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Development Forum for the G20

Date: 21 - 22 Oct 2010

  • Time:
  • Location: Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • Counterpart(s): Graduate School of Public Administration (GSPA) at Seoul National University


The time has come to put social development on the G20 agenda to help deal with the multiple crises the world is facing. This was agreed by participants at the Development Forum for the G20, organized by UNRISD and the Graduate School of Public Administration at Seoul National University in Seoul on 21–22 October 2010.

Since the London Summit in April 2009, the G20 has been a focal point for global discussion and policy making on global economic architecture. The global economic crisis is only one of many challenging the world. In 2008, sharp rises in food and oil prices hit the poor in developing countries particularly hard. Climate change is another cause for concern. Taking these broader considerations into account, how should the global economic regime be reconstituted in order to protect the poorest, and promote economic and social development that would make the world more equitable in the context of the multiple crises?

The Development Forum for the G20 addressed policy challenges to economic and social development in the context of global crises. It explored different policy solutions for local contexts to provide stakeholders with ideas on how to restructure the global economic governance and development framework. It also discussed different paths to economic and social development and demonstrated how they respond to multiple crises. Some of these paths show that equitable and sustainable development that combines economic and social development is not only desirable but possible. Participants shared experiences of national development and the response to multiple crises in countries with heterogeneous developmental paths, using the example of the Republic of Korea, which transformed itself from aid recipient to donor country. The forum aimed to, among other things, contribute to discussions of the G20 process and the G20 meeting in Seoul by putting social development at the centre of global economic recovery efforts.

The Development Forum was opened by UNRISD Director Sarah Cook, who highlighted the significance of placing development on the global economic governance agenda of the G20. She said that a development perspective is crucial for dealing with the multiple crises the world is facing.

Thandika Mkandawire, former Director of UNRISD and Chair in African Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science, spoke about the need to transform the world from one based on a global market order where market concerns influence decisions in every dimension of society to one where the market is subordinate to the social. He hoped that the G20 would be part of the transformation toward sustainable, redistributive and democratic development.

’Jìmí Adésínà, Professor at Rhodes University, South Africa, also called for an alternative vision of social policy that, he said, was encapsulated in the idea of transformative social policy, which performs the multiple roles of production, redistribution, protection and reproduction within a developmental vision.

Huck-ju Kwon, Professor at the Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University, said that the countries that successfully overcame the crises were ones with policies that focused not only on short-term contingencies but strengthened the capacity to deal with the structural causes of long-term insecurity—for example, through job creation, social protection and political legitimacy—and attended to the institutionalization and timing of the introduction of social protection schemes.

The last session of the Development Forum was organized as a panel discussion and was filmed and broadcast by the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS). The panel discussed issues related to economic and social development, the Millennium Development Goals, the effectiveness of Official Development Assistance and the role of the Republic of Korea as an emerging donor. The televised debate was intended to reach ordinary citizens, including young people interested in development issues.

To watch the KBS broadcast, click here.

The forum was followed by the 2nd Development Forum, held in Paris in October 2011.

For more detailed information, please contact Olive Cocoman at cocoman@unrisd.org or Ilcheong Yi at yi@unrisd.org.