Immediate and Emergent Statement: No time to lose: G20 should translate words into actions
Osaka, 29 June 2019
The G20 must take action to address the real challenges ordinary people around the world face. G20 commitments must be translated into concrete, timely and realistic actions. The G20 must be accountable, responsive and resolute in addressing global challenges which requires global solutions. Through its respective working groups, the Civil 20 (C20) issues the following reactions to the Leaders’ Declaration of the 2019 Osaka G20 summit.
We welcome the G20’s endorsement of new High Level Principles for Effective Protection of whistleblowers, and call for G20 countries to implement them urgently. The increased prominence of anti-corruption in the Declaration and commitment to implement the current Action Plan are encouraging signs, but the G20 musn’t overlook more than 60 existing anti-corruption resources.
We welcome the mention in the G20 Leaders’ Declaration that G20 countries promote inclusive and equitable quality education for all and continue supporting girls’ and women’s education including access to quality primary and secondary education. We also welcome the “G20 Education Initiative on Human Capital Investment for Sustainable Development”. We expect G20 countries continue to discuss concrete commitments to achieving SDG4.
Environment, Climate and Energy
The G20 has failed to commit to scaling up climate action and simply repeated existing language, leading the world to a dangerous situation. The G20 must confront the urgency of the climate crisis, and political momentum needs to be built before the UNSG Climate Summit in September. There is no time left.
Achievement of the “25by25” target should be predicated on ‘decent work’ and we urge G20 countries to adopt and fulfill national implementation plans to achieve the target. G20 countries should ratify the ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. Adequate mechanisms, such as G20 Gender WG, should be established so that gender mainstreaming strategies are effectively pursued.
We commend the G20 for its strong focus on health as a prerequisite to development, in the Leaders’ Declaration as well as throughout the Osaka Summit processes. We welcome the reaffirmation of commitments to healthy ageing; combatting antimicrobial resistance and health emergencies; ending the AIDS, TB, and malaria epidemics; and working towards achieving UHC including through greater collaboration between finance and health ministries. However, we are extremely disappointed that the principle of equity is missing, as well as the critical role of civil society and communities affected by diseases in achieving health goals. Also, we urge G20 countries to make concrete financial commitments to relevant AMR initiatives without delay to actually advance drug/diagnostics R&D. We call on G20 States to send the highest level of representation to address these issues at the upcoming High Level Meeting on UHC in September.
The Leaders adopted the “G20 Principles on Quality Infrastructure Investment.” However, their commitment on climate change was very weak, and it is disappointing that they did not end their support for coal infrastructure, which is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement.
International Financial Structure
The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting agreed on a work plan to formulate a new taxation system for global IT giants. However, what is needed now is a fundamental reform of international taxation system, not limited to specific business models, and moving away from the current transfer pricing system to unitary taxation of multinationals.
Labour, Business and Human Rights
We welcome the G20 decision to regularly report back on reducing the gender gap in employment by 25% by 2025. We urge the G20 to do the same for reducing the percentage of young people who are at risk of being permanently left behind in the labour market, with a target of 15% by 2025. We also urge the G20 to create a National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights, as previously committed.
Trade and Investment
“Protectionism vs Free Trade”, one of main agenda items of the G20, is a fake dichotomy – the real problems are “neoliberal market fundamentalism vs sustainability for people and planet”. The G20 has failed to reach an agreement on the specific content and method of WTO reform and steel excess capacity. We call for fair trade rules for all WTO members.
The G20 tried to promote e-commerce negotiations in the WTO for Free Data Flow, but could not reach an agreement. In addition, the Human-Centered AI Principle by G20 also remained abstract. A global discussion involving civil society on the issues of human rights, society, environment and governance is urgently needed.
Local to Global and Civic Space
Despite the increasing restrictions on fundamental freedoms and the shrinking civic space in many parts of the world, the G20 failed to raise the issue in its agenda. Even in G20 countries, we continue to witness persecution and incarceration of minorities and social leaders, as well as the infringement of freedom of speech. We urge G20 countries to commit to take concrete actions to put an end to the criminalisation and stigmatisation of human rights defenders. We are highly concerned about the trend of prioritizing economic benefit over Human Rights. We insist that the involvement of civil society in the G20 process should not be disturbed by unnecessary restrictions on access to media, information and meetings. The G20 host country should seek the full participation of civil society in the G20 process and guarantee stakeholders’ participation and citizens’ access to the summit process. G20 leaders must hear the voices of citizens and local communities and change their decision-making process to a more democratic and participatory one.
We, the C20, commend G20 leaders on reaching some consensus but we ask for concrete actions, not words. Action is urgently needed for the G20 to transform the world into sustainable, fair and peaceful space.