Presentation of the St.Petersburg Accountability Report on the Implementation of the G20 Development Commitments
On August 28, 2013 the St.Petersburg Accountability Report on the Implementation of the G20 Development Commitments was presented at the RIA Novosti International Multimedia Press Center as part of the preparatory process towards the G20 Summit in St.Petersburg.
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Moderator: Distinguished guests, colleagues, I'm pleased to welcome you to the RIA Novosti International Multimedia Press Center for the presentation of the St.Petersburg Accountability Report on the Implementation of the G20 Development Commitments.
At the 2012 Los Cabos Summit, the G20 Leaders tasked the G20 Development Working Group with launching an assessment and accountability process for the implementation of the G20 development-related commitments, and reporting on the progress achieved at the St.Petersburg Summit to be held on September 5-6. In 2013, Russia launched this process which resulted in the accountability report on the implementation of the G20 development commitments.
The preparation of the document is an important step towards enhancing the transparency of the G20 working process, as well as raising the awareness of international organizations, the business community, experts and the academic community regarding the ongoing work of the G20 in the field of development. In addition, the report contributes to improving the efficiency of the interactions between the G20 members on the issues of development, dissemination of a wide variety of approaches, identifying best practices and tools of cooperation with partner countries, particularly low income countries, and defining the next steps and framing the future G20 development agenda.
Today's report will be presented by our distinguished speakers: Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Storchak; Chief of the Presidential Experts Directorate and the Russian G20 Sherpa Ksenia Yudaeva; Director of the Department of International Financial Relations at the Finance Ministry of the Russian Federation Andrei Bokarev; and Deputy Director of the Department of International Financial Relations at the Finance Ministry of the Russian Federation Anna Valkova.
Ksenia Yudaeva: As was already mentioned, during last year's Los Cabos Summit, the G20 Leaders tasked the G20 Development Working Group with launching an assessment and accountability process for the implementation of G20 development commitments, and reporting on the progress achieved at the St.Petersburg Summit in 2013.
The issue of development showed up for the first time on the G20 agenda in 2010 during the Seoul Summit, where the G20 members adopted a plan covering nine areas of focus. Most of the work under this action plan was scheduled for completion by 2013, in order to really take stock then. This is my first point.
My second point is that this year's G20 Leaders' Summit marks the G20's fifth anniversary. For this event I have been travelling extensively across the world to meet with various outreach groups and representatives of other countries. The question that I was asked all the time was about the practical meaning of our work. There are clearly things lying on the surface, such as the G20 Leaders' meetings, where major decisions are made. However, much less is known about our practical work at the working level, so it was decided that this report should be prepared so that people could see what it looks like.
I would like to mention that civil society representatives Marina Larionova (Director of the Institute of International Organizations and International Cooperation, National Research University -Higher School of Economics) and John Kirton (Head of the G20 Research Group at the University of Toronto), who are also preparing civil society reports about the G20 activities - are here with us today.
The idea for the G20 was to take a detached look at itself, see what has been done, summarize results, analyze successes and drawbacks, and use this knowledge to develop new action plans in the sphere of development.
In a sense, the G20 is looking for a place and a role of its own. While the G8 is a club of donors, the role of the G20 as a donor is not that big. However, the importance of the G20 is in its role in organizing and sharing experiences, because the G20 includes countries with different levels of development. The G20 members have proper expertise and many opportunities to communicate with low income countries that are the recipients of the international development assistance. The work that we have undertaken allows us not only to make a report about it, but also to analyze our achievements and understand what works and what doesn't, plan future actions and improve the effectiveness of the G20 in dealing with the most pressing development issues.
The G20 performed this work within the framework of the Development Working Group and in close cooperation with a large number of international organizations, including the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the International Labour Organization, to name a few. A report was prepared on each issue included in the Seoul Multi-Year Action Plan, namely on infrastructure, human resource development, trade, private investment and job creation, food security, growth with resilience, including social protection and international remittances, financial inclusion, domestic resource mobilization and knowledge sharing and also the issue of green growth which is not initially a part of the Seoul Plan. It was introduced to the agenda during the Mexican presidency, but it is nevertheless important for the development agenda.
