On November 28, RIA Novosti's International Multimedia Press Center hosted a roundtable discussion "The Outcomes of the Outreach Groups' Activities within Russia's G20 Presidency".The event was attended by Russia's G20 Sherpa Svetlana Lukash, Australia's Ambassador to the Russian Federation Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Paul Myler, and the representatives of civil society, business community, trade unions, expert community and youth.
Opening the meeting, Deputy Chief of the Presidential Experts' Directorate, the Russian G20 Sherpa Svetlana Lukash emphasized that Russia from the very beginning of its Presidency was striving to ensure maximum transparency for all G20 activities and decisions in 2013. "To achieve this we needed to provide the broadest possible dialogue with all the parties concerned," Svetlana Lukash said. "We established connections with non-G20 countries, international organizations and regional associations. However, special focus was made on interaction with the outreach partners. They represent the main concerned parties that are influenced by the G20 decisions, namely business, trade unions which represent interests of employees, civil society, academic and expert communities, and youth". After considering the outreach groups' recommendations, many of them were reflected in the final documents of the G20 Summit, especially those referring to the employment agenda. New approach was suggested for organization of the process - the main outreach groups' Summits were held two months before the St.Petersburg G20 Summit. Another point emphasized by Svetlana Lukash was that the task was not only to manage the G20 dialogue with the outreach partners, but also connect them with each other and promote cross-fora synergy. "It had really become a breakthrough that allowed achieving serious results," the Russian Sherpa concluded.
Head of the G20 Expert Council Sergey Drobyshevsky noted that the Think 20 format was quite young: the first meeting of global think tanks was held in 2012 under the Mexican Presidency, succeeded by two meetings within the year of the Russian Presidency - in December 2012 in Moscow and in May 2013 in Sydney (Australia). "Experts are more free and independent from domestic, political and other influences," Sergey Drobyshevsky said. "The Think 20 format is developing. Australia is planning, additionally to the meeting in December, to conduct at least one or maybe two more meetings within its Presidency. Therefore, the T20 format is to become more "alive" and closer to the practices existing in the other, better established outreach groups. This will allow to get the Think 20 message across to the G20 officials and Leaders more regularly, and make deeper impact on the decision making process."
Oleg Preksin, the Russian Business 20 Sherpa, Executive Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) noted that the Russian leadership in the Business 20 tried to lay the organizational foundation for the future B20 activities through coordination with Australia and Turkey colleagues, the forthcoming G20 Presidencies. Likewise, 2013 was the first year when recommendations were presented gradually, at different stages. In May 2013 the "Green Book" (draft recommendations) was issued and then further discussed in June at the Business 20 Summit, attended by 60 delegates. "Taking their recommendations into account we had prepared the final version of our recommendations - the "White Book" that was presented at the meeting with the G20 Leaders in St.Petersburg in September," Oleg Preksin said. He also emphasized the efficiency of the B20 work during the Russian Presidency year: "We had prepared the biggest amount of recommendations in the Business 20 history, and 75 out of them were one way or another reflected in the G20 decisions."
Labour 20 Chair in 2013, Chair of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) Mikhail Shmakov stressed that the dialogue between the G20 and the social partners took a significant part of the G20 agenda. As also stressed by Mr. Shmakov, an innovation of the Russian Presidency - joint meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Labour Ministers - was a success. Mikhail Shmakov gave high evaluation of the intention to ensure succession and continuity of the G20 process. "Labour 20 could see better prospects for job creation as a result of the Joint G20 Finance and Labour Ministers Meeting. A number of conclusions made at the joint meeting, namely, the importance of quality jobs creation, collective bargaining and guaranteed labour related rights were reflected in the St.Petersburg Leaders' Declaration," he added.
Likewise, Mikhail Shmakov noted important steps taken by the G20 in the sphere of fighting tax evasion, and appreciated the extension of the G20 Task Force on Employment mandate, which is crucial for implementing the employment related commitments reflected in the Leaders' Declaration and the St.Petersburg Development Outlook.
The contribution of civil society to the G20 process within the Russian Presidency year was presented by Elena Peryshkina, Head of the Civil 20 Secretariat in 2013. She reminded that the Civil 20 framework has already been in existence for five years. In 2013 Civil 20 managed to institutionalize the process, make it sustainable and provide the framework for future Civil 20 activities. Among the main themes considered by the Civil 20 in 2013, there were social inclusiveness and investment in human capital development (including access to the benefits of growth for the vulnerable groups, the issues of employment, modernizing the taxation regime and fighting corruption); increasing financial inclusion (first of all, financial literacy among senior and undereducated people that frequently become victims of financial fraud and underestimate their financial risks), as well as fostering international development (including elaborations on post-2015 Millennium Development Goals)
"The Civil 20 framework gives an opportunity to understand in general, how and for what purposes should civil society participate in the global processes, and what could be the positive result," Elena Peryshkina commented.
