As part of its role as President of the G20 - the group of the 20 major economies - Russia has this week hosted the G20 Civil Summit. The two-day event featured a bold dialogue among global civil society and decision-makers and culminated in the development of a ‘Civil Communique’––recommendations which will be presented to the G20 to be put onto the agenda of the G20 Leaders' Summit which is being held in St. Petersburg in September 2013.
“This unprecedented Summit was preceded by intensive preparatory work, engaging experts representing NGOs and research institutes from different G20 countries,” said Ksenia Yudaeva, Russian G20 Sherpa, and Chief of Presidential Experts Directorate who officially opened the Summit.
Ksenia Yudaeva also read the address of Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, to participants where he stressed that “civil society organizations' practical experience will help leaders of the "Group of Twenty" to find the most optimal balance in the global development strategy and to take a consolidated decision on the complex challenges faced by the world.”
“This is a historic event in the context of the G20. Never before has civil society been officially invited and empowered to prepare recommendations for the G20,” said UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé at the opening. “You have earned this role and this space. If you protect this space for the future, your role and influence as a full partner in the G20 will continue to have a pivotal positive impact on global governance.”
Highlighting the historical role of civil society in the global HIV response, he stressed that it was the civil movement which broke the conspiracy of silence about AIDS and continue to campaign for issues of human rights, trade and access to health, stigma and discrimination.
The Summit attracted more than 350 representatives of civil society, international organizations, private sector and government to Moscow to engage in discussions on issues they would like to see addressed by the leaders of the G20. Russia is the first country to hold the Civil 20 Summit in this important format.