its monopoly of legitimate violence within its exclusive territory from non-state and state-supported threats coming from outside and within.

Terrorism, largely from without, is a hard-core security topic, bringing much intended, externally directed, supported or inspired death and destruction to civilians and military personnel alike. It has become primarily a new, non-state threat in a multi-dimensionally diffusing world, even with the support of Taliban-governed Afghanistan for al Qaeda on 9/11 and the claims of the so-called Islamic State to be a state since 2014. All G20 members, despite their status as the world's systemically significant states, are becoming equally vulnerable to terrorist attacks from outside, especially in a world full of multi-faith countries, international migration and home-grown radicalization from anyone, anywhere with access to the internet.

The issue of crime and corruption is closely linked to terrorism. Money laundering is an important channel for terrorist finance, the first component of terrorism that the G20 addressed. Corruption allows the state and its security forces to be penetrated by those intent on terrorism, on financing civil or foreign wars, or on merely seeking the tax evasion that reduces the revenue the state can use to meet its security responsibilities of all kinds. Given this breadth, crime and corruption inherently involve a greater intrusion into domestic governance than terrorism does. 

An Overview of G20 Security Performance


The G20's performance as a growing global security governor is seen first in its expanding participation. As a forum for only finance ministers and central bank governors from 1999 to 2007, the only multilateral organizations attending were the economic ones of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. But as soon as it became a summit in 2008, the secretary general of the security-oriented UN, in the person of Korea's former foreign minister Ban Ki-moon, attended every one. There he addressed an expanding array of increasingly security-linked subjects, notably climate change at the G20's fourth summit, held in Toronto in June 2010. At the fifth summit, held in Seoul, Korea, in November 2010, he intervened in the leaders' discussions.


The G20 summit's growing security governance is seen in a detailed look at its performance on the two central security subjects of terrorism and crime/corruption (see Appendix A).

Terrorism has been the G20's oldest security topic, dealt with almost continuously since 2001, a mere two years after the G20's start. At the summit level, it received generally growing attention in the public conclusions of the collective communiqués issued at each summit in the leaders' name (see Appendix B). Terrorism averaged 2.7%. It began strongly at Washington at 4.0%, disappeared at London, but reached a peak of 5.5% at Antalya in 2015 and remained at an above-average 3.8% at Hangzhou in 2016.

Crime/corruption follows a somewhat similar path (see Appendix C). Attention in the publicly declared conclusions averaged a stronger 5%. It began strongly at Washington at 6.3%, disappeared at London, revived to peak at 11.4% at Seoul in November 2010 and came in at an above-average 5.6% at Hangzhou in 2016.

Direction Setting

In its ideational direction setting, through affirmations of central principles and norms, the G20 summit has been a robust and rising global security governor since the start (see Appendix D). Not surprisingly, it had constantly affirmed the economic and social principles at the core of its dual distinctive foundation mission of ensuring financial stability and making globalization work for all. Far more surprisingly, it has also continuously affirmed the political principles at the core of the G7's mission, promoting open democracy and human rights. Its affirmations of the latter reached progressively new peaks at Pittsburgh in 2009, then Los Cabos in 2012 and in Hangzhou — in non-democratic China — in 2016 at an all-time high. At Hangzhou, the leaders collectively affirmed, as part of their anti-corruption commitments, their full respect for human rights. At Hangzhou, affirmations of the G7's foundational political principles were virtually equal to the G20's economic and social ones.

Decision Making

The G20 summit's growing security governance is seen secondly in its substantial leaders' decision-making, through their agreement on precise, future-oriented politically binding collective commitments recorded in their summit communiqués (see Appendix A). On terrorism, G20 leaders made 16 such commitments from 2008 to 2016, placing this subject in 15th place among the 18 issue areas the summit has decided on. On crime and corruption, their 78 commitments put this subject in a much higher eighth place.


