The 2021 G20 comes at a critical juncture for the climate and environment. As the last major leaders’ meeting before COP26, the G20 Summit has a unique opportunity to build political momentum by demonstrating ambitious action and leadership to accelerate the international agenda on climate and the environment. The U.S. Government should work with other G20 countries to:
- Prioritize climate adaptation and resilience support, especially for the most climate-vulnerable people and countries.
- Mobilize finance, financial products, and debt relief to support climate adaptation and resilience in communities hardest hit by climate change; press the World Bank and other international financial institutions to ensure financing is consistent with their commitments on co-benefits and aligned with science-based targets under the Paris Agreement.
- Commit to allocating 50% of all new and additional climate financing resources to adaptation, and drive concessional finance to fragile, conflict-affected states and agents of change, especially women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, and workers.
- Support and implement the Principles for Locally-Led Adaptation to empower local communities with more decision-making power and resources to build resilience to climate change.
- Through updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), commit to science-based targets that limit the global average temperature increase to no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
- Commit to no new coal and encourage a rapid transition away from fossil fuels, including by pressing international financial institutions to shift finance out of fossil fuels.
- Commit to greater transparency in climate finance accounting, including systematically disclosing activity-level data and climate finance assessments. G20 members should press the World Bank and other international financial institutions to do the same.
- Support a just transition toward a low-carbon, resilient, regenerative global economy.
- Ensure workers and their communities actively and meaningfully participate in shaping policy and determining resource usage as they relate to the design and implementation of economic transition.
- New or transitioning jobs should provide decent work, and freedom of association must be respected.
- Repurpose fossil fuel subsidies toward a just transition and clean energy investments. Ensure the energy transition is fair and equitable for those reliant on fossil fuels.
- G20 members should include Just Transition plans in their 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions and in future emission reduction plans.
- Ensure a green recovery from COVID-19 that is inclusive and builds resilience in the face of climate change.
- Ensure recovery efforts bolster existing community structures, social protection, public health systems, conflict prevention and mitigation initiatives, and other risk management systems to withstand climate impacts, without furthering fossil fuel extraction, refining, and consumption.
- Ensure local actors are in leadership roles, shaping recovery solutions.
- To enhance liquidity, advocate for an issuance of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) based on need, and support the IMF’s climate change policies, specifically those aligned with the Paris commitments.
- Exhort private creditors to support climate-resilience debt management in coordination with international financial institutions, regional development banks, and bilateral donors.
Lead: Lindsey Doyle, Senior Manager, Global Development Policy and Learning, InterAction (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The United States has consistently championed education for all and must redouble progress on Sustainable Development Goal #4 to tackle quality of and access to learning from early childhood through adolescence. While bolstering existing investments, the U.S. must address exacerbating education inequities resulting from crises—including COVID-19—to build back better and strengthen public education systems.
- Aligning with the Italian Government’s support for ensuring universal access to education, strengthen inclusive education systems and recognize the importance of safe, equitable, quality education for all children and youth.
- Accelerate and push for increased flexible, multi-year financing, as well as debt relief, for education across development, conflict-affected, and humanitarian settings, particularly in recovering from the pandemic.
- Define and measure progress towards attendance, safety, and learning outcomes, including disaggregation by gender, type of disability, refugee status, ethnicity, and race through inclusive education sector plans.
- Recognize and promote vocational skills-building for adolescents within education systems to enable youth, particularly girls, to reach their full educational and economic potential.
- Commit funding for accessible and affordable, quality early childhood development, including inclusive early childhood education, as a workforce development tool laid out in the 2020 G20 Leaders’ Statement.
- Within the Leaders’ Declaration, commit to investing in holistic and resilient education systems that mitigate learning loss, enable academic continuity, and improve access to quality education for children and youth, especially the most vulnerable.
- Develop and finance remedial, accelerated, and inclusive distance learning programs, including for refugee and internally-displaced children and children with disabilities, to get students safely back to learning and to school.
- Prioritize climate financing and invest in high-, low- and no-tech solutions to support public education systems’ response to shocks, bridge the digital divide, and reimagine education delivery mechanisms.
- Strengthen cross-sectoral child development—particularly health and protection—linked to education including adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities; gender-responsive learning environments; and social protection programs.
Lead: Rachel Wisthuff, Assistant Director, Public Policy & Advocacy, UNICEF USA (email@example.com).
