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Why care about G-20? Some initial thoughts…

Dear Friends,

Imagine if the leaders of all these countries, finance ministers and central bank govenors were meeting in your town to set the global economic agenda: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia,Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, and, European Union.

What would you do? What would you like to say to them?

They will be meeting in Brisbane on November 15-16, 2014.

Key organisations meeting with them will be: United Nations (UN), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank,World Trade Organization (WTO), International Labour Organization (ILO),Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Financial Stability Board (FSB).

This is the G20 – or Group of 20

I have quite a few conversations with young peace, environmental and social justice activists/advocates recently in which they have told me that they are not interested in the G20 or do not see the relevance or not excited by the idea of protesting the G20. In the past, FoE in Australia has played a big role in the anti or counter globalisation movement- there were even T-shirts! Stop gobble-isation! (with a person eating the earth i think) But the visibility of the anti-capitalist/anti-globilisation movement has been poor since 9-11 (twin towers) – at least in wealthier nations, like ours. Still “Amigos de la Tierra” Latin America/Carribean played a visible role in anti-G20/counter summit in St Petersburg this month!

I have started thinking about putting something together to discuss the issues and am will be asking for contributions as well as questions…

The nations meeting here are the nations and organisations setting the “global agenda” on the environment, global warming, agriculture, nuclear industry, human rights, large-scale war. They buy our coal, iron, and uranium. They promote free trade, demand cash-crops and cheap labour, they have large-scale military industries and are the world’s largest polluters and consumers…

Their economic agenda is the reason we have to campaign to save forests, stop coal and CSG mining, protect the reef, oppose GMOs and food irradiation, oppose war games and militarism, fight for workers rights, demand equality, address colonisation, etc etc.

Here is a link to a Ph.D. paper By James Arvanitakis that examines FoE Australia’s role as a counter-globilisation organisation “Hope and Abundance: The counter globalisation movement as multitude – breaking the logic of pathological modernity”

http://www.unsworks.unsw.edu.au/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=UNSWORKS&docId=unsworks_856&fromSitemap=1&afterPDS=true

and here is a link for anti G20 stuff this year:
http://www.ourworldisnotforsale.org/en/signon/what-we-need-system-change-g20-counter-summit-final-declaration-st-petersburg-russia-sept-201

Another world is possible – I see the G-20 coming to Brisbane as a unique opportunity for us to work with kindred spirits- across campaigns, issues, struggles – to unite and to showcase our vision for a peaceful, ecologically and socially just world.

I would like to hear your comments and to work with you to develop a collaborative response to the G-20. Below is some info from the Office of the Prime Minister on why the think the G-20 is important.

Peace,
robin taubenfeld
friends of the earth brisbane

0411 118 737

From the Australian Government Dept of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

G20 Background Information

What is the G20?
The Group of Twenty (G20) is a group of twenty major advanced and emerging economies. The group started in1999 as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. In 2008, the first G20 leaders summit was held to deal with the global financial crisis. G20 leaders have met seven times since 2008, and there is now a leaders summit each year.

The G20 is the premier forum for its members’ global economic and financial cooperation. Its members represent around 85 per cent of global GDP, nearly 80 per cent of global trade, and two thirds of the world’s population.

The G20 includes 19 countries and the European Union. The G20 works closely with international organisations, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the OECD and the United Nations, on a wide range of global economic issues. These organisations are invited to attend key G20 meetings. Additionally, five guest countries are invited each year.

On 4 November 2011, G20 leaders agreed that Australia would host the G20 in 2014. Australia takes over the presidency of the G20 on 1 December 2013. Russia is the current president and Turkey will succeed Australia in 2015.

Why is the G20 important?

Hosting the G20 in 2014 gives Australia a valuable opportunity to influence the economic policies of the majoreconomies of the world and contribute to a healthy, growing and resilient global economy. Achieving such outcomes will boost Australian jobs, living standards and long-term prosperity.

What does a G20 host year look like?
The most important event in Australia’s G20 presidency is the G20 leaders summit, where world leaders meet to make decisions on key economic and financial policy issues. The summit will produce a declaration (communiqué) which outlines G20 policy commitments and how they will be implemented. In 2014, the summit will be held in Brisbane on 15 and 16 November at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. This will be the most significant meeting of world leaders that Australia has hosted.

The agenda for the summit is set by the host country in close consultation with G20 members and others. The current G20 host works with the immediate past and future G20 hosts (the G20 troika) to help manage the process. Since 1 December 2012, when we joined the G20 troika, Australia has been working closely with Russia and 2012 host Mexico to make the 2013 G20 a success.

The G20 host year requires a lot of preparation for the summit. Each G20 leader is represented by a senior official,known as a ‘sherpa’, who is responsible for overall coordination of G20 activities and advising their leader on the full range of G20 issues, including trade, anti-corruption, development, energy, employment and food security.

Australia will host various meetings of G20 officials during 2014.

As well as the leaders’ process, the Treasurer will lead a series of discussions (known as the ‘finance track’) on financial and macroeconomic issues, such as how to strengthen and improve the way global financial systems are governed. G20 finance ministers and central bank governors will meet regularly to discuss important global macroeconomic policy issues. The finance track also includes meetings of senior officials and experts.

