By Ann Hollingshead
Ann Hollingshead is a Task Force blog contributor, whose posts appear on Wednesdays and Fridays. Formerly a Junior Economist at Global Financial Integrity, Ann is now a Research Analyst for ECONorthwest, an economic consulting firm in the Pacific Northwest. Follow her on Twitter: @AnnHollingshead.
Mountaintops provide a convenient symbol for anything from achievement to power. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that the meeting of the world’s twenty most powerful leaders is called the G20 “summit.” Actually, the copycat nomenclature runs far deeper. For instance: the diplomats who lay the groundwork for the G20 leaders’ trip to the summit? They’re dubbed “Sherpa,” with a dash of self-aware irony, after the Nepalese guides who help mountaineers scale peaks inNepal. And with what may be a move to thrash the symbol to death, the G20 Sherpa’s aides are called “yaks.”
It was just over two years ago that the G20 started seriously talking about illicit financial flows. It was then that a leaked letter from Michael Froman, the U.S. Sherpa, ahead of the G20 Summit in 2009, read : “As we take these steps to increase the flow of capital to developing countries, we also need to prevent its illicit outflow. We should work with the World Bank and others to stem these flows and to secure the return of stolen assets to developing countries.”