G20 needs to do more on inequality, climate and migration

In response to the G20 Leaders’ meeting in Hangzhou, China, Oxfam’s Advocacy and Campaigns Director Steve Price-Thomas said:

“The G20 reiterated previous commitments to reduce inequality, boost the participation of women in work and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. The G20 said they would draw up a proper response to the refugee and migrant challenge next year, which is too late. The world needs urgent action now, not more words.”

On inequality and tax reform:

“The G20’s consensus on developing new global tax rules, and the progress in gaining cross-country agreement on sharing tax information, is good news.  But the BEPS project and the framework for its implementation will fall short of creating the fair and transparent system needed to tackle global tax avoidance. 

“Many countries and jurisdictions are continuing harmful and aggressive tax competition that shifts the tax burden onto citizens and drains government budgets, driving the inequality crisis. Developing countries lose at least $100 billion every year due to corporate tax dodging – money that could pay for a lot of schools and hospitals. For true tax reform, developing countries need to be equal decision-makers alongside the G20.

“G20 nations and international institutions must fight corporate tax avoidance and the associated network of tax havens enabling it. They must deal with the harmful competition between countries engaged in a destructive race to the bottom that benefits only the rich.

“Once again, the G20 committed to boosting the number of women in the workforce. They need to do much more if they are to effectively deal with global gender inequality,” said Price-Thomas.

On climate and fossil fuels:

“The urgency for action to curb emissions and help the poorest cope with climate change cannot be overstated. The fact that G20 nations are seeking the ratification of the Paris climate agreement should be a matter of course.

“Over 60 million people are facing crop failures and worsening hunger today because of erratic climate events and other climate-related weather events could further compromise crops and food security,” said Price-Thomas.

Global displacement:

“The G20’s commitment to start developing a proper response in 2017 to the global displacement crisis is too little, too late. While Germany has recently welcomed far more refugees than the other richest nations, there remains a major gap with poorer countries hosting the vast majority of refugees.

“Leaders must ensure that the rights and humanitarian needs of all those crossing borders - for whatever reason - are met. Rich country governments must host more refugees and commit to do more to help the poorer countries sheltering the majority.

"The G20 are silent on the largest group of people on the move: those who are internally displaced. The recent UN negotiations on refugees and migrants in New York also didn’t discuss this group of vulnerable people and their needs. This cannot continue," said Price-Thomas.

Notes to editors: 
  1. The G20 meets in Hangzhou, China on September 4-5. http://www.g20.org/English/
  2. Oxfam report: An Economy for the 1% https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp210-economy-one-percent-tax-havens-180116-en_0.pdf
  3. NASA: ‘Climate trends continue to break records’ http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/climate-trends-continue-to-break-records/
  4. ‘Shattered records show climate change is an emergency today, scientists warn’ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/17/shattered-records-climate-change-emergency-today-scientists-warn
  5. Oxfam analysis on the number of refugees the six richest G20 countries host: less than 9% https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2016-07-18/six-richest-countries-host-less-9-refugees
  6. UNHCR: ‘Global forced displacement hits record high’ http://www.unhcr.org/uk/news/latest/2016/6/5763b65a4/global-forced-displacement-hits-record-high.html
Contact information: 

Oxfam spokespeople are available for interview and will be responding to developments.

Dannielle Taaffe, in the UK: dannielle.taaffe@oxfaminternational.org / 0044 7917 110066

Stephen Tsui, in Hong Kong: stephen.tsui@oxfam.org.hk / 00852 98325815