G20 Turkish Presidency Organized a High-Level Side Event at the UN SDG Summit

G20 Turkish Presidency, in collaboration with UNDP, organized a high-level side event on the margins of the UN Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015 in New York to discuss “the G20s contribution to implementing the SDGs”. The event helped prepare the ground for discussion at the G20 Leaders´ Summit in Antalya in November.

Deputy Prime Minister Cevdet Yılmaz of Turkey, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria delivered the key-note addresses. Turkey’s G20 Sherpa Ambassador Ayşe Sinirlioğlu, representative of the China, Minister of Health and Social Action of Senegal Ms. Awa Marie Colle Selk,  UNESCAP Executive Secretary and the UN Sherpa for G20 Shamshad AKHTAR and Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation provided their insights in response to the keynote speeches.

Deputy Prime Minister Yılmaz underlined that the “G20 is well placed to contribute, given that it represents two thirds of the world’s population, 75% of global trade and 85% of the global GDP and is also home to around half the world’s poor. G20 can build on its existing development agenda to bring together the private sector, civil society and development partners to help deliver on the ambition of the SDGs”.

Mr. Yılmaz also stressed that the G20 contribution needs to be based on its added value and strengths. Discussion at the side event focused on these areas where the G20 can have maximum impact. This includes this year´s focus on low income developing countries (LIDCs), where the G20 can strengthen policy coordination in areas that impact on LIDC growth and development, and help enhance LIDC integration into the global economy.

Speakers also agreed that the G20 is well placed to support the means of implementation of the SDGs, including development finance.  Ongoing G20 work on tax and remittances is helping countries maximize their own resources for development. This year, a G20 Call to Action for Strengthening Tax capacity focuses on support for domestic tax collection systems. New G20 national remittances plans will help realise the G20 commitment to reduce the global average cost of remittances to 5%.  Other actions include work on tax incentives for investment and support for developing countries inclusion in the G20 international tax reform agenda.

Deputy Prime Minister Yılmaz in his address pointed out that “G20 work targets key sectors for growth and development, which will be critical to the achievement of the SDGs. On infrastructure, G20 work contributes practical ways to help countries remove constraints and see real progress on financing. A new G20 Action Plan on Food Security and Sustainable Food Systems will support the implementation of SDGs 2 and 12 by focusing on investment, market transparency, productivity and the enormous global problem of food loss and waste.  A new G20 Energy Access Action Plan will help support SDG 7 by focusing on sub-Saharan Africa this year.  Actions will strengthen G20 coordination in the region and establish a long-term voluntary cooperation framework”.

Other speakers stated that the G20 can also contribute to the SDGs by helping to ensure developing countries are able to take advantage of opportunities in the global economy.  The private sector´s role in development is very important in this regard.  Work in 2015 has focused on how firms in LIDCs, in-particular SMEs, can participate in Global Value Chains (GVCs).  A G20 Leaders’ Call on Inclusive Business also aims to promote opportunities for poor people and communities to connect to markets. The G20 will help develop the evidence base through a new policy platform, bringing together the private sector, IOs and G20 members.

Ambassador Ayşe Sinirlioğlu highlighted that the G20´s dialogue with LIDCs and development partners is critical to its approach to supporting the SDGs. The Turkish Presidency has organized a number of high-level events throughout the year, including in the margins of the FfD conference in Addis Ababa, at the UN General Assembly and with LIDC partners directly.  The UN Summit side event represented a continuation of this outreach activity, enabling the Turkish Presidency and G20 Leaders to take on board feedback and suggestions.

G20 Turkish Presidency also shared with the participants an information note on G20’s contributions to the SDGs.