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Jobs, growth and small states dominate Commonwealth and Francophonie G20 dialogue

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The fourth annual Commonwealth and La Francophonie dialogue with the G20, which took place at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC on 7 April, ended with a call to keep the keep the focus on assisting developing countries. Particular attention was paid to the needs of small states, to create quality jobs, boost growth with resilience and improve their capacity to trade and share tax information.

Participants explored ways through which the G20 Development Working Group (DWG) might best support developing countries in generating resilient growth and employment in the context of sustainable development given the challenges presented by the global economy.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Ms Clare Walsh, the head of the DWG for the Australia G20 Presidency, outlined the country’s priorities for 2014 and welcomed the strong contributions and perspectives from the Commonwealth and La Francophonie countries and international organisations that attended: “We have found this dialogue to be very enriching, and the insights from colleagues have been extremely useful and very informative.

“The issues presented will feed into the subsequent discussions, and we hope to come out with practical steps to improve the quality of life of our people,” Ms Walsh said. She stated that Australia considers the Commonwealth and La Francophonie important outreach partners on the G20 agenda, adding that it values the opportunity to hear the two organisations’ deep insights arising from their vast experience working on development issues within their diverse membership.

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Deodat Maharaj said that advancing the development concerns of its member states and paying particular attention to the needs of small and vulnerable states are an integral part of the the organisation’s agenda: “The Commonwealth is committed to ensuring that working with other partners, like La Francophonie and the Australia G20 Presidency, these concerns continue receiving the attention at the highest possible level of decision and policy making with tangible results. This ongoing dialogue bringing together the 70 developing countries of La Francophonie and the Commonwealth with the G20 is a step in the right direction.”

He added: “I am pleased that our G20 members were able to listen to some of the most important, urgent and high priority issues from the other members of the wider Commonwealth family. We will continue to pursue, in a consensual manner, the objectives of ensuring that the benefits of globalisation and development accrue to all equitably. He also noted the importance of revisiting the current manner in which small and vulnerable developing countries are classified by the international financial system.”

Participants also highlighted issues of inadequate infrastructure, financing for climate adaptation and mitigation and for energy production There was also focus on identifying new and innovative ways of raising financing options for development, including through the promotion of public private partnerships as well as domestic resource mobilisation.

“Going forward, we would like to make sure that our membership collectively works towards creating prosperity for all, combating poverty and creating opportunities for young people to be gainfully employed. We fully support growth with equity,” Mr Maharaj said.

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