As an official engagement group of the G20, the Civil 20 provides a forum for global civil society to raise issues of concern on behalf of people around the world. Yuka Iwatsuki, chair of the C20, explains its function in a changing world
The Civil 20 has been recognised as an official engagement group of the G20 since 2013, providing a forum for global civil society to engage with and influence the G20 on issues of concern to people around the world. Each year, civil society organisations from many countries come together in thematic working groups to reach collective policy positions. These working groups then seek to engage with and influence the G20 sherpa track process and working groups.
The C20 is a global collection of CSOs, who together boast a wide range of expertise. Our common goal is the urgent need to take actions for the 2030 Agenda and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Globally shared problems need globally shared solutions, particularly in the current economic and political context, with increasing challenges to multilateralism and democratic pluralism. The C20 is also an opportunity for CSOs to enable the voices of usually invisible and voiceless people to be heard, and to remind the leading governments of the world to leave no one behind in the pursuit of world economic and financial stability.
The participatory and democratic process of the C20
Argentina’s C20 in 2018 ensured a participatory, international decision-making process. To ensure continuity, in 2019 C20 Japan deployed the same structure, with a multinational steering committee and international advisory committee. Our main objective has been to contribute to the G20 summit’s discussions.
Thus, the C20’s main activities were to formulate detailed, consolidated policy recommendations in time for the G20 summit and to organise the C20 summit.
Following a dialogue among 221 CSO members and 45 Japanese government officials at the preparatory meeting in Tokyo in February 2019, this April we completed the 2019 C20 Policy Pack.
More than 436 non-governmental organisation colleagues participated through the discussion platform on our C20 2019 website.
This year the C20 has 10 working groups: on anti-corruption; education; the environment, climate and energy; gender; global health; infrastructure; international financial structure; labour, business and human rights; local to global (including civic space); and trade and investment. It also had one task force on the digital economy. Each working group reviewed past G20 commitments relevant to the particular issue, identified challenges and made concrete recommendations that civil society believes should be incorporated in the G20 summit leaders’ declaration.
The policy pack containing all these recommendations is available on our website. In April 2019, 10 C20 delegates met with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and submitted this policy pack to him.
The 2019 C20 summit
This year, the C20 summit was held on 21–23 April in Tokyo, with 841 participants from 40 countries. Members successfully engaged representatives from the G20 presidency and we presented our policy pack to the state minister of foreign affairs.
The C20 summit included high-level panels with the G20 sous-sherpa and a representative of the G20 finance track. Representatives from all other G20 engagement groups presented their progress and outlined their policy recommendations to the G20. The C20 summit covered a wide range of topics on the G20 agenda, enabling us to refine our common policy positions and deepening our common understanding.
The C20’s key message is that the G20 must take action to address the real challenges ordinary people around the world face. G20 commitments must be translated into concrete, timely and realistic actions. The G20 must be accountable, responsive and resolute in addressing global challenges.
We will continue our efforts as the C20 throughout the 2019 G20 summit, and under subsequent G20 presidencies.