Members' delivery of these decisions, through compliance with their commitments until the next summit takes place, is a key measure of global governance effectiveness. On the two terrorism commitments assessed for compliance, the average is 87%. This is the third highest rank among the 18 issue areas and well above the G20's all-issue average of 71%. On the seven crime and corruption commitments assessed for compliance, the average is a positive, if poor, well under-average level of 57%.

Development of Global Governance

The strength and growth of G20 security governance is further seen in the G20's institutionalized development of global governance, especially inside the G20 itself. Within the G20, at the ministerial level, G20 foreign ministers first met, if some reluctantly, in 2012. Many gathered again at the St. Petersburg Summit in 2013. U.S. security of state John Kerry attended the Hangzhou Summit in 2016. To help prepare the Hamburg Summit, Germany — a G7 member that is not permanently on the UNSC — is hosting a foreign ministers meeting in Bonn on February 16–17, 2017.

At the official level, the Anti-Corruption Working Group was created at the Toronto Summit in 2010, adopted the Anti-Corruption Action Plan at Seoul, and met four times in 2011 and three times a year since on an expanding agenda, for a total of 19 gatherings after 2010. And in the G20's creation of issue-specific secretariats, or permanent collective bureaucracies, the Financial Stability Board of 2009 was followed by the Sydney Infrastructure Hub in 2014 and then one for corruption, located in China, at Hangzhou in 2016.  

Outside the G20, each G20 summit since Seoul has had a sideline summit of the leaders of the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa just before, where its members are free to discuss security issues as well as the economic ones on the G20 agenda. And G20 communiqués have increasingly noted, guided and supported the United Nations at a level close to that of the G20 members of the IMF and World Bank.

Deaths Delayed

The ultimate success of G20 security governance can be assessed by the key outcome measure of deaths delayed. Here, on the key issue of terrorism, the baseline is set in 2011, when more than 3,000 civilian and military personnel died in the 9/11 attacks on a single day and, as a result, the G20's counter-terrorism governance quickly began. By 2016, fewer individuals died within G20 members, despite the rising number of much less deadly attacks in the United States, France, Belgium, Germany and Turkey.

On crime and corruption, the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International shows a mixed pattern. Yet by 2016, countering crime and corruption had become a domestic priority, leading to major removals of government officials in China, and of leaders in Brazil, prospectively Korea, and perhaps South Africa too. Legal action has been initiated in other G20 members such as France. The deaths from crime in G20 members over time should also be assessed.  

More broadly, on the defining cases of controlling nuclear and chemical weapons of mass destruction, the outcomes were clearly consistent with, if not conclusively caused by, what the G20 summits did. Six years after Obama used the Pittsburgh Summit against Iran's nuclear weapons program, Iran agreed to abandon its program. Within days after Obama led Putin's St. Petersburg Summit against chemical weapons of mass destruction in Syria, chemical weapons were removed before they could fall into ISIS terrorist hands, to be used against the military and civilians of G20 and other countries.  

The Cadence of Critical Cases

This development is visible in the cadence of the critical cases where the G20 had periodically focused on some of the central security issues of the day, beginning from when the G20 met at the level of finance ministers and central bank governors.

Ottawa, November 2001

The G20 suddenly, surprisingly and successfully became a global security governor at its third annual meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors. Originally planned to be held in India, it was rescheduled, unusually, to take place in Ottawa, Canada on November 16–17, 2001 — because of the deadly mega-terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland on September 11 at the Pentagon in Washington DC and the World Trade Center in New York City (Kirton 2013, 115–57). It focused on stopping terrorist finance and Afghanistan, specifically reconstructing the country once the U.S.-led war there was won.

G20 Ministerial Meetings, 2003–2007

At their fifth annual meeting, held in Morelia, Mexico, in October 2003, G20 finance ministers and central bank governors added the security subjects of tax havens, corruption and the debt relief for Iraq, which a U.S.-led coalition had invaded in the spring.

