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  • Roundtable discussion "The Outcomes of the Outreach Groups' Activity within the Russian G20 Presidency"

Outcomes of the outreach dialogue within Russia’s G20 Presidency

On November 28, RIA Novosti's International Multimedia Press Center hosted a roundtable discussion "The Outcomes of the Outreach Groups' Activities within Russia's G20 Presidency". The event was attended by Russia's G20 Sherpa Svetlana Lukash, Australia's Ambassador to the Russian Federation Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Paul Myler, and the representatives of civil society, business community, trade unions, expert community and youth.

Opening the meeting, Deputy Chief of the Presidential Experts' Directorate, the Russian G20 Sherpa Svetlana Lukash emphasized that Russia from the very beginning of its Presidency was striving to ensure maximum transparency for all G20 activities and decisions in 2013. "To achieve this we needed to provide the broadest possible dialogue with all the parties concerned," Svetlana Lukash said. "We established connections with non-G20 countries, international organizations and regional associations. However, special focus was made on interaction with the outreach partners. They represent the main concerned parties that are influenced by the G20 decisions, namely business, trade unions which represent interests of employees, civil society, academic and expert communities, and youth". After considering the outreach groups' recommendations, many of them were reflected in the final documents of the G20 Summit, especially those referring to the employment agenda. New approach was suggested for organization of the process - the main outreach groups' Summits were held two months before the St.Petersburg G20 Summit. Another point emphasized by Svetlana Lukash was that the task was not only to manage the G20 dialogue with the outreach partners, but also connect them with each other and promote cross-fora synergy. "It had really become a breakthrough that allowed achieving serious results," the Russian Sherpa concluded.

Head of the G20 Expert Council Sergey Drobyshevsky noted that the Think 20 format was quite young: the first meeting of global think tanks was held in 2012 under the Mexican Presidency, succeeded by two meetings within the year of the Russian Presidency - in December 2012 in Moscow and in May 2013 in Sydney (Australia). "Experts are more free and independent from domestic, political and other influences," Sergey Drobyshevsky said. "The Think 20 format is developing. Australia is planning, additionally to the meeting in December, to conduct at least one or maybe two more meetings within its Presidency. Therefore, the T20 format is to become more "alive" and closer to the practices existing in the other, better established outreach groups. This will allow to get the Think 20 message across to the G20 officials and Leaders more regularly, and make deeper impact on the decision making process."

Oleg Preksin, the Russian Business 20 Sherpa, Executive Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) noted that the Russian leadership in the Business 20 tried to lay the organizational foundation for the future B20 activities through coordination with Australia and Turkey colleagues, the forthcoming G20 Presidencies. Likewise, 2013 was the first year when recommendations were presented gradually, at different stages. In May 2013 the "Green Book" (draft recommendations) was issued and then further discussed in June at the Business 20 Summit, attended by 60 delegates. "Taking their recommendations into account we had prepared the final version of our recommendations - the "White Book" that was presented at the meeting with the G20 Leaders in St.Petersburg in September," Oleg Preksin said. He also emphasized the efficiency of the B20 work during the Russian Presidency year: "We had prepared the biggest amount of recommendations in the Business 20 history, and 75 out of them were one way or another reflected in the G20 decisions."

Labour 20 Chair in 2013, Chair of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) Mikhail Shmakov stressed that the dialogue between the G20 and the social partners took a significant part of the G20 agenda. As also stressed by Mr. Shmakov, an innovation of the Russian Presidency - joint meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Labour Ministers - was a success. Mikhail Shmakov gave high evaluation of the intention to ensure succession and continuity of the G20 process. "Labour 20 could see better prospects for job creation as a result of the Joint G20 Finance and Labour Ministers Meeting. A number of conclusions made at the joint meeting, namely, the importance of quality jobs creation, collective bargaining and guaranteed labour related rights were reflected in the St.Petersburg Leaders' Declaration," he added.

Likewise, Mikhail Shmakov noted important steps taken by the G20 in the sphere of fighting tax evasion, and appreciated the extension of the G20 Task Force on Employment mandate, which is crucial for implementing the employment related commitments reflected in the Leaders' Declaration and the St.Petersburg Development Outlook.

The contribution of civil society to the G20 process within the Russian Presidency year was presented by Elena Peryshkina, Head of the Civil 20 Secretariat in 2013. She reminded that the Civil 20 framework has already been in existence for five years. In 2013 Civil 20 managed to institutionalize the process, make it sustainable and provide the framework for future Civil 20 activities. Among the main themes considered by the Civil 20 in 2013, there were social inclusiveness and investment in human capital development (including access to the benefits of growth for the vulnerable groups, the issues of employment, modernizing the taxation regime and fighting corruption); increasing financial inclusion (first of all, financial literacy among senior and undereducated people that frequently become victims of financial fraud and underestimate their financial risks), as well as fostering international development (including elaborations on post-2015 Millennium Development Goals)

"The Civil 20 framework gives an opportunity to understand in general, how and for what purposes should civil society participate in the global processes, and what could be the positive result," Elena Peryshkina commented.