We have analyzed all the decisions made by the leaders, along with our practical achievements. We have also decided which items of the plan can be considered fulfilled, which are in progress, and which ones have yet to be implemented.
Here are some statistics. We have assessed 67 commitments in the sphere of development, of which 33 are assessed as complete, 33 are still in progress and only one commitment's implementation was suspended.
Clearly, such reports should be prepared regularly to enhance the effectiveness of the G20. So far, we haven't agreed on how often, every year or every few years, so we will need to discuss it additionally. Anyway, it will be a regular activity designed to increase the transparency of the G20 and improve its internal effectiveness in achieving the greatest possible effect on international development.
That concludes my introductory remarks. Let me pass the floor over to Mr Storchak, who will speak about the report in more details, as well as about the G20 achievements during the reporting period.
Sergei Storchak: Good afternoon. Ms Yudaeva, thank you for your opening remarks. My mission is somewhat more boring, which is to tell you about the structure of the report. I can't say that figuring out what's written in this report was an easy task, even for me. Perhaps, that's because this report is the product of Sherpas more than the Finance track, although the Department of International Financial Relations led by Andrei Bokarev, who is here with us today, had a major role in this work. Nevertheless, I would like to reiterate that promotion of international development is a priority of the Sherpas' track, and the finance ministers act as aids in the process.
The work that we have been carrying out during the year resulted in the first report put together by the G20 about its activities in promoting international development. The subject itself, as you know, is very delicate. The debates about the substantial results of promoting development continue globally, including in Russia. Thus, writing and talking about this is difficult. It's even harder for more than twenty countries to agree on a set of guidelines, criteria and tools that should be used to assess the work performed over the course of three years, since the Seoul Multi-year Action Plan on Development was adopted in 2010.
I believe that the working group was managing this job well, having identified the only viable approach. They didn't offend anyone, didn't focus too much on particular donors to make them look big, versatile and effective and didn't downplay the role and importance of other donors who may still be the recipients of international aid. I won't list the names of the G20 countries that are still recipients, but they are there and this is a fact.
These contradictions had to be reconciled, and this was done effectively. It was decided that the report should focus on the G20 efforts in general - not some individual jurisdiction or economy, but the Group of Twenty in general. The traffic lights method was used to try to find answers to the question of how better evaluate the effectiveness of assistance. In the report, you'll see the multicolored sections used by the group to assess the G20's progress in implementing the plan. Such criteria are used throughout this report.
The report is made up of four chapters. The first chapter focuses on the G20 agenda. It had to be done this way, since the information will be posted in electronic form on websites, and I believe that many readers can find information in the Report rather complicated. It was therefore decided to focus on the history in the first chapter and talk about the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth, how it got its name and what it seeks to achieve. In particular, it lists the description and characteristics of the six principles underlying the G20's participation in promoting development. These principles define methods and forms of cooperation between completely different economies.
I'll define these principles to make it easier for you to navigate the document. In fact, the emphasis is placed on economic growth, since aid comes in different shapes and for varying purposes. There's purely humanitarian aid and then there's also disaster relief. The G20 is engaged in promoting economic growth in its various forms.
The second principle is global partnership, meaning that the G20 activities are not limited just to the G20 members and within the developed formats.
The third principle concerns a focus on global and, to a lesser extent, regional issues, including systemic ones. Food security is the most obvious and easily comprehensive issue.
The fourth principle focuses on the desirability or the necessity of involving the private sector in the sphere of development.
Fifth is the principle of complementarity and coordination of efforts. It's fairly simple. Clearly, certain countries are better positioned historically. Some countries have better relations with some certain regions - recipient countries - or partners, as they are often referred to. It is considered reasonable to gather around a donor with greater potential to provide effective assistance by concentrating the efforts of all other donors.