In Berlin in 2004, the finance ministers and bank governors dealt robustly with tax evasion and money laundering. In Sanya, China, in 2005, they added migration and high oil prices. In Melbourne, Australia, in 2006, they added energy, minerals, security, climate change, and crime and corruption through support for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Washington DC, November 2008

At Washington in November 2008, U.S. president George W. Bush, who had been in office on 9/11, chaired the first G20 summit. Although it focused on the proliferating global financial crisis, it also acted against terrorist finance, the tax havens in which money laundering took place, and stolen assets, while pledging to promote the rule of law (Kirton 2013).

Pushed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, it declared as a principle:

Promoting Integrity in Financial Markets: We commit to protect the integrity of the world's financial markets by bolstering investor and consumer protection, avoiding conflicts of interest, preventing illegal market manipulation, fraudulent activities and abuse, and protecting against illicit finance risks arising from non-cooperative jurisdictions. We will also promote information sharing, including with respect to jurisdictions that have yet to commit to international standards with respect to bank secrecy and transparency (G20 2008).

It specifically promised, under medium-term actions,

• National and regional authorities should implement national and international measures that protect the global financial system from uncooperative and non-transparent jurisdictions that pose risks of illicit financial activity.

• The Financial Action Task Force should continue its important work against money laundering and terrorist financing, and we support the efforts of the World Bank – UN Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative (G20 2008).

Leaders also declared: "We remain committed to addressing other critical challenges such as energy security and climate change, food security, the rule of law, and the fight against terrorism, poverty and disease" (G20 2008).

London, April 2009

At London in April 2009, leaders made their first commitments on climate change. They also acted forcefully and spontaneously on tax havens. Indeed, Sarkozy had threatened to walk out of the summit unless his fellow leaders did so. While most felt tax havens were neither a case of cure focus the global financial crisis which was their focus, in a logrolling or Christmas tree form of political linkage, this security issue secured a prominent place (Kirton 2013, 2016a).

Pittsburgh, September 2009

At Pittsburgh in September 2009, the United States sought to use the terrorist finance agenda to secure G20-wide support for further sanctions against Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program. When the initiative met strong resistance from some G20 members, Obama used the occasion of the summit to stand with the leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Germany to issue a quadrilateral statement condemning Iran's nuclear program and violation of its international commitments (Kirton 2013, 306). The action helped pave the way to success six years later, in 2015 when Iran agreed to end its nuclear weapons program as the United Nations wished.

Los Cabos, 2012

In Los Cabos, Mexico in 2012, in the lead-up to the seventh G20 summit in June, G20 foreign ministers met for the first time. While this Mexican initiative had initially been resisted by the BRICS members, when it became clear that a critical mass of G20 members would send their foreign ministers, key countries such as India did so, if at the level of minister of state.

St. Petersburg, September 2013

At St. Petersburg in September 2013, G20 foreign ministers met again. They did so to confront the actual use of another weapon of mass destruction, that of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. Obama pushed and Putin agreed to use the summit dinner, reserved for leaders alone, to discuss the issue. After the long dinner discussion, which showed majority support for Obama's threat to use force to remove the weapons, Putin and Obama went for a private walk in the woods. Within two weeks Assad agreed that the weapons would be removed, which they were without the United States having to use military force.

Brisbane, November 2014

At Brisbane in November 2014, Russia's invasion and annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine was discussed in the preparation as and bilaterally at the summit itself. On the key priority of preparing the Brisbane Action Plan to boost growth by 2% above trend, Russia repeatedly argued that it could not do so unless G7 and European Union members removed the financial and trade sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine. The Australian host also sought support to remove Russia from the summit, as the G7 had done for its summit in the spring. At the summit leaders such a Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Putin to his face to get out of Ukraine, and much media attention was devoted to this issue, in part due to the Australians who had been killed when a Malaysian airline was shot down with Russia help while flying over Ukraine. Moreover, due to the deadly outbreak of Ebola, health come onto the agenda, in the form of a separate statement on health.