Ms.Peryshkina highlighted a unique feature of the Russian Chairmanship in the Civil 20 process, which was managing the discussion through a crowdsourcing internet-platform, which allowed to provide better engagement and to take into account the recommendations of all the parties concerned.

Head of the Youth 20 Russia 2013 Secretariat Roman Chukov reported that the youth stream of the Russian outreach strategy was quite proactive during the whole year. The key principles of the Y20 were transparency, openness and trust. The Y20 Summit Russia 2013 was held within the framework of the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum, where the Y20 held several cross-sessions, including one with the Business 20. The outcomes of the Youth 20 work were presented to the Russian G20 Sherpa. Likewise, the Y20 delegates had a meeting with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. "Quite a lot of our proposals, in one form or another, were put in the final Declaration, particularly in the sphere of social policy optimization including the issues of financial literacy and employment," Roman Chukov summarized.

According to the Ambassador of Australia to the Russian Federation Paul Myler, the outreach activity was one of the high points of the Russian Presidency. Australia within the period of its Presidency finds it important to continue the work on the priorities identified by Russia - economic growth and jobs creation. In addition, the Ambassador acknowledged high significance of interaction with the outreach partners and reported that Australia will continue this dialogue. He emphasized that in 2013 the outreach groups for the first time completed their work several months before the G20 Summit, and that gave an opportunity to the official G20 track to discuss their recommendations seriously and reflect them in the final documents. "The framework that Russia set for the outreach groups this year was the right one, and we will continue the work in this framework next year," Paul Myler concluded.

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Moderator: Good afternoon, colleagues. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to welcome all the participants here at the RIA Novosti International Multimedia Press Center. We are starting the roundtable discussion on the outcomes of the outreach dialogue within Russia's G20 Presidency.

During its G20 presidency, Russia was focusing on a far-reaching dialogue with civil society, young people, business community, trade unions and expert community.

Today, our guests, the heads of the G20 outreach streams, will present the results achieved during the Russian Presidency, and they will also discuss their joint contribution to the work of the Group of Twenty. But, firstly, I would like to introduce our guests: Russia's G20 Sherpa Svetlana Lukash; Head of the G20 Expert Council Sergei Drobyshevsky; Australia's Ambassador to the Russian Federation Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Paul Myler; Head of the Civil G20 Secretariat Elena Peryshkina; Russia's Business 20 Sherpa and Executive Vice President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Oleg Preksin; Head of Labour 20 during Russia's Presidency and Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia Mikhail Shmakov; and Head of the Y20 Russia 2013 Secretariat Roman Chukov.

So, let's not waste time. Over to you, Ms. Lukash. Please go ahead.

Svetlana Lukash: I would like to say that I'm very happy to sum up the results of what I believe to be one the most prominent accomplishments of Russia's G20 Presidency.

From the very beginning, we were striving to ensure to the extent possible the transparency of our entire work and all the decisions to be adopted by the G20 in 2013. To achieve this we needed to ensure the broadest possible dialogue with all the concerned parties. Surely those were not only the people who are present here. We established connections with non-G20 countries, international organizations and regional associations. But what we have decided to put our primary focus on was interaction with our outreach partners. In reality, these are the main stakeholders influenced by the G20 decisions. These include private sector (the business community), trade unions representing the interests of employees, civil society, academic and expert community and youth.

Since the very beginning, namely - December 2012, we were holding regular consultations with all our partners on the agenda of Russia's Presidency. We  suggested that our partners' should structure their work around those areas which would reflect the Russian Presidency's priorities and all the main aspects of the G20 work. Later, this made it possible to take notice of the proposals of our partners in the Summit's final documents to the greatest extent possible.

It is generally agreed that quite a considerable part of the recommendations was included in the Leaders' Declaration and annexes. This is particularly true with respect to the employment issues and combating unemployment. According to our partners, various Labour 20 and Business 20 proposals, particularly efforts to foster employment and create jobs, were taken into account almost completely, let's say, 99% of them were in the final documents.

Interestingly enough, a new approach to the outreach working process was suggested. We decided to hold all final events and major summits of our main outreach groups two months prior to the G20 St.Petersburg Summit. This allowed our partners to submit their recommendations and discuss them with the decision-makers before the Summit. All recommendations were being reviewed by numerous experts, and brought to consideration of the decision-makers. On the eve of the summit, we also met with Business 20 and Labour 20 representatives. This meeting was attended by a number of the G20 Leaders, which as it is was an outstanding landmark.