Ms.Peryshkina highlighted a unique feature of the Russian Chairmanship in the Civil 20 process, which was managing the discussion through a crowdsourcing internet-platform, which allowed to provide better engagement and to take into account the recommendations of all the parties concerned.
Head of the Youth 20 Russia 2013 Secretariat Roman Chukov reported that the youth stream of the Russian outreach strategy was quite proactive during the whole year. The key principles of the Y20 were transparency, openness and trust. The Y20 Summit Russia 2013 was held within the framework of the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum, where the Y20 held several cross-sessions, including one with the Business 20. The outcomes of the Youth 20 work were presented to the Russian G20 Sherpa. Likewise, the Y20 delegates had a meeting with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. "Quite a lot of our proposals, in one form or another, were put in the final Declaration, particularly in the sphere of social policy optimization including the issues of financial literacy and employment," Roman Chukov summarized.
According to the Ambassador of Australia to the Russian Federation Paul Myler, the outreach activity was one of the high points of the Russian Presidency. Australia within the period of its Presidency finds it important to continue the work on the priorities identified by Russia - economic growth and jobs creation. In addition, the Ambassador acknowledged high significance of interaction with the outreach partners and reported that Australia will continue this dialogue. He emphasized that in 2013 the outreach groups for the first time completed their work several months before the G20 Summit, and that gave an opportunity to the official G20 track to discuss their recommendations seriously and reflect them in the final documents. "The framework that Russia set for the outreach groups this year was the right one, and we will continue the work in this framework next year," Paul Myler concluded.
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Moderator: Good afternoon, colleagues. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to welcome all the participants here at the RIA Novosti International Multimedia Press Center. We are starting the roundtable discussion on the outcomesof the outreach dialogue within Russia's G20 Presidency.
During its G20 presidency, Russia was focusing on a far-reaching dialogue with civil society, young people, business community, trade unions and expert community.
Today, our guests, the heads of the G20 outreach streams, will present the results achieved during the Russian Presidency, and they will also discuss their joint contribution to the work of the Group of Twenty. But, firstly, I would like to introduce our guests: Russia's G20 Sherpa Svetlana Lukash; Head of the G20 Expert Council Sergei Drobyshevsky; Australia's Ambassador to the Russian Federation Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Paul Myler; Head of the Civil G20 Secretariat Elena Peryshkina; Russia's Business 20 Sherpa and Executive Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Oleg Preksin; Head of Labour 20 during Russia's Presidency and Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia Mikhail Shmakov; and Head of the Y20 Russia 2013 Secretariat Roman Chukov.
So, let's not waste time. Over to you, Ms. Lukash. Please go ahead.
Svetlana Lukash: I would like to say that I'm very happy to sum up the results of what I believe to be one the most prominent accomplishments of Russia's G20 Presidency.
From the very beginning, we were striving to ensure to the extent possible the transparency of our entire work and all the decisions to be adopted by the G20 in 2013. To achieve this we needed to ensure the broadest possible dialogue with all the concerned parties. Surely those were not only the people who are present here. We established connections with non-G20 countries, international organizations and regional associations. But what we have decided to put our primary focus on was interaction with our outreach partners. In reality, these are the main stakeholders influenced by the G20 decisions. These include private sector (the business community), trade unions representing the interests of employees, civil society, academic and expert community and youth.
Since the very beginning, namely - December 2012, we were holding regular consultations with all our partners on the agenda of Russia's Presidency. We suggested that our partners' should structure their work around those areas which would reflect the Russian Presidency's priorities and all the main aspects of the G20 work. Later, this made it possible to take notice of the proposals of our partners in the Summit's final documents to the greatest extent possible.
It is generally agreed that quite a considerable part of the recommendations was included in the Leaders' Declaration and annexes. This is particularly true with respect to the employment issues and combating unemployment. According to our partners, various Labour 20 and Business 20 proposals, particularly efforts to foster employment and create jobs, were taken into account almost completely, let's say, 99% of them were in the final documents.
