Oxfam Canada on the G20: gender equality, climate change, global tax reform, refugees and migrants critical issues to discuss in Turkey

G20 leaders are holding their annual meeting in Antalya, Turkey, on November 15 - 16, where gender equality, climate change, global tax reform, and the refugee and migrant crisis will be on the agenda.

Julie Delahanty, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada said: “This is the first international meeting for Prime Minister Trudeau, and a chance for Canada to play a leadership role in building a more equitable and just world.”

Gender Equality - G20 must put women's rights at the centre

"Across G20 countries and beyond, women are paid less than men, do the majority of the unpaid care work, are over-represented in part-time and precarious work and are discriminated against in the household, in markets and in institutions," said Delahanty.

"Prime Minister Trudeau has made visible his interest in women's equality through the formation of a cabinet where women have equal representation, and we are looking to Canada to lead the G20 in addressing the shortcomings of an economic system that continues to keep many women in poverty."

She added that: "The G20's growth and development agenda can only be considered inclusive – and can only make a positive difference to real people – when women and men have equal opportunities to benefit, human rights are fulfilled, and sustainable development is pursued. Oxfam urges the Government of Canada and the G20 to treat gender inequality as a systemic issue that determines the well being of the whole planet."

Climate change – G20 must stop subsidizing polluters and instead ensure that poor communities receive the money they need to adapt to climate change

G20 countries spend far more subsidizing the coal and oil industry then developed countries provide in adaptation finance to poor and vulnerable countries.

G20 countries spent $US 77 billion a year on fossil fuel subsidies during 2013/14. Leaders of the developed world, many of whom will be attending the summit in Turkey, spent just US$4 - 5 billion a year on adaptation finance in 2014.  Overall G20 support, including state investment and cheap loans, benefits the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $450 billion. It is estimated that developing countries will need to spend $150 billion a year adapting to climate change by 2030 – climate change that is exacerbated by fossil fuels.

Speaking to the Canadian context, Delahanty said: "Oxfam welcomes the new government’s commitment to tackling climate change and hopes to see Canada put the needs of rural women living in poverty at the heart of discussions at COP21. Announcements on new climate financing for adaptation would be particularly welcomed."

Inequality - tax dodgers cheating rich and poor countries out of billions

The G20 has made achieving inclusive growth a key theme of this year’s summit. Leaders are also expected to adopt a package of OECD reforms aimed at tackling corporate tax avoidance. These reforms are a step forward but will not stop corporate tax dodgers cheating rich and poor countries out of billions in tax revenues every year.

"While Canada is losing massive amounts of revenue, it is poor countries that continue to be hardest hit and that have the least say in how tax rules are determined.

"People who rely on public services are most affected by budget cuts and increasing inequality. And women are the hardest hit when these services, like health and education are underfunded. Reforming the global tax system could generate much needed income to invest in services, which are of particular support to those living in poverty.

"We hope Canada will play a leadership role in Turkey to reform international tax rules and champion the equal participation of poor countries in these processes."

Refugees and migrants – biggest displacement since the end of the Second World War

Today, more people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time since the end of the Second World War – the G20 is expected to discuss measures to address this massive movement of people. Turkey is currently home to over 2 million Syrian refugees and 230,000 people from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Somalia. It is also a key staging post for hundreds of thousands of desperate people on the dangerous journey to Europe.

Delahanty said: "For over four years now, refugees have lived without knowing where the next meal comes from. Women and men, including former teachers, healthcare workers and tradespeople are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and buy food and clothing for their families. As the situation deteriorates, people will continue to make the desperate and perilous journey to Europe, putting themselves at grave risk of human rights violations including the sexual abuse of women and children.

"Syria’s neighbours need more support and investment in order to cope with the refugee crisis within their borders. Canada has so far been generous, but compared to countries like Lebanon – where a quarter of the population are refugees – we could do more. The new Government’s plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees is a good place to start."


Notes to editors

Oxfam spokespeople from a number of G20 countries are available to give expert analysis and comment on a range of issues including: inclusive growth (inequality), international taxation, climate change, the migration crisis and gender equality.

The C20 media brief, which gives an overview of some of the critical issues being discussed in Turkey, including inclusive growth, gender equality, international taxation, corruption, climate change and the migration crisis, is available from the press team.

A full list of recommendations on the G20 and gender equality can be found in Oxfam’s report, available here: //www.oxfam.ca/our-work/publications/g20-and-gender-equality

All figures for fossil fuel subsidies are an average for 2013/14 and are from Oil Change International’s report, Empty Promises: www.odi.org/empty-promises

Oxfam estimates that developed countries have provided between US$4.1 to $5.5 billion a year in net public support for adaptation in 2014.  This figure includes grants that are targeted at adaptation, as well as a component of grants that have adaptation co-benefits. It also includes the concessional part of loans. Source is OECD report ‘Climate finance for 2013/14 and the USD 100 billion goal’ - https://www.oecd.org/environment/cc/OECD-CPI-Climate-Finance-Report.pdf, as well as the OECD’s climate finance database https://www.oecd.org/dac/stats/climate-change.htm.

Oxfam urges the Government of Canada to act swiftly on climate change and prioritize the following at COP:

  • Immediate scale up of support to women farmers – those hit hardest and most often by the impact of the changing climate.
  • A commitment from Canada to fulfil our fair share of the promised $100bn a year in international climate finance; to increase policy dialogue with women on the use of climate financing; and to scale up gender responsive climate finance projects.
  • A deal that has a collective goal to fairly phase-out all fossil fuel emissions and phase-in 100% renewable energy by mid-century, including Canada’s agreement to phase out coal production by 2030.

Figures on refugee numbers in Turkey from UNHCR https://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e48e0fa7f.html

Oxfam and six other humanitarian organisations this week released the report Right to a future which calls for a “bold new deal” from the international community for refugees from Syria

Oxfam is an active member of the C20 (Civil 20), the officially-recognized engagement group tasked with representing the views of national and international civil society: www.c20turkey.org.


Media Contact:

Melanie Gallant, Media Relations

Share this page: