Civil society’s seat at the G20 table
Filed under - Intergovernmental bodies
Civil society is playing its biggest role yet at the Group of 20 leading economies, known as the G20. For the first time there is now a Civil 20 – or C20 – which brings together non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to contribute to the G20 process with policy recommendations, act as a watchdog and monitor G20 commitments.
After long-standing informal and constructive cooperation with the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group through joint civil society submissions, the C20 is now for the first time formally invited to address the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group in Moscow as part of a series of meetings leading up to the G20 summit of world leaders in St. Petersburg in September.
Transparency International is acting as the co-chair for the Civil 20 Working Group on Anti-Corruption. There are seven thematic C20 working groups in total.
Though the G20 has committed to tackling corruption in its Anti-Corruption Action Plans – such as adopting and enforcing laws to tackle bribery, protecting whistleblowers, and combating money laundering – more pressure is needed to fulfil its pledge to “close the implementation and enforcement gap.”
G20 in numbers
11: the number of G20 members who score less than 50 out of 100 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2012
56 per cent of citizens in G20 countries think corruption has increased in their country in the last three years, according to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer (Saudi Arabia was not covered by the survey). Only 29 per cent assess their government’s actions in the fight against corruption as effective.
US$4.8 trillion: the proceeds of financial crimes such as bribery and tax evasion that have flowed out of the G20’s ten emerging economies from 2000-2009, according to Global Financial Integrity
451: the number of anti-bribery cases completed in G20 countries signed up to OECD anti-bribery convention by the end of 2010, but the US and Germany together account for 80 per cent of this.
2: the number of G20 countries that have yet to ratify the UN Convention against Corruption (Germany and Japan)
What we can achieve
The legitimacy of the G20 as a forum for discussing economic stability and growth relies on the full participation of and engagement with civil society. As the wider public stands to be most impacted by decisions made by G20 members, civil society must have access to information, and have the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the decision-making process.
As part of this process, Transparency International has recommendations to tackle corruption which include:
- Genuine and concerted efforts by G20 members to tackle illegal financial transactions, through cross-border information-sharing, and better due diligence
- Swifter facilitation of asset recovery processes.
- Ratification and enforcement of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and foreign bribery legislation. (Two G20 countries – Germany and Japan – have yet to ratify the UNCAC; all G20 countries should join the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention).
- Strong and harmonised legislation that protects whistleblowers across G20 states
- Promotion of public sector integrity, e.g. through mandatory asset declarations by public officials.
- Enhanced transparency in the extractive industries through mandatory country-by-country and project-by-project reporting of multinational companies on their incomes and losses.
Transparency International welcomes the establishment of a formal mechanism through which civil society can engage with G20 members. However we must not stop at this step. The inclusion of all civil society, including both national and international NGOs, is needed to ensure ordinary people everywhere are represented. This way, we can continue toward meaningful collaboration and fruitful outcomes – both prior to and following – the G20 summit in September 2013.
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