The sixth and final principle is being outcome oriented.
The second chapter is the largest in terms of volume, and focuses on what the G20 is doing in the sphere of development in the areas that were identified in Seoul as priorities for promoting the development, which Ms. Yudaeva has just mentioned. For ease of reading, the material is presented in various forms, including concise material for those who are too lazy to go over lots of information, and tabular material that provides much more extensive information about the results.
To show you what it looks like, out of 18 infrastructure development commitments, 11 have been fulfilled. Thanks to the efforts of the G20 and the working group, we have managed to develop an action plan for multilateral development banks. This plan is crucial for identifying infrastructural bottlenecks in economies, impeding economic growth. To varying degrees, we are trying to use the expertise gained in this sphere in our country. The Ministry of Economic Development often refers to this, quoting bottlenecks and growth impediments in the sphere of infrastructure. I hope that you will take a look at the examples, and we'll tell you more about what's going on over the course of our discussion.
The third chapter describes the G20 outreach activities, i.e. how the G20 interacts with other participants in the process of international development assistance. The process ceased to exist as a donor-recipient arrangement a long time ago. This is a donor developed economy, a partner economy or a recipient economy from among emerging market economies. This process includes the private sector, major international organizations, and regional non-governmental organizations. Donors differ greatly. Corporations create their own foundations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the most famous of them.
The working group tried to develop specific recommendations on how individual countries can improve their relations with non-sovereign donors. These recommendations can be found in the report. An obvious recommendation is to develop public-private partnerships. The recommendations seek to bring greater attention to the quality of new jobs and the quality of graduates of higher education and vocational institutions.
Finally, the fourth chapter summarizes the working group's activities. It's an important component, albeit a technical one, because the next comprehensive report should be put together three years from now under a different presidency.
It's hard to distinguish between major and minor recommendations that the working group included in the paper. Nevertheless, the working group found it necessary to highlight cooperation with countries that are non-G20 members. At the same time, it focuses on donors and potential partners and enhanced interaction with civil society and the private sector. Special attention was paid to the coordination of the policies pursued by the G20 countries and mandatory strengthening of the relations between the G20 and its individual members with international organizations and their participation in promoting international development.
That is where I would like to conclude. My task was very specific - to introduce this document to you. Thank you.
Moderator: Thank you, Ms. Yudayeva and Mr. Storchak. Colleagues, I suggest that we now ask questions. Go ahead, please.
Question: My question is on the commitments. It would be interesting to know which exact commitment has been suspended. And another question. Do the G20 countries have any current financial commitments with regard to promoting international development? Does Russia have such commitments? If yes, then perhaps you could cite some figures?
Anna Valkova: Thank you very much for this question. Actually, we were expecting. The only commitment that has not been fulfilled is one of the items in the infrastructure development section. This was the first G20 experience in drafting such a comprehensive and complicated action plan on development. Therefore it encompasses a large number of issues, including a wide variety of infrastructure-related commitments, most of which have been successfully fulfilled.
Unfortunately, the group simply did not have enough time to fulfill the commitment in the area of energy and transport infrastructure. We hope that cooperation with the Study group for long-term investment will make it possible to chart some measures in this section, which has not been fulfilled so far under the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth.
As regards financial commitments, the G20 does not directly list or stipulate specific financial obligations. This is only done in exceptional cases, in general the commitments implementation is financed on a voluntary basis. But it should be noted that the implementation of pilot projects in the developing countries has become one of the instruments for implementing various measures stipulated in the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth. Naturally, their implementation requires certain financial investment and expenditure on the part of multilateral development banks, and the G20 members also made their voluntary contributions. Russia did not shy away from these financial commitments, and we took part in financing a human resources development project together with the International Labour Organization. This project was launched in 2013. We plan to join in financing the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) program together with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in order to address the issues of food.