Another task that we set forth was not just establishing the dialogue between the G20 and all outreach groups, but uniting them and promoting cross-fora synergy. The G20 has never seen anything like this before. Business people interacted not only with trade unions, but also with civil society, young people reached out to business community, civil society got in touch with young people and with trade unions at all levels, including at the level of working groups and the Leaders' level. And, indeed, this was a real breakthrough, which made it possible to achieve important results.

I will stop here, and I would like to give the floor to Sergei Drobyshevsky who will speak on behalf of the Think 20 format. This new G20 format comprises the G20 countries' leading analytical centers, think tanks and experts. Whereas business community and trade unions have already met for several years, the Think 20 format is quite fresh, and this is probably why it had brought such a momentum for the very start of our presidency. We did hear their recommendations last December. Their meeting was virtually an inauguration of Russia's G20 Presidency. Please, Sergei.

Sergei Drobyshevsky: Indeed, the Think 20 format is quite fresh. Its first meeting was held in 2012 in Mexico. That was the launch of this format. A full-fledged Think 20 Meeting was held on December 11, 2012, already within Russia's Presidency and in the run-up to the first G20 Sherpas Meeting. The participants discussed the issues that Russia planned to include in its agenda, hence the first assessment of these initiatives was made at the expert level.

This format continued to develop later on. In May 2013, we had another Think 20 Meeting in Sydney, Australia, and we continued our discussion there. It should be mentioned that we started to manage the Think 20 through troika - three consecutive G20 presiding countries - from the very beginning of our work. Troika identified the agenda of the outreach format's work, and thereby influenced the choice of specific issues for discussion. We were discussing our action program with Mexico and Australia. Currently, as the representative of Russia, I am involved in discussing Australia's Think 20 agenda, together with the representatives of Australia and Turkey.

I must say that the expert and political communities, as well as official G20 representatives, have lively discussions since experts are more free and independent from various national, political and other aspects. Therefore, some of the issues, which were supported by the majority at our meetings, could not receive the same support and be unanimously approved within the format of the official G20 tracks. For instance, such issues as budget stability, macroeconomic stability and fiscal policy had consensus-based decisions during expert meetings.

Naturally, all experts noted that various countries, including developed and developing countries, should implement a consistent policy, and that this was a guarantee of future global growth. At the same time, it was obvious that strict obligations, namely quantitative, could not be included in the final documents. The same refers to the issue of redistribution of the IMF quotas, which was virtually deemed settled at the level of the expert community. It goes without saying that this decision has to be solved to correspond to the current global situation, but still it remained unresolved during Russia's G20 Presidency.

I would also like to touch on those issues, which were examined at our December meeting. For instance, with respect to international trade and creation of global value chains, the global value chains concept reflects on international trade not as an exchange of products but as an element of inter-state productive cooperation, when a company manufactures new competitive products, and when it is directly involved in international trade. This concept was brought to discussion at our T20 meeting,  examined throughout the entire Russian presidency and reflected in the final documents. We were also actively discussing such issues as financial literacy and financial inclusion, and these were the issues where the Russian Presidency had considerable progress.

On the other hand, experts and politicians unanimously agreed that, so far, they were not ready to make certain decisions. For instance, the decision on full implementation of the Basel III system or introduction of specific regulatory arrangements for global energy markets, where, as I have already said, there was no consensus both at the expert level and in general. We cannot say that we have some final decision in such areas.

Nevertheless, the Think 20 format continues to develop. I know that, apart from the upcoming December meeting, which will precede the G20 Sherpas Meeting, Australia plans to hold another one or maybe two meetings within its G20 Presidency. In other words, this format is becoming more, I would say, alive, and it is coming closer to the working practices of the other, more deep-rooted, outreach formats. This will bring more regular informing of national leaders and officials about the Think 20 stance. And I hope that this will make possible influencing specific decisions, and Russia can also have a big role to play in this regard because the Troika format will continue to operate next year. Thank you.

Svetlana Lukash: I would like to pass the floor to Oleg Preksin representing the B20, which is the most established platform within the G20. Several meetings were held during the year with the representatives of all the B20 task forces, which, according our colleagues' view, were very substantial and informative. We have incorporated many of their recommendations in the final documents, particularly those regarding investment, trade, and, as I've already mentioned, employment. So let's listen to the opinion of the Business on the outcomes of the year.

Oleg Preksin: Ladies and Gentlemen. It is true that historically the B20 was established ahead of other outreach groups and dates back to the first G20 Summits. To be specific, the first meeting of the B20 took place in 2009 when executives from the leading G20 corporations met with the UK Prime Minister in London. The outreach format wasn't fully established back then, neither it was at the next G20 Summit in Toronto, where every G20 member was represented by three business community representatives. Since then, the B20 has grown substantially, both in terms of the scope of the issues it deals with and its organization.