There will be two meetings of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Australia in 2014 – Sydney from 22 to 23 February and Cairns from 20 to 21 September – as well as at least two more in the margins of international meetings in the United States. There will also be a meeting of senior finance officials in Canberra, with the dateyet to be finalised.

The total number and location of G20 related meetings in 2014 is not yet confirmed.

Outreach with other non-G20 countries and with the community in general is an essential part of how the G20 operates. The G20 considers ideas from a variety of sources, which in previous years have included business, labour, civil society, thought leaders and youth. A number of Australian business and community leaders will have the opportunity to contribute to G20 discussions in 2014. Announcements have already been made about a Business 20 (B20) a Labour 20 (L20), a Think 20 and a Queensland 20 (Q20) and there will be further announcements as our host year approaches. There is also extensive outreach by the G20 presidency, G20 troika and G20 members with the United Nations, other international organisations and non-G20 countries, which is published on the G20 website.

More information

A G20 Taskforce has been established within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) to oversee the overall policy and operational arrangements for G20 2014, and to work closely with all relevant agencies in the Australian Government. The Treasury is leading development of policy to support the finance track meetings and is also providing operational support to these meetings. The G20 Taskforce in PM&C coordinates all security arrangements throughout the host year.

A separate information sheet on G20 representation is attached. You can find more information about this year’sG20 in Russia athttp://www.g20.org/.

2014 Leaders Summit – Brisbane

Host city exposure

The G20 leaders summit will be an important showcase for Brisbane, Queensland and Australia more broadly.
In Australia, previous host cities for major events such as APEC and CHOGM have received significant exposure to the international community and significant media coverage up to and during the event.
A G20 Taskforce has been established within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) to oversee the policy and operational arrangements for G20 2014. The Taskforce coordinates all security arrangements throughout the host year.

Hosting the G20 will mean income for Brisbane’s hotels and venues and additional jobs. It means influential people telling others about their experiences here – and thousands of reporters from all around the globe writing about Brisbane and its world class facilities. Media coverage of Brisbane in the lead up to and during the G20 in November 2014 will produce ongoing benefits as people around the world see Brisbane’s attractiveness as a business and leisure destination.

Dates
The G20 summit will be held from Saturday 15 to Sunday 16 November 2014 in Brisbane. It is expected that a number of supporting meetings including meetings of officials will also be held in Brisbane from Wednesday 12 November to Friday 14 November 2014.

Attendance
Based on attendance at previous G20 meetings, the summit will attract up to 25 leaders, seven heads of international organisations, 4000 delegates and around 3000 domestic and international media personnel.
Venues and accommodation The principal meeting venue will be the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

A large number of hotels will be booked by the Taskforce in the Brisbane CBD and Southbank areas.
Accommodation arrangements, contracts and registrations for the summit will be coordinated by the
Taskforce.

Security

Australia has an international reputation for managing large-scale events in a safe and professional manner.
Responsibility for security arrangements will be shared between the Australian Government and the
Queensland Government in accordance with long standing arrangements. The G20 Taskforce retains overall
security coordination for all Commonwealth, State and Territory G20 2014 security matters.

Australian security agencies will be working closely with visiting delegations to ensure the security of foreign
dignitaries.

In accordance with normal practice, the Australian Government does not make any comments in relation to specific security arrangements for the event.

Road closures and other disruptions

There will be some disruption in and around the Brisbane CBD and Southbank areas during the summit, and the Australian and Queensland Governments are working together to minimise the impact.
There will be some road closures to allow motorcades to travel through the city. Advice about disruptions will be advertised closer to the summit in 2014.

Public participation
A number of ‘town hall’ style public forums will be held in 2013 and 2014 to inform the community about arrangements for the summit, including general information, security and accreditation arrangements and possible road closures.

Up to 500 Queensland volunteers are expected to assist with the G20 summit. More information about
volunteers will be available in the next few months.
The formal meetings around the G20 are not public events.

More information
Public enquiries are welcomed by the G20 Taskforce, on the general enquiries number on 1800 922 011 or via email at g20info.

The G20 2014 information page at http://www.dpmc.gov.au/g20/index.cfm is regularly updated.

Appendix to G20 information sheet

G20 Representation
G20 members
• Argentina
• Australia
• Brazil
• Canada
• China
• European Union
• France
• Germany
• Indonesia
• India
• Italy
• Japan
• Republic of Korea
• Mexico
• Russia
• Saudi Arabia
• South Africa
• Turkey
• United Kingdom
• United States.

Each G20 host invites five guest countries each year. As agreed under Korea’s presidency in 2010, the five invitees include Spain as a permanent guest, the head of an Asian forum (typically ASEAN), two African countries(typically the head of the African Union and the New Partnership for African Development), and one other country. Guest invitations for G20 2014, when Australia is host, will be announced after our host year begins.

Key international organisations
• United Nations (UN)
• International Monetary Fund (IMF)
• World Bank
• World Trade Organization (WTO)
• International Labour Organization (ILO)
• Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
• Financial Stability Board (FSB)

Find some more info on: http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/g20/
References
Hope and Abundance- the counter globalisation movement as multitude – breaking the logic of pathological modernity

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