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G-20: Fact Sheet on Common Global Challenges

November 04, 2011

Today, at the Cannes Summit, G-20 Leaders reconfirmed their commitment to trade and development as important drivers for long-term global economic growth and stability as well as progress in energy, climate change, and anti-corruption efforts.

Doha Development Round: The G-20 Leaders made clear that they will not complete the Doha Development Agenda "if we continue to conduct negotiations as we have in the past" and committed "to pursue in 2012 fresh, credible approaches to furthering negotiations, including the issues of concern for Less Developed Countries." The Leaders instructed Trade Ministers in Geneva to implement such approaches and to engage in discussions of challenges and opportunities to the multilateral trading system.

Infrastructure: The G-20's infrastructure work has focused on ways to overcome obstacles to infrastructure investment in low-income countries (LICs), with a special emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa. Leaders called for action to mobilize infrastructure investment in developing countries, particularly LICs, and received valuable input from the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and a High Level Panel on Infrastructure Investment, comprised of 17 private-sector infrastructure experts:

•      Both the High Level Panel and the MDBs stressed that a key bottleneck to financing for infrastructure projects is a gap in the project preparation that is required to attract private capital. In G-20 discussions, the G-20 called on the MDBs to lead efforts to prioritize project preparation financing, and pursue innovative approaches to financing including the use of cost recovery through returns on successful projects.

•      The High Level Panel's other recommendations focused on the need for measures to improve procurement processes, better leverage multilateral development bank balance sheets, and build up human capital, most notably through a fellowship program proposed by James Harmon, which would engage LICs and private companies in public private partnerships.

•      The MDBs' other recommendations included greater harmonization of procurement processes and practices, establishment of platforms for disclosing information on infrastructure gaps and opportunities and enhancement of MDB staff incentives for engaging in public private partnerships and regional infrastructure projects.

•      The High Level Panel and the MDBs also worked together to produce a set of criteria to help identify promising infrastructure investment projects. These include benefits to regional integration, political support, transformational impact (including sustainability), maturity, institutional capacity, and attractiveness to the private sector. The G-20 asked the MDBs, working with countries involved, to pursue the implementation of transformational regional infrastructure projects based on these criteria.

Food Security and Agriculture: Consistent with the MYAP, the L'Aquila Food Security Initiative and the U.S. global food security initiative, Feed the Future, the G-20 endorsed an ambitious agenda to promote food security and agricultural development that respects and leverages the expertise and comparative advantage of Ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Development to address the underlying causes of food insecurity:

•      As part of the G-20 Agriculture Ministers' Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture, the G-20 created an Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) to provide more accurate, frequent and timely information on markets for agricultural commodities. The United States supports efforts to improve the reliability of data as a critical element of overall efforts to improve the functioning of markets for agricultural commodities. Through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States has a long history of making relevant data available at home and building the capacity of developing countries' national agricultural statistics services.

•      The Agriculture Ministers' Action Plan has also has emphasized increasing agricultural productivity through a joint research initiative with interested G-20 countries, universities and the private sector, aimed at sustainably increasing wheat production through the development of new seed strains. The G-20 action is consistent with and amplifies the impact of U.S. efforts through Feed the Future that apply a renewed focus on research and development to improving food security and long-term development of the agriculture sector. For example, in a public-private partnership to develop stress tolerant rice varieties for sub-Saharan Africa, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is engaging research institutions from Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria and other countries and building the capacity of their staff to use biotechnology tools for improving crops.

•      The Agriculture Ministers' Action Plan is intended to ensure there are no bans or restrictions on exports of food and agricultural commodities, in line with the global consensus announced in the communiqué of the Rome World Food Summit in 2009. Export restrictions impede market function, distort price signals to farmers and are just bad policy. The G-20 has followed up on a request from agriculture ministers to bring this issue to the attention of the World Trade Organization with regard to food purchased for urgent humanitarian need, as export restrictions are particularly pernicious when they obstruct humanitarian assistance.

•      The G-20 has also taken steps to implement leaders' commitment at the Toronto G-20 Summit, later reconfirmed in the Food Security Pillar of the G-20's Multi-Year Action Plan on Development to explore innovative, results-based mechanisms to harness the private sector for agricultural innovation. The United States and Canada, with the support of the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are co-chairing a process known as the Agricultural Pull Mechanism Initiative (AGPM) to determine whether pull mechanisms such as advance market commitments could be used to address market failures in the agriculture sector; other participants include the United Kingdom, France and Brazil. The AGPM has vetted 38 proposals in four technical categories – production increase, post-harvest loss, livestock, and nutrition – winnowing them down to four pilot projects for consideration by G-20 leaders and other donors.

•      Leaders recognized the progress of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) housed at the World Bank, in providing additional resources for agricultural development in LICs and invite the participation of other interested public and private partners. The United States is a founding donor to the GAFSP, along with the governments of the Republic of Korea, Spain and Canada and the Gates Foundation. To date, GAFSP has awarded $505 million to 12 low-income countries, eight of which are Feed the Future focus countries.

Other Actions in Energy, Anti-Corruption, and Development: Leaders also agreed to:

•      Improve the functioning and transparency of energy markets through the JODI-oil database and through a continued dialogue annually between producers and consumers on short, medium, and long term outlook and forecasts for oil.

•      Call for the implementation of the Cancun agreements and further progress in all areas of negotiation, including the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund as part of a balanced outcome in Durban.

•      Continue to implement the Action Plan on Anti-Corruption by promoting national measures to combat corruption and bribery and other initiatives.

•      Adopt the previously agreed G8 goal to bring down the global average cost of remittances to 5% by 2014, which translates into an additional $15 billion per year for recipient populations.

•      Encourage members to explore ways of enhancing the disclosure of payments to governments by multinational entities (MNEs), particularly in the extractives sector.

•      Press countries to join the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, a group which promotes the effective operations of international standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.

•      Support implementation or expansion of national social protection floors, defined by the countries themselves according to their individual circumstances.

•      Field test indicators developed by international organizations to measure the economic value added and job creation of private investment.

Barack Obama, G-20: Fact Sheet on Common Global Challenges Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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