Skip to content

NEWS: UN Secretary-General sidelined at G20 summit

The Toronto Star reports, “Missing from the G20 membership is the world’s top diplomat, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.”

“(He) will be in Toronto for the summit this weekend. But he’ll be at the sideline, not the head table, when leaders chew over critical global financial issues… Ban will be a guest, not an official participant at the G20 meetings, speaking only when spoken to.”

“Some say that’s no accident, and that the head of the UN, which represents 192 countries — many of them poor — is unlikely to be included anytime soon in the group that represents some 85 per cent of the world’s gross national product.”

At the last G20 summit in Pittsburgh, Ban did say in his one opportunity to speak to the leaders that, “More than one-third of the world’s population, and more than 85 per cent of the world’s countries are not represented here.”

Andrew Cooper, a distinguished fellow of Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, notes, “In 2008 it was clear that (Ban) wanted to have his own summit akin to the G20 in New York. But the (George W.) Bush administration wasn’t going to give ownership of the G20 to the UN.”

The Council of Canadians has argued that leaders should not meet in exclusive self-selected groups of eight or twenty, but at the United Nations, also known as the G-192.

We have also stated that the UN has the infrastructure and security to host critical international meetings on pressing issues. The 365-day budget for the UN is $1.9 billion. The 3-day budget for the upcoming G8/G20 summits is at least $1.24 billion.

The Toronto Star article is at–un-chief-will-be-seen-not-heard-at-g20-summit.

To support our ‘ACTION ALERT: Scrap the Summits’, please go to