Sign-On Statement for a Global Leaders Forum

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Towards a Global Leaders Forum that Promotes Democratic Global Governance and an Equitable and Sustainable Economic Recovery

International Civil Society Statement ahead of the 2010 G-20 Leaders Summit in Toronto

The world urgently needs democratic and global decision-making that puts the international economic and financial system at the service of equity, economic and social justice, human rights, and environmental sustainability. A forum recognized as legitimate and credible by all will be far more effective in addressing today’s critical global issues.

In this vein, the G-20 can only be the first step. To achieve the broader goal of democratic governance, a global leaders’ forum must include the effective participation of low income countries. The immediate inclusion of the African Union, followed perhaps by other regional bodies, would be a step towards a more comprehensive constituency-based system. It must respect democratic principles of inclusion, representation, transparency and accountability, and must provide avenues for hearing citizens’ voices. In the medium term, such a forum needs to transition towards a democratic and global leaders summit process within the framework of the United Nations.

The world has been battered by a series of interconnected and unrelenting crises: food, fuel, finance and climate. These crises have exposed deep-rooted fragilities and imbalances in the global financial system and its governance, and have led to efforts to reform the existing international financial architecture.  

In past years, various entities have underscored the need for a new multilateral leaders’ forum to help govern the global economy, highlighting the failings of existing structures. In response to the global dimensions of the current crisis and the rising importance of several emerging economies, the G-8 has been transformed into the G-20, self-designated as the “premier forum for international economic co-operation.” Since 2008, they have met three times at the Heads of State level, discussing reforms to the global economic system.

Compared to the G-8, the G-20 has a greater number and diversity of members, representing 65 per cent of the world’s population and 85 per cent of global gross national product. But the G-20 remains a self-selected body and has no mandate other than its own regarding the global economy—or any other issue. The G-20 excludes all low-income countries. Indeed, more than 170 UN member states, many of whom are suffering disproportionate impacts arising from the crisis, have no representation at all.

While promising to repair the global economy and build an inclusive and sustainable recovery, G-20 leaders instead injected 1.1 trillion dollars into many of the same institutions whose economic, finance and trade policies exacerbated the speed, scale and impact of the crisis. Reforms have been superficial, and any shifts to the current economic paradigm still seem temporary, rather than long term.

Reforms to global governance must go hand in hand with an economic paradigm that promotes global equity, justice and environmental sustainability, in which governments respect their human rights obligations and all citizens are able to claim their rights.

For a leaders group to work effectively in form, and responsibly in function, it must respect democratic principles of inclusion, representation, transparency and accountability, and must provide avenues for hearing citizens’ voices. Such a forum needs to be flexible and manageable in terms of its size and membership, while also ensuring that political leadership can be brought to bear on global challenges. Its policies must promote the interests of the global community in general, while reflecting the diversity of countries in particular. Ultimately, building an international leaders forum must be done within the context of strengthening multilateralism more generally and the role of the United Nations in particular.  

2010 is an opportunity to ensure that the G-20’s meetings in Toronto and Seoul are a force for democratic and sustainable change in the way the world is run. The undersigned organizations from around the world call on all governments to adhere to the following key principles and benchmarks for renewing multilateralism and building a truly global leaders forum:

Key principles for a more democratic leaders’ forum for international cooperation:
1) Inclusive of the poorest countries - Starting with the AU. There is great diversity among developing countries.  Brazil, India, China and South Africa have emerged as important new players, but they cannot be expected to speak effectively to the interests of Sub Saharan Africa or low-income countries and least developed countries (LDCs) in other regions. Recovery for these countries will require distinct strategies reflecting their specific realities. These include high debt loads, a narrower range of exports, a weaker industrial base, a large rural population, heavy disease burdens, greater dependence on aid, and recurrent internal conflict. As long as these countries are not at the table, the issues and solutions being discussed will likely fall short of their needs and lack credibility.  As a first step for 2010, the African Union (AU) must be included in G-20 meetings—as a participant, not an observer. Over time there must be further representation for LDCs at the table.

2) Representative in composition. A global leaders’ forum may need to be limited in size, but to be legitimate and credible, it must also be representative. Different regions must be engaged through a constituency system with decision-making by consensus, similar to the practices of other international institutions—with the important difference that countries should be free to choose their own groupings. The chair of each constituency should rotate on a periodic basis.

