Becoming Part of the Solution
Counting on the UK G7 and Italian G20 Presidency, 2021
F20 Recommendations for the G20 and the G7 as part of the G20
Never before in human history was there a challenge of this reach. It effects every country in the world and threatens lives, health systems and economies. What sounds like a reasonable description of the current pandemic is also true for the global climate and biodiversity crisis. Both represent an unprecedented global vulnerability experience. And both urgently require global coordination, more international cooperation and local actions. The world is, in fact, addressing many challenges at the same time: inequality, health, economic recession, food security, the climate crisis or biodiversity loss. There is neither time nor are there resources to address those challenges in isolation or with fragmented approaches. What we need are integrated solutions.
The key to more resilience lies of course not in artificially sustaining a destructive system, but by stabilising the environment, reducing pollution levels, deploying a regenerative agriculture or transitioning to a renewable energy system. Mitigating future risks clearly suggests a development trajectory that helps to limit and decrease environmental, social and economic risks related to climate change, the extinction of species or degradation of land.
The fact that the UK and Italy are both hosting the G7 and the G20 summit this year as well as the UN climate summit (COP26) provides a huge opportunity for a well-coordinated global response to the pandemic and the climate crisis. The G20 Sherpa processes and Finance Ministers track, under the presidency of Italy, have a unique window of opportunity to build a credible and ambitious pathway towards climate neutrality and a circular economy.
Foundations and philanthropy already play and will have to play an increasingly important role in this endeavour – as part of the solution. By partnering with the F20 platform, the network members are expressing their support for political decision-making aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Paris Climate Agreement. These joint agreements should be the basis of all future oriented programmes in order to build up the resilience and recovery of our societies.
The Foundations Platform F20 therefore strongly advocates for six key recommendations to the countries of the G20. The G20 countries should:
- Align national and joint efforts by the G7 and the G20 to combat the economic and social impacts of the global COVID-19 crisis with the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the Paris Climate Agreement. G20 countries need to achieve a global green, inclusive, resilient, healthy and equitable recovery for all. G20 countries should therefore place a healthy, inclusive and climate-resilient future at the heart of domestic recovery plans ensuring that the lion’s share of recovery funding supports healthy, green and inclusive solutions. The G7 as a sub-group of the G20 has to lead by example and increase their ambitions beyond the commitments displayed in their current NDCs.
- Commit to a net-zero and science-based emission target aligned with the 1.5°C benchmark and also specify interim steps and targets until 2030. This also means recognising that both, rapid fossil fuel phase out and Nature-based Solutions are critical in this endeavour, and that there is no room for unsustainable offsetting of greenhouse gas emissions. This starts by committing to phase out all public financial support for fossil fuels, catalysing a shift from private, internal combustion vehicles to clean, collective mobility solutions, and bringing the G20 to agree to end support for existing and new coal-related infrastructure. The G20 should take the lead in a Net-Zero-Trajectory building on the principles of a Just Transition and by acknowledging the rights of indigenous people.
- Ensure a Just Transition and concrete interim targets by 2030, including an active participation of different stakeholders such as communities, indigenous workers, private sector, academia in designing national Just Transition plans. This requires a holistic approach in the spirit of ‘leaving no one behind’ that takes into account global inequalities between countries and among countries and that prioritises social welfare, right to health or interests of future generations.
- Decarbonise the finance sector by making decarbonisation plans of financial institutions mandatory. This would put concrete actions behind the concept of ‘shifting the trillions’ and help to close the Climate Finance Gap between the current trajectory and the goals of the Paris Agreement. Clear signs would also be to mainstream carbon pricing and a commitment to measures suggested by the G20 Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) including mandatory disclosure of climate risks by enterprises in their reporting/balance sheets. Also, Climate-related impacts on and by a company can be both highly relevant for investors and therefore require disclosure. (double materiality). The International Climate Finance Plan as it was introduced at the Climate Leaders Summit hosted by the United States is a good start. This also includes ‘Ending International Official Financing for Carbon-Intensive Fossil Fuel Based Energy’ which should include Natural Gas and be reaffirmed by the G7 and the G20 as a group.
- Provide debt relief, including debt moratoriums, financial and capacity support to highly indebted countries to enable their economic recovery and development and form a front-runner group of the G20 countries that moves forward. That includes a debt restructuring mechanism that is timely, transparent, independent and comprehensive and eliminates loan conditions related to “fiscal consolidation” or austerity. It should also include In-debt-for-climate-swaps and bilateral as well as multilateral debt relief that would enable developing countries to reduce their external debt while investing in adaptation and mitigation. Reallocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would also be an important lever.
- Make the Water-Energy-Food-Health Nexus and the Climate and Biodiversity Nexus an integral part of the G7 and G20 agenda. This also means a stronger convergence of this year’s UN Biodiversity Summit (CBD) and the UN Climate Summit (COP 26) which have to lead to concrete protection and restoration efforts of most endangered natural resorts (Amazon, Congo/Uganda, Borneo). Foundations and philanthropy will do the same and are increasingly focusing on inclusive and cross sectoral programmes.
Download the full document with F20 Recommendations here.