Interestingly enough, a new approach to the outreach working process was suggested. We decided to hold all final events and major summits of our main outreach groups two months prior to the G20 St.Petersburg Summit. This allowed our partners to submit their recommendations and discuss them with the decision-makers before the Summit. All recommendations were being reviewed by numerous experts, and brought to consideration of the decision-makers. On the eve of the summit, we also met with Business 20 and Labour 20 representatives. This meeting was attended by a number of the G20 Leaders, which as it is was an outstanding landmark.
Another task that we set forth was not just establishing the dialogue between the G20 and all outreach groups, but uniting them and promoting cross-fora synergy. The G20 has never seen anything like this before. Business people interacted not only with trade unions, but also with civil society, young people reached out to business community, civil society got in touch with young people and with trade unions at all levels, including at the level of working groups and the Leaders' level. And, indeed, this was a real breakthrough, which made it possible to achieve important results.
I will stop here, and I would like to give the floor to Sergei Drobyshevsky who will speak on behalf of the Think 20 format. This new G20 format comprises the G20 countries' leading analytical centers, think tanks and experts. Whereas business community and trade unions have already met for several years, the Think 20 format is quite fresh, and this is probably why it had brought such a momentum for the very start of our presidency. We did hear their recommendations last December. Their meeting was virtually an inauguration of Russia's G20 Presidency. Please, Sergei.
Sergei Drobyshevsky: Indeed, the Think 20 format is quite fresh. Its first meeting was held in 2012 in Mexico. That was the launch of this format. A full-fledged Think 20 Meeting was held on December 11, 2012, already within Russia's Presidency and in the run-up to the first G20 Sherpas Meeting. The participants discussed the issues that Russia planned to include in its agenda, hence the first assessment of these initiatives was made at the expert level.
This format continued to develop later on. In May 2013, we had another Think 20 Meeting in Sydney, Australia, and we continued our discussion there. It should be mentioned that we started to manage the Think 20 through troika - three consecutive G20 presiding countries - from the very beginning of our work. Troika identified the agenda of the outreach format's work, and thereby influenced the choice of specific issues for discussion. We were discussing our action program with Mexico and Australia. Currently, as the representative of Russia, I am involved in discussing Australia's Think 20 agenda, together with the representatives of Australia and Turkey.
I must say that the expert and political communities, as well as official G20 representatives, have lively discussions since experts are more free and independent from various national, political and other aspects. Therefore, some of the issues, which were supported by the majority at our meetings, could not receive the same support and be unanimously approved within the format of the official G20 tracks. For instance, such issues as budget stability, macroeconomic stability and fiscal policy had consensus-based decisions during expert meetings.
Naturally, all experts noted that various countries, including developed and developing countries, should implement a consistent policy, and that this was a guarantee of future global growth. At the same time, it was obvious that strict obligations, namely quantitative, could not be included in the final documents. The same refers to the issue of redistribution of the IMF quotas, which was virtually deemed settled at the level of the expert community. It goes without saying that this decision has to be solved to correspond to the current global situation, but still it remained unresolved during Russia's G20 Presidency.
I would also like to touch on those issues, which were examined at our December meeting. For instance, with respect to international trade and creation of global value chains, the global value chains concept reflects on international trade not as an exchange of products but as an element of inter-state productive cooperation, when a company manufactures new competitive products, and when it is directly involved in international trade. This concept was brought to discussion at our T20 meeting, examined throughout the entire Russian presidency and reflected in the final documents. We were also actively discussing such issues as financial literacy and financial inclusion, and these were the issues where the Russian Presidency had considerable progress.
On the other hand, experts and politicians unanimously agreed that, so far, they were not ready to make certain decisions. For instance, the decision on full implementation of the Basel III system or introduction of specific regulatory arrangements for global energy markets, where, as I have already said, there was no consensus both at the expert level and in general. We cannot say that we have some final decision in such areas.
Nevertheless, the Think 20 format continues to develop. I know that, apart from the upcoming December meeting, which will precede the G20 Sherpas Meeting, Australia plans to hold another one or maybe two meetings within its G20 Presidency. In other words, this format is becoming more, Iwould say,alive, and it is coming closer to the working practices of the other, more deep-rooted, outreach formats. This will bring more regular informing of national leaders and officials about the Think 20 stance. And I hope that this will make possible influencing specific decisions, and Russia can also have a big role to play in this regard because the Troika format will continue to operate next year. Thank you.
Svetlana Lukash: I would like to pass the floor to Oleg Preksin representing the B20, which is the most established platform within the G20. Several meetings were held during the year with the representatives of all the B20 task forces, which, according our colleagues' view, were very substantial and informative. We have incorporated many of their recommendations in the final documents, particularly those regarding investment, trade, and, as I've already mentioned, employment. So let's listen to the opinion of the Business on the outcomes of the year.