Antalya, November 2015

At Antalya, Turkey, in November 2015, leaders dealt with terrorism in general, well beyond terrorist finance. They issued a separate G20 Statement on the Fight against Terrorism. It directly linked terrorism to international peace and security, the global economy, sustainable growth and development, the central role of the UN, human rights, refugees and humanitarianism, the internet, youth foreign fighters and UNSC resolutions.

Hangzhou, September 2016

The G20's growing security governance culminated at its latest summit in Hangzhou, China in September 2016. It did so under unlikely circumstances. G20 summit host China was one of only five permanent veto members of the UNSC and a founding member of the regular summits of the five-country BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, where it was better positioned to advance its security priorities.

Yet the year before Hangzhou, in their Antalya Summit communiqué, G20 leaders had agreed that they would deal with terrorist finance in 2016. Preparation for the summit had advanced to the point where, on May 26, 2016, China's foreign minister Wang Yi (2016) announced ten summit deliverables. The seventh was on anti-corruption, through creating principles, a research centre, and an action plan for international fugitive repatriation and asset recovery.

In the preparatory sherpa process, China from the start had strongly pushed its domestic priority of anti-corruption, particularly its components of asset recovery and fugitive repatriation. Others sought to emphasize respect for human rights. At the third sherpa meeting, China shifted to a more accommodating approach. It allowed language on human rights to appear in its zero draft of the Hangzhou communiqué. A Canadian proposal to add a prohibition against paying ransom to terrorists to free their hostages was initially resisted by its G7 partners, even though they had accepted it at their G7 summit a few months earlier. Yet it appeared in the final Hangzhou communiqué.
On the afternoon of September 3, China's President Xi Jinping opened the Business 20 (B20) Summit with a most impressive and inspirational keynote speech (Kirton 2016b). Addressing the world's big business leaders, he surprisingly highlighted climate change near the start and peace and security toward the end. He suggested that there can be no economic growth without peace and security. He highlighted the need for all to respect the values embedded in the UN charter. He spoke of China's leading contribution to UN peacekeeping and the causalities its own troops have suffered on their missions in Mali and South Sudan, and emphasized that differences between countries such as territorial issues should be solved through dialogue. This was a clear signal to Russian president Vladimir Putin and his actions in Ukraine and perhaps also to those wondering how the disputes in the South China Sea and the Chinese-Indian border would be addressed by the Chinese side.

The Xi participated in the standard sideline summit of the BRICS (Wang 2016). In their concluding media note, the BRICS leaders expressed strong support for the approach and work of China for the Hangzhou Summit. In particular, they "appreciated the emphasis by the Chinese Presidency on the development agenda," one which now contained political security subjects as an integral part of the SDGs. They also backed the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialization in Africa and Least Developed Countries and the G20's work on IMF reform and trade facilitation.

Hangzhou was Ban Ki-Moon's last summit as UN secretary general. Consistent with the UN's primary mission of preserving international peace and security, his public speech just before the summit started covered a wide range of security-related subjects, in particular the need to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

In their concluding communiqué issued at the end of the summit, G20 leaders began by clearly declaring that the G20 was now the centre of global governance across all financial and economic, social and sustainable development, and political-security domains. They also forged the links among them, stating that geopolitical developments such as "increased refugee flows as well as terrorism and conflicts also complicate the global economic outlook." The leaders subsequently affirmed their full respect for human rights, made democratic and human rights principles equal to financial stability and inclusiveness ones, linked economic and social issues to geopolitical conflicts, aggressively acted against paying terrorists ransom and for asset recovery and fugitive repatriation, and created a secretariat in China on anti-corruption.

