C20 Summit held in Bogazici University, Istanbul on September 15-16 brought together participants from 52 countries. The policy recommendations developed by working groups and later refined by national and international consultations, are finalised at the Summit and published as ‘Civil Society has a Say’ under the summit communique.
The primary message for Civil Society Members to G20 leaders meeting in November is that they should include all concerns facing our world.
The rationale is to combat all inequalities and discrimination based on inter alia gender, socio-economic class, ethnic identity that was faced by millions of people of today. The increasing signs of social, economic, environmental and political disruption send an urgent signal for world leaders for immediate sustainable development actions.
Priority Issues identified through an online participatory consultation process have been:
- Inclusive growth
- Gender equality
- Governance (taxation and corruption primarily), and
All priority areas fell under sustainability in general, as might be expected during a year of ‘Sustainable Development’ (*), as we are waiting for a sign off of United Nation Members on Sustainable Development Goals later this week. (**)
We have previously discussed importance of inclusive growth among other priorities of Turkey Presidency, as Sustineo Istanbul (***) :
‘Of all the priorities of Turkey Presidency, inclusiveness deserves attention. It is a broad concept and it needs to be defined well: Given thematic priorities of Turkey (SME and LDCs), it might as well mean focusing on parts of domestic or global economy, which have been traditionally underserved and ignored; and yet have the potential to overcome secure stagnation problem.’
Further we’ve had doubts that climate change issues might not high on the agenda of Turkey Presidency:
‘Can G20 Presidency under Turkey support the 2015 sustainable development agenda as much as it deserves? Even though climate change is not high on the agenda of Turkey Presidency, bringing inclusiveness through SMEs and LDCs into the G20 agenda is definitely encouraging.’
To follow on our concerns, we would like to focus on the content and outcome of the ‘Sustainability: Climate Change and Energy’ pillar of C20.
Sustainability: Climate Change and Energy (****)
Based on the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report (*****) on keeping the global warming at 2⁰C so as limiting the catastrophic impacts of climate change, the Summit has focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency recommendations.
The timing of G20 Summit is mile stoned to be on a critical date (November 15-16) as it will follow adoption of Sustainable Development Goals at UN headquarters in New York with more than 150 world leaders attending the UN Sustainable Development Summit from September 25-27 and just before COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference on from November 30 to December 11 , which ,for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, will aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, of keeping global warming below 2°C.
G20 countries account for 76% of global greenhouse gas emissions; therefore, any binding commitment is not only a major step for decarbonisation in itself but also an intent around providing finance and technology for the rest of the world.
What are the challenges and recommendations / opportunities?
Challenge: Fossil fuel exploration exploration receives about $88 billion per year in public funding from G20 countries. This reverse subsidy is around $1,000 per citizen.
It is recommended that ‘shifting these subsidies to renewable energy, energy conservation and pro-poor investments will have multiple benefits for climate, health and finance’. New and innovative ways to finance the transition will be addressed and Official Development Aid (ODA) will be kept for its intended purpose.
Challenge: Privatisation of mega-projects might prove unsustainable where focus is on economic gains only and environmental and social good are underestimated.
Opportunity is in renewable energy and energy efficiency’s economic as well as social and environmental benefits. Investment in energy efficiency will bring more jobs and integrate billions to access to modern energy services. Energy efficiency will lead to improved productivity and competitiveness.
Therefore there should be a binding commitment for G20 leaders to make energy renewable and efficient by;
- 100% renewable by 2050 ;
- Making infrastructure investment a priority (such as smart grids, energy efficiency measures to reduce T&D losses, new technology investments, new storage investments, ..) ;
- Stopping fossil subsidies immediately and phasing out fossil by 2020;
- Shifting investments from mega to sustainable local and decentralised projects ;
- Increasing public climate finance for a fair and innovative transition to decarbonisation ;
- Developing the necessary bodies, plans, and control mechanisms for financial stability.
C20 concludes with saying that civil society is keen to continue dialogue with G20 leaders for a shared human development solution, which is united and benefits are enjoyed by all.
Given the diverse representation from civil society and the extent of the recommendations, we are hoping that they get high on G20 agenda.
Notes from the C20 Summit:
- The Summit was opened by C20 Chair, Ms. Zeynep Bodur Okyay, who delivered an authentic speech on how enlightening and inspiring the journey was, said the diversity of the summit as well as its content were to be noted.
- Gulay Barbarosoglu, Rector of Bogazici University, said that for a better world, we needed to create social, cultural and ecological value and deliver it to the society via democratic means.
- Sare Davutoglu, wife of Turkey Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, attended the Summit as a key note speaker and pulled the attention to the refugees worldwide as a major inhibitor of inclusive growth.
- Another keynote speaker was Dr Daron Acemoglu, (MIT, Co-author of ‘Wealth of Nations’), who talked on the relation between democracy, civil society and economy and said that for a quality growth, institutional checkpoints with civil society were necessary.
- C20 Turkey’s Final Communiqué was presented to @G20Turkey2015 Sherpa, Ambassador Ayse Sinirlioglu, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cevdet Yılmaz and ex-Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and concluded with C20 Chair Zeynep Bodur Okyay’s final comment that ‘G20 should consider inclusive growth’.
(*) ‘Year of Sustainable Development’ was the title of J.D. Sachs article appeared in Project Syndicate on December 2014
(**)The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a proposed set of targets relating to future international development. They are to replace the Millennium once those expire at the end of 2015. The SDGs were first formally discussed at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 (Rio+20). The Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda (IGN) began in January 2015 and ended in August 2015. Following the negotiations, a final document was prepared for adoption in the UN Sustainable Development Summit September 25th-27th, 2015 in New York, USA. The title of the agenda is Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld
(***)Turkey G20 Presidency at A ‘Year of Sustainable Development’, Pelin Yenigün-Dilek, Sustineo Istanbul, March 2015,
(****) C20 Summit 2015 Communique, ‘Civil Society has a say’, 15th-16th September 2015
More information can be found at:
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