Climate Change and Putin Dominate G20 Brisbane News

As host to the G20, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott made news for his threat to “shirt front” Russian leader, Vladimir Putin and had sought to keep climate change from the agenda despite it being raised at several prior meetings including the June Melbourne-based (C20). Putin left the summit in Brisbane early after enduring hours of browbeating by a succession of Western leaders urging him to drop his support for secessionists in eastern Ukraine. 

Climate change took center stage due to an agreement reached earlier in the week between host China’s Xi Jing Ping and United States President, Barack Obama showing welcome leadership in climate change.  The US will contribute $US 3 billion to the Green Climate Fund,  a global initiative to provide money to developing nations to ameliorate the impact of climate change and reduce emissions.

As described in the Integrity Plus New Zealand 2013 National Integrity System Assessment section on environmental foundations and the accompanying additional paper, strong environmental governance is key to supporting strong national integrity systems.  While only a start, this agreement between China and the US is a welcome beginning.

G20 Australia Communique

Meantime, the G20 leaders’ Communique also included an Action Plan for anti-corruption, recognising that anti-corruption and economic growth go hand-in-hand. While the agreement leaves much to be done, the momentum from the ongoing engagement of the Anti-corruption Working Group continues.

The Action Plan for Anti-Corruption 2015-2016

There are 6 focus areas of the new Action Plan:

Anti-Corruption Working Group post Australia

As the co-chairs next year, Turkey and the United States will be in charge of refining dates and timelines for monitoring and reporting.  The United States is said to be interested in beneficial ownership and asset recovery as priorities. The new Action Plan reaffirms commitment to working with the C20 and B20 on progressing anti-corruption measures.  While New Zealand won’t be a guest of the next G20, there are opportunities to progress this agenda through our seat on the UN Security Council.

Transparency International will also be providing the anti-corruption working group with background material about the position of different member countries and about the impact of the various anti-corruption matters.