Has the G20 Heard the Voice of the People?

Jakarta (30/6) – The Indonesian G20 Presidency holds the fate of people worldwide, including the poor from lower and middle-income countries. Civil 20 (C20) urges G20 leaders to listen and take action on the issues that directly impact people’s daily lives on their agenda. The pandemic has pushed at least 20 million people into extreme poverty. This is on top of 82.4 million people who were forcibly displaced and 161 million people who have to suffer acute food shortages. We need to question whether G20 has heard the voice of the people to address the multidimensional crisis worldwide. 

Business as usual is no longer workable to cope with the challenges of increasing global systemic risks. The interlinkages of health and economic crisis, social conflict and environmental devastation and climate change hamper the realization of global development and exacerbate the gaps in access to resources and inequalities among countries when dealing with post-pandemic recovery. C20 calls on the G20 leaders to reaffirm their commitment to leaving no one behind during the current transition period of the post-pandemic world that has seriously impacted people across the globe, particularly citizens of poor and developing countries. 

The Indonesian G20 Presidency must represent the developing countries and the power of the global south, and deliver an agenda that closely impacts the people’s daily lives. The G20 policy-making process could have been more transparent. Implementation of commitments remains a challenge and priority issues continue to be discussed without enough input from groups that are most affected by the recommended policy outcomes. “We call on G20 countries to match their rhetoric with action and meaningfully deliver on their pledges, the world has waited too long for this kind of leadership”, urges Dadang Trisasongko, Coordinator of the C20 Anti-Corruption WG.

The pandemic has caused setbacks for vulnerable groups as 1.6 billion learners and 73% of youth aged 18-29 years had been impacted by the post-pandemic circumstances to access the quality of learning for education, training and employment in 112 countries. Particular attention should also be given to girls, students with disabilities, those in disaster areas who are facing double hazards, and other marginalized children/youth. In addition, the education sector still also encounters a digital gap. Learners with no and limited access are still left behind and remain unsolved. As the quality of education deteriorates, and digitalization processes have accelerated the0 transformation of the job market, young people will hardly adapt to the future of work, given the ‘skills gaps’. 

Amid the alarming democratic setback the world is facing today, the G20 Presidency must also put serious attention to the issue of civic space. C20 draws attention to the global shrinking space phenomenon that affects civil freedom in all countries. “Among the G20 members, only two countries are in open civic space; meanwhile the rest, which represents more than half of the world population, are either narrowed, obstructed, repressed or closed,” reveals Gita Damayana, the C20 Civic Space Sub-Working Group Coordinator.

The C20 Vaccine Access and Global Health Working Group remind G20 as the 20 largest economies that any legitimate decision will influence and impact the global community. The Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) promoted by the G20 should focus on addressing existing inequalities to prevent future pandemics by prioritizing right-based, transformative, and people-centred approaches. The governing body of FIF needs to represent strong representative countries from Low-Income Countries (LICs) and Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), as well as communities and civil society.

“The Indonesian G20 Presidency must be able to resolve social, economic, health, environmental, humanitarian and education issues through adequate and quality development and humanitarian financing. Equally important, there should be no delay in achieving SDGs, ending corruption, fighting for sustainable finance and tax justice, assisting debt settlements in poor countries and gender equality.  Many people in the Low & Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) are relying upon the G20 leadership”, says Chair of C20, Sugeng Bahagijo. In doing so, it is important to urge G20 to listen to the voice of the people, to be transparent in the policy-making processes and generate policies that adopt a rights-based approach to lessen international development disparities and global economic recovery gaps that prioritize vulnerable groups, women, children, youth, people with disabilities, migrant workers and people at risk of economic instability, inequality and climate crisis. 

The C20 calls on the G20 Leaders to put larger attention and draw concrete actions to overcome the grassroots’ daily issues. The openness in involving and engaging with civil society in every G20 process determines whether or not the G20 has taken into its consideration the aspirations and voices of the citizens of the world.

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