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Behind the Headlines: Toronto Summit(s) and Development

The G-8 and G-20 summits held in Canada last week yielded few headlines on development issues, but there was plenty of rhetoric about global interdependence and poverty reduction and a handful of promising, if mostly modest, development initiatives just below the media’s radar.

As expected, the G-20 declaration focused on when and how to unwind stimulus programs that helped to avert a global economic collapse, and on strengthening regulation of the financial sector to avoid a repeat of the 2008–09 financial crisis.

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No surprises on the G-20 front.  Deficits and financial sector reform dominated the headlines coming out of last weekend’s Toronto Summit.  Development appeared largely as an afterthought.  Even though my heart and head are hopelessly hitched to development policy, I think the focus was about right.  Ensuring robust recoveries in G-20 nations will do more to support growth in poor countries than endlessly rehashed debates about global aid flows.  Leave that for the UN MDG Summit this September.  That said, the G-20 did do something small worth highlighting.  Tucked away unobtrusively in the