4 things we learned at the G20

Martha Mackenzie and Joana Alfaiate have been taking a close look at last week’s G20 summit, when leaders from the world’s 20 major economies met to discuss key global issues. Here’s what they uncovered.

The G20 has the potential to have a huge impact on children’s lives. That’s why it matters so much to us.

It’s fair to say G20 leaders had a lot on their plate at their summit this year.

For us, four issues stood out:

1. The UK

Brexit did not go unnoticed.

G20 leaders expressed concern that Brexit has created additional uncertainty in the global economy. But they also noted that, with the global stage now more important than ever for the UK, the G20 is ideally positioned to address this global economic uncertainty.

Teresa May, UK Prime Minister, took the opportunity to begin informally discussing her country’s post-Brexit relationship with countries such as India and the US.

2. Refugees

Refugee children forced to flee violence in Burundi, now in a camp in Tanzania
Refugee children forced to flee violence in Burundi, now in a camp in Tanzania (photo: Tom Pilston/Save the Children)

The plight of refugees was definitely on the G20 agenda.

And while strong action on refugees was never an expected outcome from the summit, the plain fact that the G20 felt compelled to discuss the global refugee crisis signifies recognition of the need for a global response. It has set the tone for the twin ‘migration moments’ coming up at the UN General Assembly later this month.

Our job now is to turn last week’s words into action. We’re calling for financial support for refugees from the leading economies in the world. And we’re calling on governments to introduce policies that prioritise saving refugees’ lives, and that ensure refugee children are protected throughout their perilous journeys, as well as in the countries where they settle.

3. Tax

Following the Panama Papers leak earlier this year, tax issues were up for discussion – with tax transparency top of the agenda. Leaders were clear, however, that national commitments to tackle this issue must come first.

On this issue, the UK has a head start on G20 colleagues. It’s the first member of the G20 to establish a public central registry of company beneficial ownership, and is pursuing new legislation to introduce public country-by-country reporting.

As the UK looks to forge an international identity post-Brexit, it’s extremely well-placed to become a global champion for tax transparency.

4. Corruption

The huge amounts of money developing countries lose through corruption have made many headlines this year in the UK and other countries. The issue was brought to the fore by the UK government in May this year at the Anti-Corruption Summit.

The G20 explicitly welcomed the outcomes of that meeting in London and made a clear call for international cooperation on tackling corruption. All G20 members were urged to ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Leaders also endorsed the 2017–18 G20 anti-corruption action plan, which includes concrete measures to improve public and private sector transparency and integrity.

 

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