Note – THP will be represented at the June 2014 C20: the Civil Society Forum of the G20 Summit. THP is an NGO registered in 9 members of the G20.
Under Australia’s presidency, the G20 will focus on economic growth and resilience, and the C20 is addressing four key issues. In partnering with women and men as they overcome hunger and extreme poverty, THP has learned key lessons relevant to these issues.
Inclusive Growth and Employment. Reducing inequality means increasing the incomes of those living in poverty, the vast majority of whom are small-scale food farmers – mostly women. Research shows that extremely poor women only succeed in moving out of poverty when they have access to a comprehensive package of community services, including health, education, safe water and sanitation, simple technology that reduces drudgery and real voice in the decisions that affect their lives. The fastest path to reducing inequality is the empowerment of women food farmers, and this must be a G20 priority.
Infrastructure. C20 organizers have identified the need to couple investments in social infrastructure with physical infrastructure. Indeed, our experience is that better social infrastructure can lead to better physical infrastructure. Empowered communities can mobilize local efforts to build key local infrastructure, such as feeder roads, markets, schools and clinics in ways that optimally meet local priorities. Studies shows that infrastructure is not gender neutral – women must have a key voice in the design of infrastructure projects to ensure they meet the needs of women.
Climate and Sustainability. Small-scale food farmers can play the key role, as agro-ecological farming systems can provide the locally-tailored, knowledge-intensive environmental services required to build vibrant, sustainable food systems and restore the degraded natural environment. G20 nations must invest in long-term, landscape-level strategies that restore the environment while empowering small-scale farmers to adapt to climate change.
Governance. “All politics is local” when it comes to meeting the G20 agenda. Strong, decentralization – participatory local governance – is key to improving governance in ways that reduce corruption, poverty and inequality; improve health and education; deepen democratic values; and increase the voices of women and marginalized groups. Studies show that people are more willing to pay taxes to local government, where they can directly see the benefits of their money.
Overall, G20 Leadership is Key to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. The 2014 G20 priorities must be addressed in this larger context. G20 countries must stand unified for the adoption and implementation of bold goals and targets that focus on the empowerment of people – particularly women – as the pathway to an equitable, resilient and vibrant future.