GASIn the columns of the Global Journal just one year ago, Pascal  Lamy described global governance as politics still in the  gaseous state. Over those 12 months, these “excited” electrons  (we call them GIPS, or Global Issue Players) have carried out  their chaotic but constructive interaction. And here, sweet surprise,  enters into force a new player, the R20 led by the former  governor of California, a great lover of concrete achievements. 

As the R20 was setting up its offices in Villa Montfleury, with  the support of the Canton of Geneva, and by mutual agreement  between Arnold Schwarzenegger, the UN Secretary General  Ban Ki-moon and the Administrator of the UN Development  Program Helen Clark, its new Executive Director was chosen,  in the person of Christophe Nuttall, currently director for innovative  partnerships at UNDP, Geneva. Meanwhile, Global was  in Los Angeles for an exclusive and uncompromising interview  with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Honorary President and founder  of the R20.

Here, he talks about his political record, the R20  project and its goals. How, with a few faithful members of his  Green Battle in California, like Linda Adams and Terry Tamminen,  he has gathered a global team and a top international  network. And how he has not forgotten the urgency of climate  change and has his sights on Durban and Rio where he wants  to present the first concrete results of the R20 and its roadmap  for 2020, the “20” of “R20” and whose “R” stands for “Region”.  Because there is no question of limiting the R20 to 20 regions,  says Schwarzenegger. On the contrary.   

We have also interviewed several policymakers who have  joined the former governor, from Europe, Africa or Asia and  who are themselves governors, bankers, UN experts, from  NGOs and business. Why do they believe in the R20? What do  they expect? What are they willing to do for its success? Their  own answers are worth more than any long introduction. 

At a time when many consider the G20 itself as a failure  (what legitimacy, what results?), as the BRICS show their  teeth, potentially further undermining the G20, as the UN  goes through a difficult phase with its effectiveness constantly  questioned and the thorny issue of the Security Council still  an obstacle, the arrival of the R20 is good news, for it pulls  together all these elements driven by the urgency of climate  change.

The R20 embodies the idea of a new economy integrating  climate, sustainability, equality, skills, financing, employment  and profit. Even beyond that object, the R20 is also a new  tool of governance, being primarily a method and not another  institution. “Project-oriented” promises Chris Nuttall! The  R20 can catalyze means, needs and people, strengthened by  Schwarzenegger’s ability “to crack the Carbon code,” as Tamminen  calls the challenge in California. For once, Americans  are playing multilaterally and the game merits close attention.  We have too often seen federations of cities or regions with  no large U.S. presence turn into simple, even if not useless,  forums. The R20 has strong cards to win its bet. We will be following  it with interest.  

To read the interview, order a copy of the magazine

A. Schwarzenegger, L.A. April 14, 2011 ©Pascal Dolémieux for The Global Journal