3) Transparent and accountable. Just as the G-8 has begun to modestly tackle transparency and accountability for decisions taken (through the pending release of a broader G-8 Accountability Framework), the locus of power has shifted to an institution that is even less transparent and accountable. In the short term, the G-20 must put in place measures to address these deficiencies by extending an Accountability Framework to all G-20 commitments. This should be supported by ‘expert groups’ that are empowered to solicit and receive outside reports. The G-20 and its expert groups should operate transparently by making meeting schedules, participants and expert lists, agendas and background documents publicly available on websites. An accountability report drawing upon the work of the expert groups should be publicly available 30 days prior to the G-20’s annual summit.

4) Strengthens the role of the UN. The G-20 needs to position itself as a forum that recognizes and strengthens the role of the United Nations. The leaders summit should be part of the UN framework. Recently, the UN Commission of Experts on the International Monetary and Financial System called on the establishment of a Global Economic Coordinating Council within the UN that can be a good model. It would meet annually at the Heads of State level to assess developments and provide leadership in economic, social and ecological issues, and help secure consistency and coherence in the policy goals of all the major international organizations. In the medium term, such a forum could replace the ad hoc measures proposed above.

5) Open to civil society. Non-state actors are increasingly important players in international processes. Civil society critiques and proposals have positively affected governments’ understanding of the issues, policy agendas and methods of work. Institutionalizing evolving best practices of the current ‘Civil G-8’ dialogue within the G-20, and encouraging the ‘expert groups’ described above to solicit and receive formal civil society submissions for G-20 consideration would be an important step forward. G-20 governments and parliaments should also explicitly commit to effective consultations with civil society ahead of, and between, summit meetings.

If leaders fail to make this shift, the world will lack the effective leadership forum it requires to deal with the present crisis and avert future ones.   

Signatories (As of April 14, 2010):
ActionAid International
The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)
Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)
Global Campaign for Education
Global Health Council
Global Movement for Children
International Trade Union Confederation
Medical Mission Sisters International
Oxfam International
Third World Network
VIVAT International
World AIDS Campaign
World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy

Arab NGO Network for Development
European Network on Debt and Development
Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa

Campaña, Argentina
Foro Ciudadano por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos (FOCO), Argentina

Australian Council for International Development, Australia
Jubilee Australia, Australia

Lokoj Institute, Bangladesh
Mattra, Bangladesh
Organization for Social Development of Unemployed Youth, Bangladesh
Padakhep Manabik Unnayan Kendra, Bangladesh

Fundación Niños con Valor, Bolivia

Associação Brasileira de Gays, Lésbicas, Bissexuais, Travestis e Transexuais – A BGLT, Brasil
Hospital Universitário Pedro Ernesto - Grupo Com Vida, Brasil

AJVI, Burundi
Burundi Village Concept Project, Burundi

Abundant Grace Foundation, Cameroon
Action pour l'Humanisation des Hôpitaux, Cameroun
ADEJ, Cameroun
Global Welfare Association (GLOWA), Cameroon
RECODH , Cameroun

AIDS Committee of Ottawa, Canada
Arc-en-ciel d'Afrique, Canada
At the Table, Canada
Canada Africa Partnership On AIDS (CAP AIDS), Canada
Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Canada
Canadian Harm Reduction Network, Canada
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Canada
Council of Canadians, Canada
Daughters of Africa International Inc., Canada
L'Entraide missionnaire, Canada
Gen Transnational, Canada
Global Network of People living with HIV/AIDS,  Canada
Halifax Initiative Coalition, Canada
Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, Canada
Make Poverty History Canada, Canada
Micah Challenge Canada, Canada
RESULTS Canada, Canada
University of Ottawa, Department of Medicine, Canada
World Federalist Movement - Canada, Canada

Agrupación HAIN, Chile

The AIDS Prevention Education Project for Chinese Youth (APEPCY), China
ATKEPP International Consulting Ltd., China
UIC Voluntary Service Development Center, China

Senderos Asociación Mutual, Colombia
Mecanismo Social de control y apoyo en Vih, Colombia

CAP D'Afrique, Comoros

Asovihsida, Costa Rica

Czech AIDS Help Society, The Czech Republic

Amans Foundation International, Democratic Republic of Congo
Solidarité pour Tous, Democratic Republic of Congo