As world hunger continues to rise, the need for healthy, affordable, and widely accessible nutritious foods – especially for the most marginalized communities – is more urgent than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic is putting additional stress on global food systems, threatening the lives of those who were already experiencing food insecurity and malnutrition prior to the pandemic. The U.S. Government should work with other G20 countries to:
- In line with the Government of Italy’s priorities of eradicating poverty and promoting food security, commit to strongly funding food security and malnutrition programs to mitigate extreme hunger and prioritize women and children in the first 1,000 days to promote long-term solutions towards recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In a formal statement, preview ambitious, multi-year financial and policy pledges in support of the most vulnerable populations to be released at the U.N. Food Systems Pre-Summit in July in advance of the G20 and the Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G) in December and recognize the resource gap for nutrition-specific interventions.
- Fully fund the 2021 Global Humanitarian Response Plan and provide emergency resources for famine relief and mitigation to reach over 30 million people at the highest risk of famine.
- Scale-up long-term nutrition and food security investments that are aligned to country plans and target the poorest and most marginalized and conflict-affected groups.
- Ensure investments are cross-cutting as to target contributing factors to food insecurity and malnutrition, such as the conflict, fragility, changing climate, and inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services, which account for half of the world’s malnutrition.[ii]
- Provide lessons learned and recommendations to guide future action by G20 members to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals in coordination with multilateral partners, including the Committee on World Food Security, World Food Program, IFAD, and FAO.
- In a formal statement, provide time-bound and measurable indices for progress on initiatives that the G20 has adopted to date, including the 2014 Brisbane G20 Food Security and Nutrition Framework, the 2015 Implementation Plan of the Food Security and Nutrition Framework, and the 2015 G20 Action Plan on Food Security and Sustainable Food Systems.
- Incorporate outcome-based indicators (e.g., addressing stunting and wasting) to complement the existing output-based indicators to demonstrate how G20 investments concretely address food security and nutrition.
Lead: Mary Laurie, Specialist, Global Health and Development Policy, Save the Children (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This year, the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) is being convened to drive urgently needed progress towards achieving gender equality. To demonstrate global leadership on these issues, we urge the U.S. Government to align its commitments at the 2021 G20 with the themes of the GEF’s six Action Coalitions (A.C.s), as follows:
- Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
- Dedicate at least 2% of ODA to GBV prevention, mitigation, and response, including as essential services in all pandemic response plans, and at least 25% of GBV funding to women’s rights and feminist organizations. Ensure access to shelters and comprehensive and inclusive support services for all women and girls facing violence.
- Ratify ILO Convention 190 on the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work, and incorporate core elements into trade and international assistance programs and policies.
- Urgently increase investments and focus on ending child marriage globally in both humanitarian and development settings.
- Economic Justice and Rights
- Invest at least 2% of GDP into social infrastructure domestically, and 2% of ODA into social infrastructure globally, to reduce women’s unpaid care burdens and increase jobs. This includes providing quality and affordable social services and compensating unpaid care and domestic work (UCDW).
- Ensure paid, safe, and decent work and work facilities for health and care workers, a majority of whom are women, as part of commitments to COVAX.
- Ensure economic empowerment initiatives, including social protection systems, reach the most marginalized women and girls—including migrants—affected by crisis and conflict.
- Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)
- Safeguard the basic right of and access to essential healthcare, including comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and information, for all people.
- Strengthen legal and policy frameworks by making comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) part of national education curricula and by ensuring adolescents have equal access to education, free from limitations related to marital, pregnancy, HIV, or childbearing status.
- Feminist Action for Climate Justice
- Commit to gender mainstreaming 100% of all climate financing and to targeting gender equality in 20% of climate financing. Increase support for women- and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led organizations in ODA, including for humanitarian response to climate disasters.
- Directly support women’s rights organizations and eco-feminist efforts, including in countries most impacted by the climate crisis, and integrate gender considerations into all climate change plans and initiatives.
- Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality
- Support countries in combating technology-facilitated gender-based violence, protecting women, girls, and LGBTQIA+ persons from online harassment and abuse.
- Invest in technological solutions to promote women’s and girls’ access to services, employment, and entrepreneurship, including funding and skills building to narrow the gender digital divide.
- Feminist Movements and Leadership
- Commit to achieving 20% of ODA for gender equality as a ‘principal’ and 100% as a ‘principal’ or ‘significant objective’ within 5 years.
- Announce intention to draft a feminist foreign policy, in line with commitments from Mexico, Canada, France, the European Union, and other G20 countries.
- Increase funding and programming in support of adolescent girls’ civic and political participation and skills building.
- Increase funding and programming in support of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda.
Co-Leads: Lyric Thompson, Director, Policy & Advocacy, International Center for Research on Women (email@example.com); Spogmay Ahmed, Global Policy Advocate, International Center for Research on Women (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We recommend that G20 countries take the following actions:
- Ensure the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerators (ACT-A) is fully funded and commit to investing in research and development for new technologies and scale-up of proven tools to prevent, test, and treat COVID-19.
