RIYADH, 14 January 2020 – The Civil Society Engagement Group (C20) concluded its Kick-off Meeting in which more than 25 representatives of civil society from 14 different countries, joining in person and others via teleconference, charted a roadmap to ensure a robust participation by civil society in the G20 process.
Coming at a time of heightened tension, the C20 called for the international community to address the threats to peace and stability. It also called on governments to resolve the many crises affecting people both internationally and locally, including the climate emergency, threats to human rights, gender inequality, limits to freedom of expression, shrinking of space for civil society, economic inequality, and financial instability.
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. During the meeting, the C20 reaffirmed its commitment to these Principles guiding its work since adoption last year by the Engagement Group in Japan.
The opening statement of the C20 Kick-off Meeting highlighted the important role that civil society plays in the G20 process and committed to playing a positive role in growing space for civil society not just in G20 countries, including Saudi Arabia, but globally.
Participants, including those who have strengthened the C20 in previous years and those participating for the first time, had robust exchanges with the G20 representatives who attended part of the meeting, including the G20 Sherpa and Assistant Minister of Finance. The C20 voiced its concerns to the officials about the shrinking space for civil society and called for full access and participation of civil society in the G20 process.
The C20 approved the advocacy strategy, a guiding document that outlines the process whereby the C20 will work to bring the voices of civil society to the G20 process, and the action plan, which provides a detailed view of the C20’s activities of the year. In adherence with the group’s commitment to openness and transparency, these documents are publicly available online at civil-20.org.
The C20 works in a collaborative, transparent and inclusive manner to define its leadership structure to ensure a broad and diverse representation of civil society actors. The process began from the C20’s inception in 2013 and continues through its Kick-off meeting in Saudi Arabia following the handover of the chair from Japan. This year’s plan was further guided by the Principles, in consultation with the C20 Troika members (Japan, Saudi Arabia and Italy) and with the local and international civil society.
The Kick-off Meeting concluded with a renewed call to broaden the number and geographic representation of civil society organization participation and welcomes the participation of all civil society actors in the process. In particular, the C20 seeks civil society from the global south and all voices who have not participated in the past. Further, the C20 emphasizes the importance of consensus building and collaboration through its open engagement in the C20 Working Groups. The C20 is a global platform for all civil society to contribute their analysis and recommendations to build a shared voice with all civil society.
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. For more information, please visit https://civil-20.org/