Dubai : G200 summit, Post-2015 SDGs and the future we want (2017)

G200 Youth Forum - Source : g200youthforum.org
G200 Youth Forum - Source : g200youthforum.org
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LSU#35, february 2017

If we request from scholars in International relations or experts in Development Economics to once again probe the economic history of contended nations (Developed Countries), we will all come to a conclusion that; development is a function of political security.

The transformation of human perspective on how the global political economy system has evolved overtime; with a radical intercourse of technology, culture, literature, military idealism and the frosty dynamics of ecology, all has come to re-shape the fate of humanity to a new era where mankind come to a resolution that poverty is an arch-enemy to development, ending it for the establishment of a happy and prosperous life for all requires more than a cosmetic therapy or a vicarious escapism to the stockpile of over-lapping global socio-economic problems from climate change to multi-dimensional  insecurity.

Like a Dickensian tragedy, when we close our eyes, we see hope amplified with strong voices of advocacy and sure –fire determination all forming part of the strategic furniture of the Post-2015 SDGs.

But on the other side of the coin, when we open our eyes so wide to understand the nature of problems facing us at present; we see a repulsive fear, a fear that a pinch of laxity on the side of global leaders to fulfill their promise(s) to humanity will mean the rise of a crouching darkness, that which may come to define our new age.

Before the change of name, the G200 Association was formerly G20 Youth Forum. The Founder/President Ms. Ksenia Khoruzhnikova, moved by the tidal waves of globalization and critical need for cooperation in virtually all the sectors of political and socio-economic development, these feeling gave birth to the G200 Association to encompasses ‘all the countries in the world’ and provide a viable policy-dialogue platform for the actualization of an agenda for an inclusive international development.

I think Ksenia was right on this, because Zhenyu Sun also share the same perspective. Zhenyu Sun is the Chairman, China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, former Vice Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and also former Chinese Ambassador to the World Trade Organization. In his, ‘The G20 and Global Governance In Trade and Investment (Published April, 2016 by The E-15 Initiative), he argued that, one major challenge facing the G20 is that, not all resolutions passed at the G20 Summit are fully implemented. This partly due to under-representation of the G200 countries worldwide, only 10% are included in G20 decision-making, there-by denting the organizations authority.

Speaking at the Third Annual Africa G20 Johannesburg Conference hosted by South-Africa Institute for International Affair’s Economic Diplomacy Programme and the Humanities Department at the University of Pretoria, Walid Badawi, Country Director South Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) identified the multi-dimensionality of the contemporary global development challenges and the need for effective cooperation, this unfolding of current economic affairs, he said, means the G20 demand the rest of the world to diversity sources of global demand and destination for investing surpluses. The global economy ultimately needs developing countries and LICs to become new poles of global growth, hence their involvement to this movement is not only a critical pre-requisite for the successful conversion of policy dialogue but a guiding mechanism in the entirety of the process’.

A round-table for post-2015 SDGs at the Dubai 2017 G200 summit

A Round-Table for the Post-2015 SDGs at the Dubai 2017 G200 Summit/Conference/Debate will be an instrumental policy dialogue platform for global leaders to bring forward a new and collective energy towards achieving the true future we want by 2030. Since the official inauguration and institutionalization of the Post-2015 SDGs Agenda by the United Nations; the position of global leaders on the future of humanity has assumed a new thinking.

At the 66th UN DPI/ NGO Conference held at Gyeongyu, Korea, the UN Chief Ban Ki Moon told the participants that,

« we have to raise awareness around the world about the bold 2030 Agenda. I count on you to help people understand that this vision is for them, it is for the women who struggle for equality they deserve. It is for the families that suffer discrimination. It is for the communities hit by disasters. It is for a life of dignity for all. I call on all of you to help people understand their stake in our bold vision for a sustainable future. »

The G200 has a fundamental role to play on this clarion call, because the core values and ideological philosophy of the G200 reflect those salient global issues noted by the UN Secretary General. I believe the G200 should not stand oblivious to the epoch-making call for a sustainable future. According to Zhenyun Sun, the potential fulfillment of the Post-2015 SDGs is conditional on the facilitation of stable, equitable and inclusive growth. The major challenges for meeting the Post-2015 SDGs lie in the huge gap between the aid funds available and those promised.