Finnish NGO Platform to the EU, Finland

Alliance Sud, France

VENRO, Association of German Development NGOs, Germany

Afro Global Alliance (GH), Ghana
Amansan Aid Ghana, Ghana
Care and Concern Action Group, Ghana
Everimages Career Consult, Ghana
Foundation for International Human Development and Environmental Studies, Ghana
Friends for Life, Ghana
Health for All, Ghana
Life Relief Foundation, Ghana
Pathfinders Outreach Ministry, Ghana
TB Voice Network, Ghana

ONGD  Africando, Gran Canaria (España)

A.D.2000 Trust, India
Atmata Kendram, India
Ayushi Biotech Immunity Research Centre, India
Blood donors Orgnisation for Social Service ( BOSS) & Centre for Information: Prevention & Counselling on AIDS ( CIPCA), India
Bundelkhand Christian Social Services, India
BUTTERFLY: Nature Club of India (Panchkula) , India
Catholic Relief Service, India
FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance, India
Health, Education and Rehabilitation Trust, India
Institute of Social Empowerment and Rural Technologies(I-SERT), India
International Alliance for the Prevention of AIDS, India
Manipur network of drug users', India
National Health System Resource Center, India
Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, India
North East Calcutta Social Welfare Organisation, India
Peace Foundation India, India
Prema Foundation, India
Rotary Club, India
Sanjay Gandhi Sewa Sansthan,Deoria (U.P.), India
Social Awareness Society, India
Voice of People, India
You & I Network, India

Anti Debt Coalition (KAU), Indonesia
Commission of AIDS Kota Pasuruan, Indonesia
Indonesian Harm Reduction Network ( JANGKAR ), Indonesia
International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID), Indonesia

CRBM, Italy
Fair, Italy

Bouaké Eveil, Ivory Coast

JANIC, Japan
Association of Citizens for International Solidarity Taxes (ACIST), Japan
JANIC, Japan
Ugoku/Ugokasu (Global Call to Action against Poverty Japan), Japan

PF "Challenge", Kazakhstan

African Women's Development and Communications Network/FEMNET, Kenya
Circle Time Initiative, Kenya
FIDA kenya, Kenya
Fountain of Hope Life Center, Kenya
New Lifestyle Resource Centre, Kenya
Pedagogue Milestones, Kenya
Phage Group, Kenya
The international community of women living with HIV (kenya chapter), Kenya
Trocaire, Kenya
Ungasskenya Groups, Kenya
World Youth Economic Forum, Kenya
Youth Living with AIDS, Kenya

Public Fund Youth Integration Service, Kyrgyzstan

African Child Peace Initiative (ACPI) Inc, Liberia
Fuamah Citizen Union, Liberia
Liberia Institute of Public Opinion (LIPO), Liberia
Liberia United for the Welfare of Children (LUWOC), Liberia

Family Planning and Sexual Health Association, Lithuania
Lithuanian Positive Group, Lithuania

Association Fonds de Solidarité avec les PVVIH de Madagascar- AFS-PVVIH, Madagascar

Council for NGOs in Malawi – CONGOMA, Malawi

Global Health Candlelight, Mali

Aids Candlelight Memorial Association, Mauritius
Chrysalide, Mauritius
Prévention Information et Lutte contre le Sida (PILS) , Mauritius

Corporación Cosmetológica, Mexico
Varones Siglo 21, Mexico

Terra-1530, Moldova

Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia

Global South Initiative, Nepal
Rural Area Development Programme (RADP), Nepal
Sudur Paschim Samaj, Nepal

Both ENDS, Netherlands
Niza, Netherlands

Council for International Development, New Zealand
New Zealand AIDs Foundation, New Zealand

CRS Niger, Niger

African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Nigeria
Afro Global Alliance (NIG), Nigeria
Alpha Vision Alliance International, Nigeria
ANPPCAN  Nigeria Rivers State, Nigeria
BEC International, Nigeria
Chevron Nigeria Limited, Nigeria
Childolescent and Family Survival Organisation (CAFSO), Nigeria
Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation, Nigeria
CSCM HIV/AIDS Intervention Program, Nigeria
The Genius Generation, Nigeria
Global Action Alliance, Nigeria
Global Alert For Defence of Youth and the Less Privileged(GADYLP), Nigeria
Grassroots Empowerment Network, Nigeria
Health Link Organization, Nigeria
HIV\AIDS Rehabilitation for Rural Widows and Orphans (HARRUWO), Nigeria
Human Rights and Justice Work Group,Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), Nigeria
Image Imagination Foundation, Nigeria
The International Community of Women living with HIV and AIDS (ICW Nigeria), Nigeria
Koyenum Immalah Foundation, Nigeria
Life Helpers Initiative, Nigeria
Network of NGOs Working on AIDS in Amuwo Odofin LGA (NENGOWA), Nigeria
Noble Missions for Change Initiative (NMCI), Nigeria
Odibu Club HIV Treatment Adherence advance, Nigeria
Popular Age Youth Foundation, Nigeria
Positive Youth Initiative Nigeria (PYIN), Niger
Share Hope Organization, Nigeria
Stronghold Support Services, Nigeria
Womankind Nigeria for Women living with HIV and AIDS, Nigeria
The World International Sacred Peace Movement, Nigeria
United Nations of Youth Network Nigeria (UNOY), Nigeria
United Youth Front International, Nigeria
Upez African Humanitarian Development Projects, Nigeria
Young Ones Outreach Development Initiative, Nigeria