Question: I have a question about the system of voluntary co-financing. Could you please share any statistics on how much federal funding has been spent by the Russian Federation to fulfill the commitments under this program? How would you assess the efficiency of this spending?
Sergei Storchak: The G20 tries to avoid initiatives such as the Deauville Partnership of the G8 because its line-up is too diverse. As I have already mentioned, some of our members are still major recipients of aid. Moreover, they strive to maintain this status because they need it to ensure the inflow of cheap long-term resources from multilateral development banks.
Russia does not hang back from cooperation with the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and a number of regional banks because it is useful and convenient. Therefore, in order to answer your question, I would like to remind you that Andrey Bokarev and I have recently presented a G8 report on national systems for fostering international development. This report compared annual budget expenditures - there was a table with all the statistics.
Over the past three years, Russia has been spending an estimated $500 million on promoting international development. In 2006, we drafted a concept for Russia's involvement in fostering international development, which was approved by the President in 2007. The target it stipulated was around $500 million a year, and we have maintained this level. We do not try to expand our spending, and we try to prevent any sharp fluctuations because the so-called "predictable aid" factor ranks among the most important criteria of a donor country's correct and civilized involvement in fostering international development. A donor is good only when partner countries can be certain that they can expect a specified amount of assistance.
Let's look at a specific case of our financial involvement, although it relates only indirectly to the G20 because the issues here are beyond its scope. We have an interesting project: a program for strengthening primary and secondary vocational education and promoting the development of the labour market in the CIS, Asia and the Middle East. This is a topical issue. The program has a long heading but our partners, namely, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam and Jordan, are happy to take part in it. In all, the federal budget allocates $8 million for this program, which is to be fulfilled in 2013-2015. What makes this case special is that we act as a donor who gives its partner-country a fishing rod, rather than the fish itself, as well as knowledge on how to use this fishing rod. This fishing rod needs to be modernized and upgraded all the time, so that this instrument used to address the issues of social and economic development could become even more effective.
And here is another example. The Russian Government has recently made the decision to allocate a small sum, $1.5 million, for the Russian Federation's contribution to the World Bank's Transparency and Competitiveness Trust Fund. Historically, all developed countries attained their current status through trade. The development of domestic trade was followed by international trade, which eventually led to the existing international division of labour. This, in turn, led to more cost-effective labour and an increase in labour productivity. After that, these countries became wealthy and successful. To be wealthy and successful in the modern world, one must have authentic information about trade partners, trade flows, supply and demand, etc. The Transparency and Competitiveness program has been launched to provide the countries that are only now becoming major exporters with the required instruments and to allow them to see the scope of global trade in its entire diversity. They should also be able to identify whether there are any specific niches for their national products.
Question: I have two questions. We know that there are two Middle Eastern countries in the G20: Saudi Arabia and Turkey. How have these countries contributed to the activities of the Working Group this year? What are the results? And what is your opinion on this? And my second question. Your main goal, as we understand it, is tackling the problem of unemployment in different countries. Experts say that unemployment is one of the causes of the Arab Spring. How is this problem being dealt with in the Arab world? Thank you.
Ksenia Yudaeva: We were discussing the concept of this report at the end of the Mexican Presidency during their concluding Sherpas' Meeting in October. We paid much attention to the fact that this report should cover the activities of the G20 as a single whole, and should not be the tool to assess certain countries or point fingers at those who has done something or who has not. In my opinion this goal has been achieved in this report. It shows the results of coordinated action. So here is my answer to the first question: the Arab countries are equal participants in this process.
Andrey Bokarev: Let me add a few words to what Ms. Yudaeva has just said. It is true that when preparing the report we did not have a goal to assess the contribution of a particular country to the Group's activity. As Chair of the Development Working Group, which has prepared the report, I can confirm that Turkey and Saudi Arabia were actively involved in the Group's activity and contributed to this process.