In addition, global downward pressure and trade protectionism have both become obstacles for the realization of the SDGs.

Under the G20 Turkish Presidency, Goal #17 was given an effective consideration, one of the remarkable achievements was the G20 Finance Ministers and Finance Ministers/Central Bank Governors from several Low Income Developing Countries had their first meeting at Washington DC, April 17, 2015. The purpose of Goal #17 according to a bulletin issued by the G20 2015 Turkish Presidency, is to enhance global partnership for the sustainable development complemented by multi-stakeholders partnership that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries.

One of the core objectives of the G20 April 2015 meeting was to create more investment opportunities and consolidate the gains that comes with it in the LDCs. It allow the G20 finance ministers to know why some investment and development partnership with the LDCs has failed to yield a positive fruit and how can both parties transform that knowledge by refining the partnership strategies, taking a new path that which led to the realization of the SDGs.

However, wrote Sun, Investment was first included in the G20 agenda at the 2014 Brisbane Summit. Boosting growth through expanded investments was especially underlined at the Antalya Summit last year. More investment from Member States looks imperative in order for an extra 2 percentage points of global GDP growth to be aggregated by 2018.

The current challenge for investment is a lack of appropriate projects. There are acute infrastructure shortages in Africa, Middle East, South Asia, Latin America and even North America. However, infrastructure projects rarely yield quick economic returns, making them unlikely without support from governments and international financial institutions.

G200 2017

How can the G200 Post-2015 SDGs round-table be a change agent and make change work for international development?

« Change agents have a unique ability to put a crisis into perspective while creating a sense of hope about the future. They are truthful about where they are, honest about what it take to make the necessary changes, and optimistic about the future. They show people the cookies while acknowledging that bridging gap between reality and vision is fraught with challenges. »
Randy Pennington (2013) Make Change Work: Staying Nimble, Relevant, and Engaged in a World of Constant Change (p.82)

Having earned a distinguish reputation from G20 Head of States concerning crafting policy recommendations and breaking new grounds for international development and policy. The G200 Summit Post-2015 SDGs Round-table will be a key player in not only “pushing” G20 Head of States to act on certain issues of global relevance, but also devise a strategy on how to make leaders of the LDCs become more truthful to their course and objective to their commitment.

We should expect the final result of the Dubai 2017 Summit to make a visible impact in areas like Domestic Resource Mobilization, Financing for Development, Africa Union Agenda 2063/ Common Africa Position (CAP) Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) etc, we should see how young leaders can re-affirm Africa Development Bank and other regional governmental organizations commitment to achieve the SDGs in Africa through development partnership.

Walid Badawi cited from the United Nations’ perspective, six basic principles that should therefore guide G20 development agenda when it comes to the Post-2015 process.

The principles I quote here completely with the intention of presenting them as a recommendation and guide to the G200 Summit Post-2015 SDGs Round-table. This I believe will allow leaders at the Round-table to focus on the contemporary picture of the matter. The UN’s perspective below:

  1. Focus on inclusive economic growth: whereby efforts to support attainment of growth in developing countries should go hand in hand with their capacity to achieve the MDGs/SDGs.
  2. Global development partnership: recognizing that a country’s own development policy is the most important determinant of successful development, the G20 should seek to ensure that actions foster strong, responsible, accountable and transparent development partnerships between the G20 and developing countries.
  3. Addressing global or regional systemic issues: a focus on systemic issues where there is a need for collective and coordinated action, including through South-South and triangular cooperation, to create synergies for maximum development impact.
  4. Private Sector participation: aims to promote increased private sector involvement and innovation recognizing the unique role of the private sector as a rich source of development knowledge, technology and job creation.
  5. Complementarity: Differentiate, yet complement existing development efforts, avoiding duplication, and strategically focus on areas where the G20 has a comparative advantage and can add value focusing on its core mandate as the premier forum for international economic cooperation.
  6. Finally, outcome orientation. Where the development agenda becomes increasingly results based.