Blitz Bureau, Pakistan
Chanan Development Association (CDA), Pakistan
Human Development & Research Organization (HDRO), Pakistan
Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Pakistan
Life Foundation, Pakistan
Organization for Social Development (OSD), Pakistan
Pakistan Disabled Foundation, Pakistan
Sheed Society, Pakistan
Social Welfare & Community Development Society (SWCDS), Pakistan
Society for Awareness of Human development and Rights (SAHAR), Pakistan
Youth Advocacy Network (YAN), Pakistan

Population Services Pilipinas Incorporated, Philippines
Third World Movement Against the Exploitation of Women, Philippines

Action Jeunesse pour le Développement, Republic of the Congo
Association Bomoi, République du Congo
Association Congolaise d'Education et de Prévention contre les Maladies et la Drogue, Republic of the Congo

DICO, Rwanda
GLODI-Global Development Initiative, Rwanda
SIDECO, Rwanda

Sierra Leone Alliance Against Hunger, Sierra Leone

Community Empowerment for Peace and Integrated Development (CEPID), Somalia

New Hope Federation, South Africa
Programme for the well-being of children, South Africa
Rhodes University, South Africa
Seeds For Life South Africa, South Africa

Attac España, Spain
Attac Canaria, Spain
Foro Social de Murcia Francisco Morote Vidal, Spain
Intersindical Valenciana, Spain

ECDIC, Sri Lanka
Environment & Community Development Information Centre (ECDIC), Sri Lanka
Global Call to Action Against Poverty-GCAP Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka-United Nations Friendship Organisation, Sri Lanka

Berne Declaration, Switzerland

Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law, Tajikistan
CSO "Equal opportunities", Tajikistan

Community of Volunteers for the World Tanzania, Tanzania
Ebeneza Group, Tanzania
Institute of Social Work, Tanzania
Iringa Development of Youth Disabled and Children Care (IDYDC), Tanzania
ORES Tanzania, Tanzania
World Vision Tanzania-Lake Zone, Tanzania

Stop TB and HIV/AIDS, The Gambia
Worldview, The Gambia

Global Health International Institute, Togo
JMAH - TOGO (Jeunes Missionnaires d'Aide Humanitaire), Togo
MEN's (association de lutte contre le VIH et les droits humains), Togo

Millennium Sistahs, Trinidad and Tobago
Red Initiatives, Trinidad and Tobago
South AIDS Support, Trinidad and Tobago

Makerere University Shool of Public Health, Uganda
Mpolyabigere RC-RICED Center, Uganda
Uganda Assemblies of God, Uganda
Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development, Uganda
Voice of the disadvantaged people, Uganda

BOND, United Kingdom
Bretton Woods Project, United Kingdom
Jubilee Debt Campaign, United Kingdom
Share The World's Resources, United Kingdom
Tearfund, United Kingdom
War on Want, United Kingdom
World Development Movement, United Kingdom

Instituto del Tercer Mundo (ITeM), Uruguay

Austin/Central Texas AIDS Awareness, USA
Foreign Policy in Focus, USA
GenderAction, USA
Global Exchange, USA
Global Financial Integrity, USA
Global Health Council, USA
Grassroots International, USA
Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project, USA
InterAction, USA
Looking Over Your Shoulder Ministries, Inc., USA
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, USA
New Rules for Global Finance, USA
Orange High School ONE Club, USA
Student Trade Justice Campaign, USA
Test Guided Nutrition, USA

Chingola Community Initiative Support Organization, Zambia
Olive Leaf Foundation Zambia, Zambia

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