Switzerland today called for the United Nations to play a greater role in discussing the biggest global issues such as the recent financial crisis, warning that the bloc of major economies known as the Group of Twenty (G20) lacked legitimacy as a forum and did not consult enough with non-members.
Addressing the annual high-level segment of the General Assembly, held at UN Headquarters in New York, Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz said the G20 “has taken over a role in discussing important global issues. This development must not take place at the expense of other nations or global institutions such as the UN.”
The G20, which is holding a summit starting today in the United States city of Pittsburgh, is comprised of nations representing nearly 70 per cent of the world population and 90 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP).
Its members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the European Union.
But Mr. Merz told the Assembly that the bloc “lacks legitimacy [and] basic considerations of due process are absent in the sanctions procedures. The members of the G20 themselves are not subject to the same scrutiny.”
He said Switzerland wanted “a level playing field and a much better consultation among non-members of the G20,” and stressed the need for greater exchanges between the UN and forums such as the G20.
“The UN should continue along its reform path in order to reinforce its legitimacy,” Mr. Merz noted.