The Hangzhou communiqué made six commitments on anti-corruption, among the 139 it produced. It created in China "an international tax policy research centre for tax policy design and research" and a "Research Centre on International Cooperation Regarding Persons Sought for Corruption and Asset Recovery in G20 member states." These two new issue-specific secretariats doubled the G20's number and took them into the political security field. The communiqué made seven references to the UN, more than the six the World Bank received.


The G20's strengthening, expanding success as a global security governance has flowed from several causes.

First, on the global demand side, are shocks showing the vulnerability of even the most powerful countries, from the United States in 2001, to France in 2015 to Germany in 2016. Many G20 countries had citizens killed in the 9/11 attacks. Such security threats of both a new, non-state and old-state origin require a response using financial and economic instruments, such as sanctions. Moreover, rising threats to human security such as infectious disease and migration require military instruments to respond.

Second, on the global governance supply side, multilateral organizational failure is increasingly evident as the UNSC, the UN as a whole, and security organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have been unable to stop the rising deadly security shocks. Nor have the informal summits of the G7/8 or BRICS, nor unilateral border closing or military intervention by the major powers.

Third, national and human security, starting with terrorism in 2001, is intimately, integrally and increasingly linked to the G20's dual core missions and competence or promoting financial stability and making globalization work for all.

Fourth, the G20 has the right array of global and diverse systemically significant states to create the collective capabilities required to effectively respond.

Fifth, leaders alone are responsible for addressing abroad all issues with which their governments deal at home, deciding which are the urgent priorities and treating them in a coherent way, using all effective instruments at hand. In informal, intergovernmental institutions such as the G20 that they directly operate, there are no formal rules or higher ranking authorities to tell them what they can or cannot do. They have thus increasingly invoked their freedom and responsibility to make the link.

The Future

In the future, the G20 will continue to grow as a global security governor, starting in Germany this year.

New, non-state security shocks such as terrorism are now becoming a chronic, continuous threat, as the 2016 Christmas market attack in Berlin and the New Year's Eve attacks in Istanbul showed. Migration, health and climate change challenges compound the threat. Rising too are the traditional state-produced security threats from North Korea, Iran and now cyberwarfare in the digital economy age.

Other international institutions and unilateral border closings or interventions by major powers remain an inadequate response. Even building a firewall at the border will not stop the self-radicalization of troubled individuals inspired by the traditional media, as seen in the terrorist attack in Quebec City, Canada, that killed six Muslim worshippers on January 28, 2017.

Germany's priorities and its 15 agenda items for Hamburg contain several with clear security links. They start with terrorism, corruption and the causes of displacement. They continue with food security, global health and the SDGs, starting with SDG 16 for peace, justice and strong institutions.

Improving G20 Security Governance

The challenge for the G20 is thus not to shrink the summit back to an imagined economic core, but to strengthen it to respond to the growing security threats. Among the many steps to take, five stand out.

First, leaders should meet more often and for longer. They could resume meeting twice a year by also gathering at the opening of the UN each September. And they should meet for longer, to have more leaders-only meals, of the sort that worked in St. Petersburg in 2013.

Second, they should make their foreign ministers meetings a regular, annual event. At times the latter could be accompanied by their defence minister colleagues, as dictated by the agenda, such as combatting terrorist at its source.

Third, they should give the UN Secretary General the same status in the G20 that the heads of the International Monetary and World Bank have had from the start.

Fourth, they should add the missing member of Nigeria. It was identified as worthy at the G20's creation in 1999 (Kirton 2013). It is a key source of the migration, corruption and terrorism that Hamburg will focus on.

Fifth, they should collectively recognize and act on the links to security of the many core subjects on their agenda, using the SDGs as a guide.


Carin, Barry (2010), "The Seoul G20: Challenge and Opportunity," SERI Quarterly (October): 13-20.

G20 (2008), "Declaration of the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy," Washington DC, November 15.

Gingras, Alexandre (2010), "Pre-emptive Peace: Collective Security and Rogue States in the 21st Century," Master's Thesis, Uppsala Universitet, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, June.

