G20 Declaration Focuses on Fair, Sustainable Development


By Catherine Benson Wahlen

Leaders from the Group of 20 (G20) agreed on a declaration on ‘Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development’ that is people-centered, inclusive and forward-looking. Leaders focused on the future of work, infrastructure for development, a sustainable food future and a gender mainstreaming strategy across the G20 agenda, among other topics.

In the Declaration, G20 leaders reaffirm their commitment to leading the transformation towards sustainable development and supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the framework to advance this goal and the G20 Action Plan.

On a sustainable food future, G20 leaders reaffirm commitments to tackle food security and encourage the voluntary use and sharing of innovative and traditional agricultural practices and technologies. Leaders highlight the importance of collaboration among public and private stakeholders to facilitate adaptation, strengthen risk management, protect biodiversity and provide effective responses to reduce the impacts of extreme weather on agriculture. Leaders further commit to increase efforts to enhance efficiency, sustainability, productivity and value addition and encourage initiatives to reduce food loss and waste.

On education, G20 leaders recognize access to education as a human right and underline the importance of girls’ education. Leaders commit to promoting coordination between employment and equitable, quality education policies.

On gender, G20 leaders recognize gender equality is critical for economic growth and fair and sustainable development, and note progress in reducing the gender gap in labor force participation while affirming that more needs to be done. Leaders commit to continue to promote initiatives to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls and gender-based violence and to promote women’s economic empowerment and improve labor conditions for all, such as through access to quality and affordable care infrastructure and parental leave and reducing the gender pay gap. Leaders further commit to promote women’s access to leaders and decision making and increase their participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and high-tech sectors.

A strong economy and healthy planet are mutually reinforcing.

On infrastructure for development, G20 leaders reaffirm commitments to attract more private capital to infrastructure investment, and endorse the Roadmap to Infrastructure as an Asset Class and the G20 Principles for the Infrastructure Project Preparation Phase. Leaders commit to action to address data gaps, improve risk mitigation instruments and achieve greater contractual standardization.

On climate change, G20 leaders recognize that a strong economy and healthy planet “are mutually reinforcing,” and note the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15). Leaders recognize the importance of comprehensive adaptation strategies, and support actions and cooperation in developing countries, especially those that are particularly vulnerable, including small island developing States (SIDS). Having discussed low greenhouse gas (GHG) emission strategies, shared country experiences and considered the work programme on adaptation, leaders look forward to “successful outcomes” of the Katowice Climate Change Conference. Signatories to the Paris Agreement on climate change reaffirm commitment to its full implementation, reflecting common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC). The US reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and affirms its commitment to economic growth and energy access and security, “utilizing all energy sources and technologies, while protecting the environment.”

Also on energy, G20 leaders encourage energy transitions that combine growth with decreasing GHG emissions, and recognize opportunities for innovation, growth and job creation through increased investment in cleaner and sustainable energy sources. Leaders further recognize the “role of all energy sources and technologies in the energy mix and different possible national paths to achieve cleaner energy systems under the term ‘transitions’.” Leaders further commit to promote universal energy access by eradicating energy poverty.

On the future of work, G20 leaders recognize the importance of policy responses and international cooperation to ensure that benefits from technological transformations are widely shared. They endorse the Menu of Policy Options for the Future of Work, and state their commitment to consider individual country circumstances to harness technology to strengthen growth and productivity, support people during transitions and address distributional challenges, secure sustainable tax systems and ensure evidence-based decision making. Leaders further express commitment to, inter alia: promoting decent work, vocational training and skills development; making social protection systems strong and portable, subject to national law and circumstances; increasing labor force participation of underrepresented and vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities; implementing policies to improve the employment situation of young people, consistent with the G20 Antalya Youth Goal; and taking actions to eradicate child labor, forced labor, human trafficking and modern slavery in the world of work, including through fostering sustainable supply chains.

G20 leaders met in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 30 November to 1 December. Leaders from Argentina, Australia Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the EU participated in the Summit. Leaders from Chile, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Rwanda, Senegal, Singapore and Spain participated as guests.

This article was originally published by the IISD on October 11, 2018 – G20 Declaration Focuses on Fair, Sustainable Development. We grant you a nonexclusive, nontransferable, limited right to access, use and display the article, provided that you comply fully with the terms and conditions of the original publisher.

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