However, we should understand that the Working Group had 10 priority areas of work; we have already discussed them today, and it is clear that each country cannot be equally involved and play a leading or coordinating role in all ten spheres. That is why some countries are more actively involved in the discussion of food security issues, while others are more interested in the issues related to infrastructure, still others in financial inclusion and so on. Nevertheless, these are all parts of the same common activity. This report is not a result of work of the International Department of the Russian Finance Ministry, it is the result of efforts of the whole Development Working Group, our partners and international organizations.
Sergei Storchak: Still, I would like to say a few words about Turkey. Turkey is the Co-Chair of the International Financial Architecture Working Group and plays an important role there. I want to remind you that in the course of the reforms of the international financial architecture, the most important issues is the IMF reform and implementation of the Seoul agreements on quota. Both are the issues related to developing new approaches to sovereign debt management, responsible lending by countries that have just completed their HIPC missions (i.e. wiping off the debts of low-income countries) and cooperation between the IMF and regional financial mechanisms to prevent and settle local financial crises. And the Working Group co-chaired by our Turkish colleagues is dealing with all these issues.
Question: As you know, during the July Joint G20 Finance and Labour Ministers Meeting in Moscow, the business community and trade unions raised the thorny issue of youth unemployment and professional training, since for all countries these are the most challenging problems. Mr. Storchak has briefly mentioned this issue. Does this report feature migration-related issues, including labour migration? Thank you.
Andrey Bokarev: As has been said, job creation and development of human resources are among the priorities for the G20 Development Working Group. Consequently, these issues have been taken into account. We have already mentioned the initiative implemented by Russia together with the International Labour Organization and a number of other countries to assist the developing countries in creating efficient jobs and helping align professional training, the needs of specific industries and existing economic development priorities and prospects. We can say that this approach has been taken into account as we sought to outline the possibilities.
With regard to migration and migration processes, this issue has not been addressed from that angle, although one of the topical issues that was discussed and mentioned in reports is migrants making money transfers which serve as one of a major source of budget revenue and ensure the well-being of people in a number of countries. Clearly there is much to be done to improve the situation in this area, and it is common knowledge that the average price of such transfers around the world and in the G20 counties is quite high. In the follow-up to similar G8 commitments in 2009, the G20 is seeking to reduce the cost of money transfers down to an average of 5%. Accordingly, we are actively involved in this process, although it is too early to claim any breakthroughs or tangible results. The situation in Russia in this respect is somewhat better that in other G20 counties with the average money transfer fee below 5%.
Question: This question is for Ksenia Yudaeva. Is there any concern that the core subjects of the G20 agenda for the Leaders' discussion in St.Petersburg could be dwarfed by the current situation in Syria and other urgent matters?
Ksenia Yudaeva: The subject you mentioned will probably be discussed on the sidelines of the Summit and during bilateral meetings. On the other hand, there are so far no signals that this subject will be included in the official agenda of the Summit sessions, since our Leaders are usually disciplined about sticking up to the agenda.
Furthermore, I do understand that Syria is an issue of great importance, that this issue is up in the air and being actively discussed. But in looking through today's newspapers I saw that there were many other issues that we plan to discuss that are equally important. The consequences of changes in the US Federal Reserve's policies could make its way into the discussion. Economic growth is a top priority for us and is high on the agenda of all countries: the question is what can nations do together and what should they do separately. The issue that has been already mentioned twice here is unemployment and youth unemployment, while for some countries formal vs. informal employment and job creation are the key issues. What I mean is that all these issues are high on the agenda and taking into account that the G20 is an economic forum, they will be discussed during the Summit.
Question: A question to Mr. Storchak. Fulfilling 67 commitments was an ambitious plan and a complicated task. It is clear that such commitments cannot be fulfilled in a day or even in several years. Do you think that the 33 commitments fulfilled by now can be seen as a success? What would you say was the greatest breakthrough, the major success of the undertaken work?