Kirton, John (2001), "Canadian Foreign Policies Since September 11: Implications for Canada in North America in the World." Remarks prepared for testimony before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa, November 22.

Kirton, John (2013), G20 Governance for a Globalized World (Farnham: Ashgate).

Kirton, John (2016a), China's G20 Leadership (London: Routledge).

Kirton, John (2016b), "G20: Open Up New Horizons for Development," CRI English, September 6.

Lee, Dong-hwi (2010), "The Political-Security Context for the Seoul Summit," in John Kirton and Madeline Koch, eds., G20: The Seoul Summit: Shared Growth Beyond Crisis(London: Newsdesk Media), pp. 166–67.

Pentillä, Risto (2003), The Role of the G8 in International Peace and Security (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Smith, Gordon and Peter Heap (2010), "We're Running Out of Chances," Ottawa Citizen November 4.

Wang, Alissa (2016), "BRICS Summit: Has a Bridge Been Built?" BRICS Research Group, September 5.

Wang, Yi (2016), "Strive to Achieve Ten Results from the G20 Hangzhou Summit." Beijing, May 26.

[back to top] [back to text]

Appendix A: Conclusions, Commitments & Compliance by Issue Area, 2008–16

Issue area Conclusions Commitments (assessed for compliance) Compliance
Score Percentage


  10 (1) 10.0% +1.00 100


  36 (1) 2.8% +0.95 98


2.7% 16 (2) 12.5% +0.73 87


  402 (23) 5.8% +0.60 80

Migration and refugees

  7 (1) 14.3% +0.60 80

Labour and employment

  100 (16) 16.0% +0.55 78


  38 (4) 10.5% +0.53 77

Financial regulation

  271 (20) 7.4% +0.50 75


  105 (16) 15.1% +0.45 73

Food and agriculture

  64 (6) 9.4% +0.39 70


  6 (5) 83.3% +0.41 71

International financial institutions

  120 (5) 4.2% +0.34 67


  193 (45) 23.3% +0.32 66

Climate change

  53 (22) 42.0% +0.29 65


  133 (14) 11.0% +0.26 63

International cooperation

  39 (2) 5.1% +0.15 58

Crime and corruption

5.0% 78 (7) 9.0% +0.14 57

Information and communication technologies

  49 (1) 2.0% +0.10 55


  1,836 (191) 10.4% +0.41 71

[back to top] [back to text]

Appendix B: G20 Leaders Conclusions on Terrorism, 2008–16

Year # words % total words # paragraphs % total paragraphs # documents % total documents # dedicated documents
2008 Washington 144 4.0% 4 4.9% 2 100% 0
2009 London 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0
2009 Pittsburgh 426 4.6% 3 2.3% 1 33.3% 0
2010 Toronto 212 1.9% 3 1.6% 3 75% 0
2010 Seoul 111 0.7% 1 0.3% 1 20% 0
2011 Cannes 664 4.7% 2 1.3% 1 33.3% 0
2012 Los Cabos 344 2.7% 2 1.0% 1 25% 0
2013 St. Petersburg 497 1.7% 5 0.9% 3 27.3% 0
2014 Brisbane 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0
2015 Antalya 770 5.5% 11 3.1% 3 50% 1
2016 Hangzhou 616 3.8% 5 0.5% 2 50% 0
Average 344 2.7% 3 1.4% 1.5 37.6% 0.1

Data are drawn from all official English-language documents released by the G20 leaders as a group. Charts are excluded.
"# of Words" is the number of terrorism-related subjects for the year specified, excluding document titles and references. Words are calculated by paragraph because the paragraph is the unit of analysis.
"% of Total Words" refers to the total number of words in all documents for the year specified.
"# of Paragraphs" is the number of paragraphs containing references to terrorism for the year specified. Each point is recorded as a separate paragraph.
"% of Total Paragraphs" refers to the total number of paragraphs in all documents for the year specified.
"# of Documents" is the number of documents that contain terrorism subjects and excludes dedicated documents.
"% of Total Documents" refers to the total number of documents for the year specified.
"# of Dedicated Documents" is the number of documents for the year that contain a terrorism-related subject in the title.

