Policy Recommendations of Italian T20 available now
The T20 engagement group of the Italian G20 presidency in 2021 has released about 120 policy recommendations originating from renowned experts and thinktanks working in 11 task forces. All policy recommendations are available at this website alongside the policy recommendations of all T20 engagement groups since 2017.
TF 11 – Reforming the T20
This article aims to highlight some of the recommendations of 2021:
TF1 – Global Health and Covid-19
Why it is important to push local health behaviour, self-reliance in technology and manufacture distribution? The pandemic showed that it is not possible to quickly deliver supply and production of large quantities of health products, and that low- and middle-income countries are the ones mostly suffering consequently.
The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated that there is a need for health threat data platforms. The G20 should strive to improve the current reporting and monitoring systems in order to be well-prepared against new pathogens and the outbreak of new diseases.
The Covid-19 recovery initiatives should resolve gender-related structural inequalities and barriers in women’s healthcare access. In collaboration with the states, experts, social movements and markets, the G20 leaders have the opportunity to build more gender-equitable health and non-health systems.
How to maintain access to education in times of public health emergencies? Should schools stay open? Reasserting education is a fundamental right, school closures exacerbate socioeconomic and gender inequalities and negatively impact future generations.
How should health systems work in order to guarantee health quality and efficiency? The G20 health care systems must be able to deliver effective and safe primary healthcare, constant training of the workforce, comprehensive health information system, equitable access to essential diagnostics, medical products, technologies, financially equal access to essential services and strategic policy frameworks.
Covid-19 has once again highlighted the importance of scientific research for collective well-being, health, safety and economies. However, anti-science rhetoric and the lack of compliance with public health measures have also been rising. Is there a “Global Health Literacy Alliance” needed to bolster collective capacity to access and process scientific information and to rebuild trust between science, institutions. and people?
TF 2 – Climate Change, Sustainable Energy & Environment
In the policy brief “Nature-based solutions for climate change, clean energy and health” it is being argued that nature-based solutions are able to stop climate change and biodiversity loss. Although technological breakthroughs will reduce emissions, low-tech solutions will remove them.
How to “Promote sustainable agriculture in smart cities”? This policy recommendation aims to enhance food security of urban environments, to adopt circular economy models and for healthy shifts in the context of smart cities, by leveraging key technological enablers and infrastructure.
TF 3 – Trade, Investment and Growth
This policy brief sets out recommendations to achieve a new multilateral framework of trade rules in the digital arena, thereby facilitating continued digital transformation of services and growth in cross-border flows of data. The present moment is critical. Successful conclusion of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on E-Commerce will support trade in digital services, underpinned by cross-border data flows, complementing the expected recovery in travel and tourism services to provide a robust basis for global economic recovery and sustainable and inclusive growth. If the talks stall and fail to complete in 2022, technological change threatens another serious blow to a global institution, which is reeling and seemingly unable to manage the regulatory heterogeneity resulting from national policies that threaten to compartmentalize data governance and fragment the global digital economy.
TF 4 – Digital Transformation
This policy brief identifies an important feature of current digital governance systems: “third-party funded digital barter” between digital consumers and third-party funders. The interests of the third-party funders are not well-aligned with the interests of the digital consumers. This fundamental flaw of current digital governance systems is responsible for an array of serious problems, including inequities, inefficiencies, manipulation of digital consumers, as well as dangers to social cohesion and democracy. We present four policy guidelines that aim to correct this flaw by shifting control of personal data from the data aggregators and their third-party funders to the digital consumers.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Zoom have firmly entrenched themselves into the daily lives of many and provided core societal functions that have enabled people to work, shop, educate themselves and their children, run businesses, maintain social contact and to receive and disseminate information. At the same time, the pandemic has revealed the deep digital divide associated with these technologies, and also the many risks. An updated and comprehensive international governance architecture is urgently needed to address these risks. Bretton Woods was the Allies’ answer to the financial and social shock of the emerging post-war period. A new Bretton Woods-style agreement is now necessary to enable the world to meet the promise of the new connected age. A modern reboot would provide an opportunity to create a similar institutional framework to manage the world’s digital infrastructure as it recovers from the financial and societal impacts of the current pandemic. The G20 is the obvious body to implement this framework via the creation of a Digital Stability Board just as it did with the creation of the Financial Stability Board in the heart of the Great Financial Crisis.
TF 5 – 2030 Agenda and Development Cooperation
Women across the world are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, reversing gains in gender equality made in recent decades. Women-led businesses have been more negatively impacted economically, especially in sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. The G20 must take urgent actions to promote gender equality by economically empowering women-led businesses in the post-COVID world. Public–private sector schemes that accelerate technology adoption, innovation and digital skills training for women entrepreneurs and strengthen financing and fiscal assistance for women-led businesses should be actively supported and encouraged.
Before the pandemic, the creative economy was growing rapidly and generating new jobs in every region of the world, predicted to account up to 10 percent of global GDP by 2030. The crisis has brought this exceptional growth to a standstill, exposing the fragility of a sector dominated by micro-businesses, informal work practices and few tangible assets. Lockdowns have also highlighted the importance of cultural and creative activity in maintaining individual well-being and community resilience. Our contention is not that the creative economy needs public subsidies to resume its previous growth. It does however require governments and multilateral organisations to recognize and address constraints and regulatory structures that have failed to keep pace with the rapid evolution of the sector. Another priority is to rebalance the glaring asymmetry between the growing power of transnational digital platforms and those who have created much of the content on which their prosperity rests.
