RIYADH, April 2020 – The Civil Society Engagement Group (C20) concluded its virtual Face-to-Face meetings under the theme “Stronger Together” held from March 22nd until April 2nd. Through online conferencing, more than 260 representatives from the civil society community around the world showed their resilience and drive to advocate for their causes even during the critical time the world is facing. The C20 discussed 8 different policy areas in their conversations with 27 G20 Officials from the following working groups and task forces:
- G20 International Financial Architecture Working Group
- G20 Infrastructure Working Group
- G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group
- G20 Education Working Group
- G20 Health Working Group
- G20 Digital Economy Task Force
- G20 Development Working Group
- G20 Environment Working Group
The C20 members reaffirmed that pre-existing global challenges such as climate change, threats to human rights, gender and economic inequalities, restrictions to freedom of expression, and financial instability and more should not be neglected because the current global pandemic. On the contrary, the civil society community called the G20 to put more emphasis on addressing these challenges in order to avoid the worsening of the crisis and mitigate its dire impacts on people, sustainable development and the 2030 SDGs Decade of Action. The C20 members also emphasized the urgency for the G20 to ensure that vulnerable members of society such as people in poverty, migrants, women, youth, the homeless, the elderly, and indigenous people are to be protected and prioritized.
Some of the key recommendation civil society presented to the G20 officials included:
- Creating a resilient global healthcare system that upholds quality care, protection of human rights, and fighting stigma related to illnesses. C20 members also urged leaders to benefit from the lessons learned from the efforts to fight Ebola, Tuberculosis and other diseases, as well as, supporting new approaches to R&D including funding and committing to universal health coverage.
- Ensuring universal access to education through the implementation of inclusive education policies focusing on disadvantaged groups including women and girls, persons with disabilities, indigenous populations, migrants, refugees, children in danger of child labor, people with mental illnesses, rural communities and people living in conflict war or suffering the impact of natural disasters.
- Developing national metrics to monitor children’s safety on the internet and assist in creating Online Protection Tools to monitor and control children’s access to sensitive content and protect them from being threatened or taken advantage of by online predators.
- Creating plans to invest in improving the ICT infrastructure, the delivery of Ed-tech, and technology to ensure accessibility to eLearning especially for low income youth and guarantee and enhance Internet connectivity in remote areas especially in the Global South.
- Improving and broadening social protection systems to accommodate the changing nature of labor markets, especially for those who are at most risk such as women, refugees, people living in working poverty, care workers, persons with disabilities, and young people.
- Reducing the financial restrictions on non-profit sectors around the world caused by financial institutions specifically banks’ risk aversion as a form on adhering the anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML-CTF) regulations. This would enable NGO’s and humanitarian actors to properly take on critical emergencies including the coronavirus pandemic.
- Aligning the concept of circular carbon economy, discussed by G20, with the needs to commit and accelerate climate action, just transition, biodiversity, environmental protection, and sustainable development.
The C20 is expected to issue its complete policy pack by the end of the second quarter of this year and aims to continue the dialogue on crucial issues related to gender and violence, the shrinking of civic space, environment, climate and biodiversity and other issues within it community and through virtual seminars that will be announced on its website and social media channels throughout this year.
Civil Society 20 (C20) is one of the eight official Engagement Groups of the G20. It provides a platform for Civil Society Organizations around the world to bring forth a non-government and non-business voice to the G20.
Independent of government, the C20 is guided by the C20 Principles of transparency, collaboration, independence, internationalism, inclusiveness, and respect for human rights and gender equality, which also serve as the central pillars of the engagement group’s work. For more information, please visit https://civil-20.org/