On December 1 and 2, I attended the B20 conference under the German presidency in Berlin. Berlin is the city where I was given an opportunity to intensively study German language, constitutional theories and political philosophy for three semesters. Whenever I come back to this city, I’m reminded of what I felt and thought about in the past with overwhelming loneliness and hope for the future. And now, I’m accepted by the global leadership’s entity entitled “B20”, despite of the fact I voluntarily went out of governmental capacity and have been trying to change the world from outside of previous social frameworks.
Actually, B20 is still in transition process where all the participants are urged to find out why they get together there. It may sound a little bit ridiculous for those who don’t attend the process. However, it’s true that the participants are still seeking to define what it is. The terms of reference differ from presidency to presidency. For example, the previous Chinese presidency just concentrated on adapting itself to what western-oriented international organizations such as OECD had “kindly” instructed, except for Alibaba’s (pseudo-private) initiative to build up the so-called “World Trade Platform” for the sake of digitalized SMEs.
This time, the German presidency gives the participants sufficient opportunities in the venue to speak out what they were thinking about the future of global community, whereas the German Federal Government obviously tried to persuade them to accept their policies to be discussed in not B(usiness)-level, but G(overnmental)-level. For the German secretariat, governmental policies are preferred. From its viewpoint, all the participants on the B-level should understand what the Federal Government means to do, not vice versa.
B20 has been de facto regarded as a “bridge” between WEF and G20, at least so far. The “inner core” group of WEF, which might have been closely related with the esteemed western houses of financiers, is always entitled to show guidelines to the rest of the world, which international organizations are obliged to convert into specific policies. The global business communities have to be enough enlightened to understand them and are given opportunities to do “pseudo-discussions” in the framework of B20. Through B20 process, the above shown policies are to be handed over to G-level, while G20 is called on to implement all the policy recommendations of B20 originally generated by the “inner core” of WEF. The mechanism per se is perfect and is somehow maintained. However, B20 is gradually getting involved in “Sinnkrise”, or crisis of “raison d’être”.
Along with other participants, I dared to speak out for a couple of minutes in Taskforce Meeting for “Energy, Climate & Resource Efficiency”. Let me summarize what I meant to express as follows:
-Since 2015 under Turkish presidency, I’ve been trying to actively participate in B20 process. Nevertheless, nothing significant happened so far, even though all the participants enthusiastically discussed in the B20 process.
-The time has been coming, when business leaders should not rely on governments any more to tackle essential issues such as climate change, as they have done so far. In the aftermath of the previous financial crisis in 2008, all the governments are still suffering and don’t have capacity to react on business leaders’ requests properly.
-Instead, all the private entities and organizations, which are dedicated to directly global issues, shall be urgently called on to collaborate with B20. In this mean, B20 needs to think “outside the box” and depart from the previous principle to just hand over its “wish list” to G-level.
-Plus, we, B20 members, need a specific “arm” to reach the goal for our common future. In this context, I personally drafted a proposal to build up a global rescue fund to tackle global common issues such as climate change, nuclear disasters and environmental protection (Please don’t forget Fukushima!). The fund shall dedicate itself to intensively invest to innovative technologies, for e.g., low carbon technologies, to accomplish the goal.
-One of the esteemed houses in East Asia kindly showed great interest in my initiative and could pledge nearly 150 billion USD for this purpose. All of the B20 participants are invited to give requests and comments to me. On December 8, I’ll be given an opportunity to discuss the issue with the leader of this house.
When I said at the very beginning of my speech, “To be honest, I’m extremely frustrated. Since nothing significant has happened so far in spite of our intensive discussions in B20”, the majority of the participants impressively showed their sympathy, which I thought to be a very positive sign for making the better world. After the session, some of the (rather younger) participants kindly showed their willingness to collaborate with me in this regard.
In the reception after the general meeting, I had an opportunity to directly express my “frustration” to Juergen Heraeus, this year’s B20 Chairman. “While the previous B20 process concentrated on making “wish lists” to G20, B20 gradually needs its own ‘arm” to combat global issues. Which one should be prioritized?”, I asked. Dr. Heraeus spontaneously answered, “We need the both”, which sounded persuading at least to me.
All we need is not just ideas but “money”, which can realize our dreams. From my viewpoint, it’s the Japanese leadership that is capable of combining the former with the latter, as they successfully did in terms of establishment of BIS beyond conflicts of interest among western powers. In this mean, I felt again the “sea change” towards Pax Japonica. Stay tuned.