TF 5 – Social Cohesion and the Future of Welfare Systems
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the relationship between the market economy, state and society in almost every country worldwide. While the economy paused and literally shut down in many countries during the first wave of the pandemic, the state and civil society have gained new significance in protecting people from the ravages of the coronavirus. This shift has affected the public’s perception of the role of markets, government and society in response to the worldwide shock. In particular there is an increased recognition that societal well-being goes well beyond material prosperity and that society, governments and markets should contribute to enhancing human well-being in a sustainable fashion.
The authors recommend the institution of a Global Citizen Income as a stepping stone toward fostering social, civil and political citizenship at the global level. They outline a gradual implementation roadmap and propose increased international aid, a mix of progressive global taxes and a carbon tax, to fund it. A Global Citizen Income would provide an automatic safety net against systemic shocks like COVID-19 and empower individuals starting, from the most vulnerable. The authors urge the G20 to take the lead in establishing a Global Citizenship Fund and a Convention for Global Citizenship under the aegis of the United Nations.
TF 7 – Infrastructure Investment and Financing
The financing gap has been a major concern for countries to realise their 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development even before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak. Quality infrastructure is needed to accelerate the service provisions in the 2030 Agenda.
Closing the trillion-dollar infrastructure gap and addressing social, environmental and economic priorities will require global policy directives that build on and support local development. Revenue bonds can be used to channel a portion of the tax revenues from infrastructure spillover effects to private investors. Crowdfunding collected from private investors can be a source of financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which will leverage the tax revenue and return to investors in infrastructure. Crowdfunding can be used for local solar power projects and small hydro projects to supply electricity in rural communities. Innovation in government policies to accommodate extreme behavioural changes in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent needs for health services, water and sanitation are analysed further in this policy brief.
The policy brief emphasizes the financing aspects, and how government policy innovation can meet the urgent needs of financing for infrastructure provision under the Sustainable Development Goals in the aftermath of the pandemic.
The G20 Quality Infrastructure Investment (QII) Principles agreed in 2019 confirmed that ecosystem, biodiversity and climate considerations should be incorporated into infrastructure investing. Nevertheless, integration of environmental factors especially related to biodiversity into infrastructure investment remains inadequate, while infrastructure development continues to put natural capital and critical ecosystems at risk. This is due to insufficient government guidance and regulation, non-standardised requirements and metrics, lack of investor capacity to evaluate biodiversity, environmental data deficiency and lack of clarity regarding environmental impacts on investment performance. Considering infrastructure’s central role in recovery plans for the COVID-19 crisis, we must focus on policies and requirements for integrating environmental criteria in investments that support a nature-positive recovery. G20 policy guidance is key to strengthening the sustainability of infrastructure investments at the scale and speed needed. Building on the QII Principles, we therefore propose a policy-level harmonisation of international standards to promote net gain for nature. The authors propose regulatory reforms to create market-driven implementation of environmental criteria in infrastructure investments. Furthermore, we recommend standardised and comparable biodiversity impact disclosure to promote adoption of sustainable practices in a post-COVID-19 world.
TF 8 – Multilateralism and Global Governance
Recent calls by scholars for more multi-stakeholder approaches to international cooperation are a welcome effort to make international politics more inclusive, however even these approaches sometimes ignore or downplay one very important stakeholder: ordinary citizens. Public perceptions that multilateralism and global governance are dominated by elites, and therefore reflective of elite priorities, is one factor driving populism and political resentment around much of the globe. Unless this trend is reversed, international organizations will increasingly lose legitimacy, and people will increasingly lose faith that international cooperation can effectively address the problems they care about most.
To address this challenge, multilateral institutions need to make international cooperation more inclusive and people-focused. To do this, they should consider employing survey research and deliberative democracy. Scholars, researchers, and practitioners have demonstrated that both of these approaches can be effective means for amplifying and including public voices. This policy brief outlines a proposal for multilateral institutions such as the UN and G20 to incorporate survey research and public deliberation into their annual cycles, providing ordinary citizens with a more robust voice in multilateral conversations about key international issues.
The challenges induced by COVID-19 highlight the need for a multilateral approach towards recovery. These challenges have combined with anti-establishment sentiment towards systems of governance. Concurrently, cryptocurrencies have provided an attractive location of activity for actors who feel disenfranchised by state-led systems of governance. This paper examines the impact of this, by comparing two reactions to cryptocurrencies: the USA and how it regulates cryptocurrencies through FinCEN, and China’s central bank plan to integrate cryptocurrency functions through DCEP. In a departure from other G20 PBs, this study focuses on the broader mechanisms of state governance, and its proposals focus on providing a solution to the trifecta of the pandemic, political sentiment and cryptocurrency-related challenges.
Effective interstate communication is key to multilateral governance, but certain phenomena in the current global information ecosystem challenge it. The malicious diffusion of fake news and disinformation through social media and messaging apps deserves special attention, since it can hamper cooperation, reduce mutual trust and foster new and old conflicts. This policy brief highlights the main challenges that this phenomenon poses to multilateral cooperation and proposes concrete actions to tackle the spread of disinformation: the creation of a G20 communication office responsible for developing a comprehensive communication strategy, including a dedicated website, the launch of a T20 Taskforce, and a permanent roundtable on disinformation.