Think20 (T20), the G20’s research and policy network, welcomes the outcome of the G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit. The T20 reiterates its commitment to supporting the G20 through its research, and by providing policy advice to translate strategic goals into plans for action. We are reassured by the G20’s strategy and its vision for a multilateral approach to the current crisis. We strongly encourage the G20 to set timelines for action to reduce uncertainty and promote rapid economic and social recoveries. The T20 reaffirms the need for multi-stakeholder approaches that alleviate the immediate human suffering while keeping a strategic vision on the long-term investments needed to prevent future hardship.
The T20 shares the G20 leaders’ collective view regarding the need to take immediate and decisive action on the COVID-19 epidemic. We note that many positions taken during the G20 Virtual Leaders’ Summit are aligned with those expressed in our previous statement. In particular, the T20 welcomes the G20’s commitment to working swiftly and decisively with international organizations, notably the United Nations, World Health Organization (WHO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank Group (WBG) in developing and deploying a coordinated financial package. We note the joint IMF-WBG statement calling on all official bilateral creditors to suspend the debt payments of International Development Association (IDA) countries to enable the poorest countries to meet their immediate liquidity needs.
We welcome the G20 leaders’ determination to spare no efforts in restoring confidence to the financial markets and preserving financial stability. These are two important concerns of the T20, which were raised in its previous statement. We call on the G20 leaders to take immediate action to alleviate the financial stress on emerging economies, which have experienced large capital outflows during this crisis.
We are pleased that the G20 has asked the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to monitor the impact of the pandemic on employment. According to the ILO’s preliminary assessment, the pandemic could increase global unemployment by almost 25 million and push millions into working poverty. We restate that the G20 should prepare medium-term plans to support the most affected economic sectors in order to minimize job losses and provide better protection for low-income workers and their families.
We acknowledge the G20 leaders’ recognition that keeping the financial markets open, in a free, fair, and non-discriminatory trading environment, is essential for mitigating the pandemic’s impact on the global economy. In this regard, we reiterate our belief that global trade cooperation needs to be enhanced by lowering tariffs and avoiding export restrictions on medical devices and personal protective equipment.
As strategic economic policies and plans are developed, the T20 reaffirms the need to consider the human dimension of the current crisis. The T20 echoes the calls from the Civil Society 20 (C20) regarding the need for a permanent financial commitment to strengthening global health systems.
We support the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in highlighting the need to focus investment on eradicating poverty and inequality. The T20 calls for the G20 and the international community to recommit to multinational development assistance to achieve the United Nations’ (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are, collectively, a call to action to embrace sustainable development, end poverty, protect the planet and enhance prosperity with human dignity. They aim to improve the wellbeing of the global population through sustainable economic growth in peaceful and just societies, leaving no-one behind. Governments need to support a multilateral approach to achieving the SDGs by 2030. We commend the medical professionals on the front line of the current crisis and call on our community to reinforce the commitment from global leaders to develop national health infrastructures and services. This commitment could be key to helping achieve all U.N. SDGs, enabling national governments to more rapidly identify public health risks and help prevent future pandemics. Such measures would set the foundations for a more resilient society in the long term.
Within the next few months, the T20 will finalize several policy briefs that contain research- and fact-based policy recommendations to address issues raised by the coronavirus pandemic, which it will then provide to G20 leaders. We will work as a community to find transformational approaches to global problems and assist in translating the G20’s goals into short-, medium- and long-term plans.
This communique has been reviewed and endorsed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)