Sergei Storchak: The first thing that we have to take into account is that development assistance is a matter of national policies.
Second, by setting the goal to enhance development assistance, the donor countries have acknowledged the need for greater cooperation and better coordination of their separate actions. Let me remind you that the Paris Declaration was adopted only in 2005. Until that time, national development assistance policies had been moving along separate avenues for 20-30 years. The donors had never coordinated anything in fact. There have been cases where two or three dozen donors came to one country, started jostling at the door, so to say, and the efficiency of such aid was low despite considerable resources invested. Leaving aside the peaks when international aid flows reached their maximum, or when they fell to their lowest level, the developed countries provide about $100 billion per year in international development aid. Annually! It's a great resource.
Therefore, the G20 followed the G8 and proposed establishing another mechanism for coordinating international donor efforts. And another mechanism emerged a little earlier. Countries formed so-called clubs of three or four or 10 donors, pooling their efforts into a single country requiring assistance.
As a global club, the G20 is trying to combine donor efforts on a global scale to address large problems such as food security, as I said earlier. Thus, if we use all these criteria to assess the effect, the achievement figures that you mentioned - considering that they were achieved in the first three years of our work - I would say that the results are encouraging. We have achieved sound results and I would say that all informal clubs and organizations that set themselves such targets should be pleased to see 50% progress in such a short period. Let me repeat, the results are good.
Question: A question to Mr. Bokarev. Looking at the emerging countries and regions - Asia, Africa, and Latin America... Could you say where Russia's preferences lie in terms of providing assistance?
Andrey Bokarev: It is widely known that Russia's regional priorities in terms of assistance programs are documented in the concept of Russia's participation in the programs of international development assistance. It is also known that Eastern Europe and Central Asia are listed there as priority region. All the rest are listed in a descending order, but this should not be read as their importance being listed from highest to lowest. They include Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Middle East and others.
What is meant is that we can see a trend that has emerged in recent years among the largest traditional Western donor countries to optimize assistance; that is, to reduce the number of potential aid recipients. This does not mean that one or another donor is withdrawing from this or that region. Yet, it often becomes rather obvious that countries having 40 or 50 years of donorship experience have realized that it is impossible to ensure the appropriate presence and effectiveness in all regions and in many countries.
The current trend is clear - donors are reducing the number of countries that they are mostly working with. It is my opinion that Russia needs to use the same approach. We will not be able to demonstrate a solid presence in a recipient country or to achieve any tangible results there by providing limited aid resources to dozens of recipients. This contribution will be negligible and unlikely to make a difference and really improve the social and economic situation in a country.
Therefore, it would only be reasonable to focus our efforts on a specific group of countries, to develop a set of measures for them that would complement each other and not interfere with each other, to implement these measures in various economic sectors, and to achieve the best results possible.
As for the specific ratio, I have just said that East European and Central Asian countries have been the focus of Russia's assistance efforts in the past few years. This trend is clearly viewed. I also think that this situation is natural and quite understandable.
Question: A question to Ms. Yudaeva. What specific results can we expect from the St.Petersburg Summit given that the G20's decisions are recommendations rather than binding legal instruments?
Ksenia Yudaeva: I think that the results should be viewed from two perspectives. First, we should certainly expect a set of documents to be adopted. It will include a declaration along with action plans for all of the areas of the G20's work. They will include an action plan for the Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth, action plans for jobs and taxes, on base erosion and profit shifting, and automatic exchange of information and so on. There will also be similar documents on energy and trade.
On the other hand, there will also be concrete results in terms of content - what the Leaders will discuss and what exactly the documents will say. Here, I would mention a few points that we have discussed. First, we have the work that has been undertaken within the Finance Ministers process on fiscal strategies, and I think that they have found a good balance between economic growth targets and fiscal stabilization in the medium term.
Second, there are certain specific commitments on structural reforms in the investment sphere; some countries will probably undertake specific commitments. In addition, a research program has been drafted that will be continued during the Australian Presidency.