- An estimated $27.2 billion is required in 2021, of which $14.2 billion is needed in the first half of this year. In order to respond to emerging variants and programmatic needs the ACT- Accelerator will need $1.8 billion to support the R&D agenda in 2021.
- Support the necessity of building on ACT-A’s response to COVID-19 to ensure robust and sustainable investment in global pandemic preparedness, including through infection prevention and control (IPC) measures such as access to PPE and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in healthcare facilities; training for a broad range of health worker cadres; and access to existing technologies such as oxygen therapy for acute respiratory illness.
- Prioritize the equitable global distribution of vaccines by sharing COVID-19 vaccine doses in parallel to the vaccine roll-out in G20 countries, especially those stockpiling excess doses, as well as equitable access to testing, therapeutics, and other health technologies and services.
- ‘Slot swaps’ should be undertaken whereby high-income countries reallocate some of their existing orders immediately, ordering replacement vaccines to arrive later in the year, effectively giving their earlier ‘slots’ to COVAX to help provide vaccines in early 2021 for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to close the current acute gap in supply which is likely to last until at least mid-2021.
- Increase investments to build resilient health systems that provide quality primary health care and can withstand threats, including infectious disease outbreaks, climate change, and political unrest.
- Sustain investments, including for R&D and manufacturing, disease surveillance, workforce development, and other programmatic activities in the fight against major infectious epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases in order to achieve universal health coverage and the SDGs by 2030.
- Prioritize flexible financing and technical support to strengthen the capacity of national health, nutrition, and WASH systems and domestic resource mobilization efforts to increase the fiscal space for health, nutrition, and WASH.
- Prioritize support to the most vulnerable countries, including those with weak health systems and those in fragile or conflict-affected settings, to enable preparedness, response, and continued delivery of essential health and nutrition services, free at the point of use.
- Work with partners to ensure additional support and compensation for frontline health workers, as needed, particularly for unpaid community health workers, including on- or near-site temporary housing, childcare, hazard pay, meals, safe transportation that allows for social distancing, costs, and access for telemedicine visits, and funds for health-related expenses such as mental health services.
- Prioritize support for water and sanitation utilities and providers to ensure and expand reliable access to WASH services in healthcare facilities, schools, and households.
- Leverage multilateral institutions in new ways to provide sustainable investment in innovation to combat global health challenges.
- Ensure R&D investments are eligible for financing from international financial institutions to provide LMICs the necessary resources to strengthen research, laboratory, surveillance, and manufacturing capacities to respond to health emergencies, as recommended by the 2020 Global Preparedness and Monitoring Board report.
- Invest in innovative financing mechanisms such as the proposed Pandemic Preparedness Fund, which would provide catalytic and sustainable global health financing.
- Ensure World Bank lending in the context of COVID-19 addresses human resource challenges.
- Re-prioritize antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and invest in preventive measures, new tools, and technologies to fight the rising threat of the silent pandemic. Develop and operationalize national action plans.
- Invest in quality-assured, new, and improved antimicrobials, novel compounds, diagnostics, vaccines, and other health technologies to fight AMR, including but not limited to hospital-acquired infections. This includes new technologies that address the WHO Priority Pathogens List, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), and new tools to combat antimalarial and antiretroviral resistance as a part of the AMR response.
- With MDR-TB the biggest of the AMR killers, G20 members should invest in the full restoration of tuberculosis services, including active case funding, to diagnose, prevent, and treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and put the fight against T.B. back on track while integrating COVID-19 screening where appropriate.
- Support preventive measures, such as access to WASH, which are critical to IPC.
Lead: Philip Kenol, Policy & Advocacy Officer, Global Health Technologies Coalition (email@example.com).
We recommend that G20 countries take the following actions:
- Keep workers safe and healthy on the job.
- Improve worker protection by making occupational health and safety a fundamental right at work, recognizing COVID-19 as an occupational disease, and providing vaccination and mass testing starting with frontline workers.
- Build a better safety net.
- Strengthen social protection systems and demonstrate global solidarity by supporting international efforts for debt reduction and write-offs and establishing a Global Social Protection Fund to support universal social protection in the world’s least developed countries.
- Support domestic revenue mobilization to create the needed fiscal space for national governments to ensure universal social protection, ending international tax avoidance practices and supporting progressive taxation measures, such as a minimum rate of corporate taxation, financial transaction taxes, effective taxation of the digital economy, and wealth taxes to curb the rise of excessive wealth.
- Prepare for a Just Transition to a zero-carbon economy.
- Adopt an industrial policy framework to anticipate sectoral transformations and transitions and coordinate generous jobs creation plans to restore employment levels and restart the economy. Emphasize the creation of quality, climate-friendly jobs underpinned by minimum living wages.
Lead: Molly McCoy, Policy Director, Solidarity Center (firstname.lastname@example.org).