[back to top] [back to text]

Appendix C: G20 Leaders Conclusions: Crime & Corruption, 2008-16

Year # words % total words # paragraphs % total paragraphs # documents % total documents # dedicated documents
2008 Washington 229 6.3 3 4.2 1 100 0
2009 London* 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009 Pittsburgh 399 4.3 3 2.8 1 100 0
2010 Toronto* 379 3.4 5 3.5 2 100 0
2010 Seoul 1799 11.4 23 10.5 4 80 1
2011 Cannes 1143 8.0 15 7.7 2 100 0
2012 Los Cabos 496 3.9 5 3.4 1 50 0
2013 St. Petersburg 1779 6.2 22 4.1 4 36 0
2014 Brisbane 265 2.9 2 0.9 1 20 0
2015 Antalya 370 2.7 4 1.1 3 50 0
2016 Hangzhou 896 5.6 8 0.7 2 50 0
Average 705 5.0 8.2 3.5 1.9 62.4 0.1

Data are drawn from all official English-language documents released by the G20 leaders as a group. Charts are excluded.
"# words" is the number of TOC-related subjects for the year specified, excluding document titles and references. Words are calculated by paragraph because the paragraph is the unit of analysis.
"% total words" refers to the total number of words in all documents for the year specified.
"# paragraphs" is the number of paragraphs containing references to TOC for the year specified. Each point is recorded as a separate paragraph.
"% total paragraphs" refers to the total number of paragraphs in all documents for the year specified.
"# documents" is the number of documents that contain TOC subjects and excludes dedicated documents.
"% total documents" refers to the total number of documents for the year specified.
"# dedicated documents" is the number of documents for the year that contain a TOC-related subject in the title.
* Meeting in addition to annual scheduled meeting.

Introduction and Definition of Issue Area

Transnational organized crime (TOC) is defined as "organized illegal activity that crosses state boundaries." TOC poses an international threat when the activities in one state affect the sovereignty of multiple states by challenging their policies, laws and law enforcement initiatives. TOC includes a wide variety of forms: the drug trade, money laundering, tax evasion, rogue banking, nuclear materials' smuggling, conventional arms smuggling and sales, cyber crime, high tech crime, alien smuggling and illegal immigration, extraterritoriality, and government corruption. With regard to corruption, the definition can extend from organized international activities (such as the external illegal sale of raw materials) to individual un-coordinated actions within a domestic state, with proceeds often sent or spent abroad. Due to its close connections with terrorism, through the channels of terrorist financing and surveillance, the issue of TOC assumed prominence in the wake of the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001. Since then, it has led to growing concern with transparency and corruption, as part of the G20's good governance agenda to promote sound fiscal management and investment practices around the world.

[back to top] [back to text]

Appendix D: G20 Direction Setting Affirmations

Summit Democracy/Individual Liberty Financial Stability and Globalization for the Benefit of All Ratio
2008 Washington 12 18 2:3
2009 London 9 35 9:35
2009 Pittsburgh 29 32 29:32
2010 Toronto 12 79 12:79
2010 Seoul 22 102 11:51
2011 Cannes 22 50 11:25
2012 Los Cabos 34 66 17:33
2013 St. Petersburg 18 181 18:181
2014 Brisbane 1 22 1:22
2015 Antalya 2 35 2:35
2016 Hangzhou 39 40 39:40
Overall Total 200 660 10:33

[back to top]

This Information System is provided by the University of Toronto Library
and the G20 Research Group at the University of Toronto.
Please send comments to:
This page was last updated March 06, 2017 .

All contents copyright © 2017. University of Toronto unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.