Co-funded by the European Union

Business and labour organisations’ call to G20 governments

  • On 1st December 2020, Italy took over the G20 Presidency
  • This highly challenging period will require a lot of efforts from all G20 members to deliver an inclusive and resilient recovery
  • The IOE, together with 13 international business and labour organisations, have signed a joint letter to G20 governments calling to ensure that “building back better” is not just a mantra but materialises into concrete positive outcomes

As repeatedly expressed by the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) in different forums, renewed and stronger multilateralism is key. “The urgent need for deep collaboration remains among the leading economies of the world to address the health, economic and employment impact of Covid-19. The response to the immediate crisis will continue to be a central priority for the Italian G20 with many countries currently in some form of lockdown due to a devastating second wave of the pandemic.However, we must also address the longer-term issues of making economies and labour markets sustainably successful.” 

With the objective to advise and take initiative, the IOE has signed a letter to G20 Governments. In addition to the IOE, the letter was endorsed by the the World Economic Forum, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), UN Global Compact, International Chamber of Commerce, The B Team, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, IMAGINE, BSR, The Climate Group, Business for Nature, the We Mean Business Coalition and the Capital Coalition.

It highlights how “the pandemic has compounded several global fragilities - including economic exclusion, social inequalities and environmental degradation - that must be addressed in a globally coordinated manner to ensure an inclusive and resilient rebuild from the crisis.

The signatories “call on governments and financial regulators to renew global cooperation, build sustainability into the backbone of the global recovery effort and take urgent and decisive action to:

1. Spend but spend smartly.To safeguard and augment economic stability, governments should continue to release fiscal stimulus spending to minimize damage and support the nascent recovery as the crisis evolves. [...]

2. Tackle inequality through social protection.The crisis has greatly exacerbated social and economic inequalities and human rights abuses. Governments must support vulnerable populations, secure jobs and enforce strong labour and human rights standards. Priority should be placed on safety, access to healthcare, job retention schemes and incentives for job creation, income support and worker reskilling and upskilling in high-emitting industries.

3. Mitigate risks to the global economy by bridging the “stimulus gap” in emerging markets. Coordinated international assistance and mobilization of private finance is needed to ensure that all countries have the fiscal space needed to mitigate the health and economic implications of the pandemic and other ongoing crises.

4. Lead the world on climate action. Publicly recognize the planetary emergency and commit to reducing emissions to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, in line with the highest ambition of the Paris Agreement. Prioritize policy and investment towards this goal, redirecting financing away from polluting industries and putting G20 economies on track to halve emissions this decade.

5. Reverse nature loss.Commit to reversing nature and biodiversity loss by 2030 at the latest. Foster collective efforts to halt and reverse deforestation and safeguard at least 30% of the world’s oceans and land by 2030.

The role of the private sector is also highlighted in the letter with the commitment to support the sustainable development, to ensure occupational health and safety, to invest in climate innovation and technology and to drive business valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

In addition, the IOE underlines other priorities for this G20 presidency, namely:

  • the support to entrepreneurship,
  • the fight against informality,
  • strong and sustainable social protection systems,
  • embracing of digital transformation,
  • skills development.

These priorities are not new but over time they were not properly followed-up by concrete action. 

Overall, “Building back better” has become the mantra over the last months. However, “[t]his will not happen automatically but will require a clear and bold vision. Bringing the world back to work and putting economies on a sustainable growth-path must be the key focus for this G20-Presidency”.