G20 Leaders’ Declaration Lacks Plans for Jobs and Social Protection

The G20 Leaders’ statement released on 22 November covers many highly important topics but does not provide the urgently needed coordinated boost for jobs and social protection.

The support for equitable access to treatments and eventual vaccines is welcome, however there is no new initiative on support for developing countries and no progress on international tax reform.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “The world is facing its greatest employment challenge in living memory, however the G20 leaders have not shown the leadership that is needed. The Declaration acknowledges the scale of the challenge without offering real solutions. Coordinated action, with support for the least wealthy countries, is needed for recovery and resilience. The lack of global ambition in this G20 Declaration is extremely disappointing and will leave countries on their own to fight the terrible economic consequences of the pandemic.”

Some positive elements of the Declaration include its references to the need for action on sectors such as tourism and agriculture as well as on anti-corruption and to the importance of education, although there are no commitments on financing education or supporting teachers or others working in schools. Modest proposals on climate action and biodiversity are also included, as is the need for reform and financing of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Pierre Habbard, General Secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said: “The G20 was initially created to support crisis-hit economies in 2008-2009 and to coordinate policies toward sustainable growth models, including reducing inequalities. Today, we are at risk of G20 fatigue. Next year will be decisive to raise the bar and the ambition for this global forum, and to bring it back to its initial mandate: getting us out of this global crisis”.

“The world is looking for breakthroughs on critical issues of concern to the world economy, but unfortunately these have not been delivered. We look forward to working with the Italian G20 Presidency to get real progress on these questions,” added Sharan Burrow.