A general policy package has been developed for employment. These can be seen as best-practice recommendations and each nation can choose the most relevant and appropriate for their domestic circumstances policy items. This is a good example of an area where a common policy cannot be applied.
On the energy-related issues, further steps will be discussed and adopted to develop the JODI Oil and JODI Gas initiatives that facilitate the exchange of oil and gas data and information among the producing and the consuming countries. We expect that the Leaders will support the work that countries have done to improve energy regulation and interaction between regulators, and endorse further work on this issue in some format.
As regards international trade, we expect the G20 Leaders' support for the Bali Ministerial Conference planned later this year, the standstill extension (a commitment to refrain from new trade and investment restrictions), and a decision on which action plans can be drafted as a result of the WTO-OECD joint initiative to analyze global value chains. I think that there will also be a decision to extend the WTO monitoring of protectionist policies.
Extensive work has been done to prepare the report on development. Work is already underway now to identify the development issues that the G20 will address next year. The St.Petersburg Development Outlook has been drafted to serve as an underlying foundation for a detailed plan that will similarly be discussed with the Leaders.
On the whole, the Leaders will discuss a wide range of policies that will be adopted at the Summit. The G20 agenda is broad. We have split into eight separate parts, then compressed them, and even incorporated several issues in a single item. Russia has decided not to expand this agenda and to work in the existing boundaries.
Question: We are witnessing the outflow of capital from the BRICS countries to the developed countries. Will this somehow be discussed during the Summit, and how can this influence the fulfillment of current obligations?
Ksenia Yudaeva: It appears that this issue will also be examined at the Summit. However, I believe that the issue of the so-called spillover effects from the withdrawal of the United States and other developed countries from non-conventional monetary policy will be discussed during the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting in October, as well as the issues of sufficiency of insurance instruments and essential joint actions.
The conference in Jackson Hole was held two days ago. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde spoke much of this issue and I believe that she will continue to monitor the situation and she will provide her perception of essential actions in the G20 countries, partially during the Summit and partially during the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors' Meeting. So far, as this is the issue of monetary policy, it should be discussed by the Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors.
Question: You have stated that the St.Petersburg Development Outlook will be submitted. Please tell us whether it will reflect the issues of inequality. What can you say about the future of the St.Petersburg Initiative on Sustainable, Balanced and Inclusive Growth suggested in the Civil 20's recommendations? Will it be reflected in the final documents and proposals?
Anna Valkova: The Development Working Group has decided that most tasks set by the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth must be accomplished; hence it is necessary to move on and set new tasks. We have assessed the issue and specific achievements and results, as well as the role of the G20 in the international development assistance. The Outlook has been drafted that will allow the Group to define more clearly its tasks in the future.
After assessing previous activities, the Group has nevertheless decided that it is necessary to focus on a smaller range of issues. Thus, some issues have been removed from the remit of the Development Working Group.
For instance, it was initially decided that trade issues would subsequently be discussed by Sherpas. Specific topics dealing with various issues were revised and regrouped. Notably, we will examine the issues of immigrant workers' transferring funds in the context of expanded access to financial services. This approach was deemed to be the most efficient and result-oriented.
Therefore, this new document will consist of two sections. The first section will be dedicated to general issues, and it will determine the Group's longer-term political and strategic activity. Its supplement will include several aspects that are due to be overseen by the Group; namely, human resources and infrastructure, food security development, and some other issues.
However, I do not want to look that far ahead because the document will probably be edited and because this is not yet the final version. Naturally, the final version will be published after the Summit. Nevertheless, the supplements set forth new tasks in these spheres, and the Group will focus precisely on them next year.
We expect that the participants of the Group's final meeting, which is scheduled for October, will also define various steps and endorse an action plan to accomplish these new tasks, but already during the Australian Presidency.
