Making Connections At G20, T20, C20, U20 and more
GAHP has been busy behind-the-scenes working to bring more global attention to, and influence policy on, pollution. To that end, we have been forging crucial connections with think tanks, cities and other key G20 engagement groups to put the topic of pollution and health on an expanding array of global agendas. While the current COVID-19 crisis has postponed a number of meetings, we are continuing to connect virtually with country and city teams around the world. Rachael Kupka, GAHP’s Acting Executive Director, provides this update.
T20 (Think Tank 20)
T20 is the G20 engagement group that brings together the “policy brains” of the world. GAHP attended the T20 meeting in Saudi Arabia in January, and raised the topic of pollution and health several times during the two-day event, both in plenary and at the Climate Change and Environment Task Force.
As a result, GAHP was invited to submit a policy brief abstract to the Climate Change and Environment task force. The brief, which covers pollution, climate and health, was accepted. GAHP is now drafting the policy brief, and will draw upon its membership to help make it as strong as possible. GAHP is also heavily drawing upon the findings of the Clean Air Fund report on overlaps for solutions to both climate and pollution with health benefits.
C20 (Civil Society 20)
GAHP is participating in two task forces of the C20: the Health task force and the Climate Change and Environment task force.
GAHP’s proposal to conduct a presentation at the C20 meeting was accepted. The one-hour presentation will focus on pollution and health, and how they are integrated across the SDGs. Originally scheduled for March, the meeting has now been postponed, because of the coronavirus crisis, to October. In the meantime, GAHP will continue to participate in virtual meetings of the task force groups, which are currently drafting briefs for the G20 in November.
U20 (Urban 20)
U20 is a new group (just 2 years old), comprised of cities representation. This year, among other topics, they have chosen nature-based solutions as a topic, covering clean air, water and soil for cities.
GAHP was invited to be a Knowledge Partner for the Nature Based Solutions task force, along with major players such as the Inter American Development Bank and Asian Development Bank, among others. We will be participating in virtual meetings, and will join forces with other members of the task force to include solutions to urban pollution problems in the task force’s policy brief.
Direct Engagement with G20 Sherpa Teams
GAHP has also been engaging directly with G20 sherpa teams from Canada, USA and Japan on a variety of pollution and health topics, including the links with climate change, and more recently the links between air pollution and pandemic outcomes.
GAHP board member Hossam Abou Zeid also met with the Saudi G20 Sherpa leader in Riyadh in January. GAHP will embark on significant G20 advocacy efforts following the 2020 release of the UNICEF/Pure Earth report on global lead pollution.
Why All This Is Important:
The G20 engagement groups produce policy recommendations and suggestions for the Ministerial meetings and G20 leaders. Depending on the host government of the G20 (which this year is Saudi Arabia), these recommendations might or might not be taken into account.
While we do not expect the issue of pollution and health to be included into the G20 communique in 2020, we do expect that by starting to engage in these processes, we will achieve the following in 2020:
- Increased awareness about pollution and health in circles outside the normal engagement (i.e. with civil society and think tanks globally, as well as with cities.)
- Increased visibility and credibility of GAHP as a major international player in this space.
- Improved networking. For example, obtaining the invite to T20 and attending the in- person meeting led to invitations to participate in C20 and U20. GAHP was also invited to interact with W20 (Women 20).
- Inclusion of pollution and health in the general discussion, which moves forward each year to the next host government. In other words, by including this topic now, we have a greater likelihood of being heard next year, as the topic is already on the agenda.
- Continued engagement in 2021, 2022 and beyond.
Our ultimate goal by engaging in this process is threefold, to:
a) gain networks and access to G20 leaders,
b) elevate the issue of pollution and health to the political level,
c) to get a commitment in the G20 communique that is phrased the right way. Studies show that there is a 75% chance that G20 countries will meet/deliver upon their commitments if this happens.
By expanding our engagements with G20 engagement group task forces, think tanks, cities and others, we are succeeding in getting the topic of pollution and health recognized and included in more agendas going forward. This is a winning strategy for GAHP members.
We invite you to participate in these efforts. To learn how you can help, contact [email protected]