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Mexico's G20 Leadership Represents a Global Shift

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Away from the established centres of power, the world is changing fast. The first meeting of the G20 Foreign Ministers taking place today demonstrate again the need for Britain to continue to build new alliances.

For the first time ever the G20 will be chaired by, and held in, Mexico: an indicative sign of the shift which enhances the status of fast-rising economies.

On the table for discussion will be green growth, poverty, job creation for people around the world, anti-corruption, global development, and global governance - issues being addressed in a broader context than before at the G20 level. We welcome a wider range of countries becoming willing to lead on addressing global problems.

In 1999, when the Canadian Finance Minister first visualised the G20, the world was a very different place. The label of BRIC was unknown, and yet is already outdated.

The major new international powers are now hugely important partners, as are other nations just outside of the G20. When the UK talks of the importance of Latin America, we should not think just of Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, but also other regional powers like Colombia and Chile; when businesses consider investing in Asia, they should not just target the massive markets of India and China, but remember neighbours such as Vietnam and the Philippines.

The development of Mexico underlines this important shift. Not only is it emerging as an economic powerhouse, it is a significant political power with a responsible and enlightened global attitude.

Rightly a full member of the G20 and the OECD, Mexico offers strong and energetic leadership. Its role on climate change in Cancun, followed by South Africa's leadership in Durban, shows that it has earned its place at the top table.

Over the course of the year Mexico, as the chair of the G20, has the tough job of steering the other members to get the global economy on to a sustainable footing. The task is great - but the huge economic growth and advances in health, education and social welfare in Mexico demonstrate their capability to effectively lead discussions.

Mexico has captured the spirit of what the G20 is about: mutual co-operation on issues of mutual importance, as equals, away from old divisions based on geographical politics and historic labels. That is why Mexico's Minister for Foreign Affairs has called foreign ministers from the G20 together for the first time to talk about a wider set of challenges we face as a global community.

Like the UK, Mexico understands that in a world of inter-related economies and environments, with international trade, travel and migration, it is impossible to address the ailments of the global economy in isolation. This is not a distraction from the economic crisis; this is central to a lasting solution.

In a more inter-related world, how nation states fare in a globalised economy rests on having international governance that works. The decision-making machinery exists: the political will to use it effectively needs to develop further.

The G20 should be ambitious about meeting the Millennium Development Goals - eight international development goals, which include eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates and developing a global partnership for development. All 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organisations have agreed to achieve this by 2015. The international community should show leadership on what we do to take global development action a step further and what comes after the existing goals expire in 2015 - and the UK is committed to doing everything we can to drive that forward.

The nature of the economic crisis means we need to think creatively about how to achieve growth but avoid returning to the same problems in a decade. We must work with countries that offer leadership on every continent of the world. We must help the world's poorest people, and design our economies to make sure they are resilient to business, economic and environment shocks in the years to come.

The Mexicans have brought international foreign ministers together to consider just such questions. It is another ideal opportunity for Britain to forge new alliances in our national interest and which benefits people across the world.

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