Ksenia Yudaeva: I will try to briefly comment on the question about inclusive growth. We have been actively discussing the Civil 20 work at official tracks. The G20 Sherpas and Working Groups have made presentations in various areas.
As for inclusive growth, it was suggested that the Framework Agreement should be renamed into the Agreement on Sustainable, Balanced and Inclusive Growth. Nevertheless, after negotiations with various partners, it was decided not to do this.
You see, the Framework Agreement was initially intended to coordinate macroeconomic policy and to combat global imbalances - the issue remaining high on the agenda. Everything related to inequality is by far not the chief subject regarding this issue. Numerous partners have voiced apprehensions that the Group's mandate would change seriously if we raise the subject of inequality.
On the other hand, Russia, which is presiding over the G20, has considerably raised the status of the discussions in the sphere of employment and improvements in the quality of human capital. Much has been accomplished in this area by the employment track and by the Development Working Group. Joint G20 Finance and Labour Ministers Meeting was a major success of this year. The issue of employment has been elevated from a purely social issue to a social and macroeconomic policy issue. In this regard, I believe that - already during Russia's Presidency - we have rather seriously discussed practical issues concerning the involvement of broader social groups that have been left outside the development of the labour market and economic growth; this will become the Russian Presidency's legacy. I believe that this issue will be discussed actively in the years to come. Therefore, the issue of inclusion has become part of the G20 agenda.
Question: Can you elaborate on the main energy-related issues that will be discussed? I'm particularly interested in shale gas and shale oil.
Ksenia Yudaeva: The Energy Sustainability Working Group doesn't discuss in detail the issues of shale gas and shale oil. After all, the ESWG is a global international initiative that primarily focuses on transparency and databases on output. This year we have been discussing more actively the issues of effective regulation, green growth and elimination of inefficient energy subsidies - a list of traditional issues for the G20. Price volatility has always been actively discussed but now we are talking more about effective regulation that will make it possible to reduce it.
Question: Could you cite any examples of successful implementation of commitments fulfilled within the development programs?
You were talking about the cooperation between different G20 working strands, between its various groups that are dealing with various issues. What issues would you consider most urgent?
Ksenia Yudaeva: In this book you'll find a host of completed initiatives.
I'd like to emphasize substantial progress gained on various initiatives on financial literacy and accessibility of financial instruments. We are very pleased that this issue, which Russia first raised in the G8, has taken on a life of its own. The G20 has achieved very interesting results in this field this year.
The issue of food security was very urgent last year, and the G20 turned to it on many occasions. It arranged meetings of agricultural scientists last year and this year. Then it launched the initiative entitled AgResults, the projects of which were being carried out in several countries. One of them is the Tropical Agricultural Platform, in which many private donors are actively involved. If I remember correctly, Bill Gates has provided technology for it.
The G20 has achieved impressive results in developing the human capital and has started preparing a database on professional skills and drafting pilot projects in four countries. I don't want to name all the initiatives and would advise you to read the booklet, which has very detailed information on specific initiatives.
Sergei Storchak: I'd like to emphasize the cooperation between different G20 lines of activity. It would be interesting to see what will be produced by the finance track on the issue of sources of funding long-term investment raised by Russia, and the Development Working Group, which paid much attention to promoting the development of small and medium-sized companies. Now it can exchange experience with the research group on long-term investment funding.
In view of the current discussion of measures to motivate small and medium-sized companies that we have in Russia I've asked Mr. Bokarev to collect all materials that have been written on this subject at the global level.
During our G20 Presidency we have received numerous extensive documents that we still have to process. They contain many proposals. Some of them suggest a principle of project selection. Before deciding on a source of funding for new projects, a sovereign country should decide what they should be oriented at. The world does have such experience. We have been instructed in this regard, and now we are discussing with the Ministry of Economic Development how to choose projects that will pay for themselves and could be financed from the National Wealth Fund. We want these resources to produce a profit so that our pensioners do not risk their money in 30 years. Thank you.