Oleg Preksin: Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is true that historically the B20 was established ahead of other outreach groups and dates back to the first G20 Summits. To be specific, the first meeting of the B20 took place in 2009 when executives from the leading G20 corporations met with the UK Prime Minister in London. The outreach format wasn't fully established back then, neither it was at the next G20 Summit in Toronto, where every G20 member was represented by three business community representatives. Since then, the B20 has grown substantially, both in terms of the scope of the issues it deals with and its organization.
RSPP's (Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs) Leadership in the B20 and its Chair, RSPP's President Alexander Shokhin, paid special attention to creating the institutional framework for the future B20 work in cooperation, whenever possible, with our colleagues from Australia and Turkey, who are to assume the G20 Presidency after Russia in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The slide highlights the development of the B20 task forces. We did our utmost to reduce the number of task forces and bring their activities in line with the priorities of Russia's Presidency, trying not to lose any major issues.
Yesterday, I got back from London, where I attended a preliminary meeting on Australia's priorities. This meeting lasted for the whole day and was split into two parts. It was very rewarding that the first part was devoted to reviewing Russia's Presidency in the B20, while the second part was focused on identifying which outcomes of the Russian Presidency should be taken into account by Australia first and foremost as Australia assumes presidency. It should be noted that Turkey also had a large delegation there. All in all, almost 50 heads of international corporations and consulting companies attended the meeting. Although the meeting was held in London, it was hosted on the Australian territory - at the Embassy. And Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the meeting, saying that although the agenda of Australia's Presidency has yet to be announced, he was confident that facilitating economic growth and job creation (which were our priorities either) are already viewed as the priorities of Australia's Presidency. It seems that the official announcement will be made within just a few days.
The following slide presents only a part of the participants of the process. On the top of the slide, you can see the leading businesses of the G20, and in the bottom - companies that were actively involved in drafting recommendations of the B20. However, this list is not exhaustive. There were hundreds of participants separated in seven task forces that were functioning during Russia's Presidency.
I won't go into details of the principles of our work, since they are well known. On this slide you can see that we pioneered the approach when recommendations are released in several stages ahead of the actual deadline. We started with issuing the Green Book in May to outline draft recommendations. Then we had an interim version with the first amendments, corrections and additions. Its online and print editions were released at the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). On June 22, the B20 held a summit on the SPIEF's sidelines, bringing together about 600 people out of 6,000 participants of the forum. It should be noted that we tried to be open to all participants, and expressed willingness to participate in all discussions and debates. Building on their input, Mikhail Shmakov (Chair of the Labour 20 in 2013, Chair of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia) and I presented the White Book, comprising final recommendations, at the G20 Summit in St.Petersburg. Before that, over one hundred representatives of the B20 participated in a two-hour meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the SPIEF. The evolution of B20's recommendations is reflected by the transition from the Green Book to the White Book.
I would also like to highlight some facts and figures. Our efforts received high evaluation from the G20, which seems to be quite fair. When we tried to assess the B20's efficiency, we could see that we issued a record-high number of recommendations in the history of the B20. All in all, 403 recommendations have been issued over several years, and that's not our calculations, but those of the University of Toronto and the Higher School of Economics, which have been tracking and publishing these data on their website for many years. By the way, they collect statistical data on the G8 as well, and did so ever since the G7, as well as the G20, so I think that these data are impartial.
A third of these recommendations, 140 out of the total of 403, were put forward by representatives of the B20's task forces in 2013. Seventy five of them were included in the G20's final decisions, while over the last five years such proposals totaled 130.
I would also highlight a number of important recommendations in the sphere of macroeconomics. On this slide (new slide), the seven recommendations that made it to the G20's final documents are highlighted in green. The B20 under Russia's Presidency is in the lead compared to all other summits, including the Toronto Summit.
Employment related issues were high on our agenda. It is thanks to Ms Moskvina (Marina Moskvina, Sherpa of the Business 20 Task Force on Transparency and Anti-Corruption), who is present here today, that we were able to top all other presidencies in this respect, which was already mentioned by Svetlana Lukash. This is her personal achievement, and Mr Iakobachvilli's (David Iakobachvilli, Chairman of the Task Force on Job Creation, Employment and Investments in Human Capital) who chaired this group.
Much has been done with regard to investments. We have focused on this subject, since investments are crucial not only for Russia's Presidency but for global economic growth.
That is where I would like to stop. If you have any questions, my colleagues and I will be happy to answer them. Thank you.
More to be posted soon...