Civil Society 20 chair Tim Costello says the G20 needs to ensure its goals are implemented or risk losing the trust of the people.
The G20’s credibility is on the line due to a lack of action by the group, global charity and welfare advocates say.
Finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s biggest economies are meeting in Cairns this weekend – an event that will set the framework for November’s leaders summit in Brisbane.
Treasurer Joe Hockey met with leaders from groups representing the world’s business and civil sectors, among others, on Saturday morning ahead of the finance meeting which he is co-chairing.
Civil Society 20 (C20) chair Rev Tim Costello gave the G20 a five out of 10 rating, saying its glory days were over and it needed to ensure its goals were implemented or risk losing the trust of the people.
“We made a very strong statement this morning that implementation has really been problematic and that’s why the G20’s credibility is on the line,” the chief executive of World Vision Australia told media in Cairns soon after meeting with Mr Hockey.
“It had a burning platform when the Global Financial Crisis hit and it acted.”
“That was its glory moment, since then it has been more aspirational statements than achievements and implementation.”
However, Mr Costello said the G20 remained the best hope in addressing the world’s major challenges, including the issue of tax evasion, climate change, inequality and terrorism.
“So G20 remains the best hope, the one hope; if it fails where do we turn?” he said.
Mr Costello said if the G20 didn’t achieve its goal of growing the global economy by a further two per cent over five years its credibility issue would be heightened.
“To have legitimacy in a fragmenting world the simplest thing they could do is unequivocally commit to transparency,” he said.
Mr Costello said he told the finance ministers the world was falling apart, that fear was overwhelming hope and the world needed to work together to overcome global challenges.
Although the C20 supports the G20’s goal to lift global growth by 2018, leaders need to ensure the world’s poorest get a slice of the pie by way of jobs and higher incomes, he said.
“This has to be inclusive growth,” he said.
“If it’s growth that just transfers into profits, not jobs growth, that goes to the top one per cent – what good is that?”
The C20 wants the G20 to commit to growing the incomes of the world’s poorest by two per cent in the next five years.
Some finance ministers have already indicated they are committed to an inclusive approach to growth.
The C20 is a platform for dialogue between the political leaders of G20 countries and representatives of civil society organisations.