In addition, wrote Badawi, at Brisbane, G20 leaders put the focus on development in four priority areas which can contribute to the implementation of the Post 2015 agenda.

Financial Inclusion and Remittances: The G20 has endorsed the Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) that is the framework prepared by the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) to strengthen financial inclusion in and remittance to developing countries. The FIAP focusses on facilitating private-sector led innovations that integrate financial inclusion with financial education, literacy and consumer protection and increased financial opportunities for small and medium size enterprises. The aim would be to align this work stream with the post 2015 agenda (i.e. proposed goals 1.4, 8.3, 8.10, 9.3 of the Open Working Group report).

Food Security and Nutrition: G20 members agreed on a Food Security and Nutrition Framework prepared by the FAO and OECD that provides a strategic approach for future, long-term G20 action for economic growth and job creation in relation to food security and nutrition. It will strengthen growth by lifting investment in food systems, raising productivity to expand food supply and increasing incomes and quality jobs.

Domestic Resource Mobilization and Cooperation on Tax Matters: G20 leaders put a strong focus on international cooperation on tax matters, and stated that “profits should be taxed where economic activities deriving the profits are performed and where value is created.” Based on the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan to modernize international tax rules, and the global Common Reporting Standard for the automatic exchange of tax information (AEOI) to prevent cross-border tax evasion on a reciprocal basis, G20’s policy aims to strengthen international cooperation.

Trade: Trade is emphasized as a key driver for growth, with a focus on strengthening multilateral trading system, which under the WTO rules remain the backbone of the global trading system that has delivered economic prosperity.

Infrastructure Investment: The Global Infrastructure Initiative, which is a multi-year work Programe to lift quality public and private infrastructure investment. G20 members aim to tackle the global infrastructure gap by facilitating long-term financing from institutional investors, including MDBs, and to encourage market sources of finance.

Beyond Dubai 2017: How will the world sees the G200 summit round-table on Post-2015 SDGS ?

« Change Agents are creative thinkers who thrive on reinventing. They see a future no else sees. They have strong drive to come up with a different approach. Their energy and direction give them he power to inspire other people to be innovative, too. They tend to be pretty fearless in their approach, and this is clear in how they communicate. They can look at the same old with a fresh perspective. They encourage others to step out of the box. »
Sally Hogshead (2014) How the World Sees You. (p. 124-5)  

 A true combination of determination, objectivity, trust, competence, integrity, team-work and resilience will give the G200 Round-table on SDGs a background to achieve its desired objectives.  A student once asked the United Nations Secretary General, ‘How can i make my voice heard?The UN Chief, told the young student, ‘Raise it loud and louder”. Leaders at the Dubai 2107 G200 Summit should see the summit as an opportunity to raise their voices louder once again so as to achieve the future we all want by 2030.

The world will see the intellectual efforts that was exerted as a global commitment to end extreme poverty and provide a wide a platform for all to appreciate the value and dignity of humanity.

The effort will be a consolidation drive to win and live the dream of global citizenship.  When the next generation come, those present at that time, will realize that, at a point in time in the history of humanity, there live brave and brilliant minds who saw an oasis of freedom and prosperity in the future.

They were not deterred by the complexity and intractability of the challenges before them; from the ugly specter of global warming,to hunger, energy poverty and a gloomy international political crisis from the War in Syria, Iraq, and Libya down to those tears and innocent hands in the South-Sudanese cities of Tumbura and Kapoeta begging for salvation.

Post-2015 SDGs is about every single individual irrespective of color, creed or geography, it is also about our planet. We have a duty to our environment, and that duty lies on the shoulder of all. If we keep our planet safe and habitable, the prize of our duty will not only benefit our children, but also the children of our grand-children, this is what environmental sustainable development is all about. This is what leaders form over 160 countries joined efforts together to see it becomes a reality at the COP21 Paris Conference, December 2015.

I believe a synergy of hope and diplomatic re-engagement will take us there. Here, I stand with Walid Badawi, Country Director South-Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that,

« the interconnectedness of our vision has co-existed in the past and will continue to do so in the future. »

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