RSPP's (Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs) Leadership in the B20 and its Chair, RSPP's President Alexander Shokhin, paid special attention to creating the institutional framework for the future B20 work in cooperation, whenever possible, with our colleagues from Australia and Turkey, who are to assume the G20 Presidency after Russia in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The slide highlights the development of the B20 task forces. We did our utmost to reduce the number of task forces and bring their activities in line with the priorities of Russia's Presidency, trying not to lose any major issues.

Yesterday, I got back from London, where I attended a preliminary meeting on Australia's priorities. This meeting lasted for the whole day and was split into two parts. It was very rewarding that the first part was devoted to reviewing Russia's Presidency in the B20, while the second part was focused on identifying which outcomes of the Russian Presidency should be taken into account by Australia first and foremost as Australia assumes presidency. It should be noted that Turkey also had a large delegation there. All in all, almost 50 heads of international corporations and consulting companies attended the meeting. Although the meeting was held in London, it was hosted on the Australian territory - at the Embassy. And Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the meeting, saying that although the agenda of Australia's Presidency has yet to be announced, he was confident that facilitating economic growth and job creation (which were our priorities either) are already viewed as the priorities of Australia's Presidency. It seems that the official announcement will be made within just a few days.

The following slide presents only a part of the participants of the process. On the top of the slide, you can see the leading businesses of the G20, and in the bottom - companies that were actively involved in drafting recommendations of the B20. However, this list is not exhaustive. There were hundreds of participants separated in seven task forces that were functioning during Russia's Presidency.

I won't go into details of the principles of our work, since they are well known. On this slide you can see that we pioneered the approach when recommendations are released in several stages ahead of the actual deadline. We started with issuing the Green Book in May to outline draft recommendations. Then we had an interim version with the first amendments, corrections and additions. Its online and print editions were released at the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). On June 22, the B20 held a summit on the SPIEF's sidelines, bringing together about 600 people out of 6,000 participants of the forum. It should be noted that we tried to be open to all participants, and expressed willingness to participate in all discussions and debates. Building on their input, Mikhail Shmakov (Chair of the Labour 20 in 2013, Chair of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia) and I presented the White Book, comprising final recommendations, at the G20 Summit in St.Petersburg. Before that, over one hundred representatives of the B20 participated in a two-hour meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the SPIEF. The evolution of B20's recommendations is reflected by the transition from the Green Book to the White Book.

I would also like to highlight some facts and figures. Our efforts received high evaluation from the G20, which seems to be quite fair. When we tried to assess the B20's efficiency, we could see that we issued a record-high number of recommendations in the history of the B20. All in all, 403 recommendations have been issued over several years, and that's not our calculations, but those of the University of Toronto and the Higher School of Economics, which have been tracking and publishing these data on their website for many years. By the way, they collect statistical data on the G8 as well, and did so ever since the G7, as well as the G20, so I think that these data are impartial.

A third of these recommendations, 140 out of the total of 403, were put forward by representatives of the B20's task forces in 2013. Seventy five of them were included in the G20's final decisions, while over the last five years such proposals totaled 130.

I would also highlight a number of important recommendations in the sphere of macroeconomics. On this slide (new slide), the seven recommendations that made it to the G20's final documents are highlighted in green. The B20 under Russia's Presidency is in the lead compared to all other summits, including the Toronto Summit.

Employment related issues were high on our agenda. It is thanks to Ms Moskvina (Marina Moskvina, Sherpa of the Business 20 Task Force on Transparency and Anti-Corruption), who is present here today, that we were able to top all other presidencies in this respect, which was already mentioned by Svetlana Lukash. This is her personal achievement, and Mr Iakobachvilli's (David Iakobachvilli, Chair of the Business 20 Task Force on Job Creation, Employment and Investments in Human Capital) who chaired this group.

Much has been done with regard to investments. We have focused on this subject, since investments are crucial not only for Russia's Presidency but for global economic growth.

That is where I would like to stop. If you have any questions, my colleagues and I will be happy to answer them. Thank you.

Svetlana Lukash: I am now turning to Mikhail Shmakov who represents the Labour 20, which made real one of the main achievements of Russia's G20 Presidency. Back in the middle of 2012, Mr. Shmakov suggested that a joint meeting of finance and labour and employment ministers could be convened, at that moment we thought it was unrealistic. All our partners did not support this idea, especially the finance ministers, but later on we returned to his idea, which proved to be the most outstanding innovation of the Russian Presidency.

Mikhail Shmakov: I'd like to greet and congratulate everybody on successful completion of Russia's G20 Presidency, which ends tomorrow when Australia steps in this capacity.

The Labour 20 believes that Russia's Presidency and the G20 Summit in St.Petersburg have greatly contributed to the evolution of the G20 dialogue between the leaders of the world's largest economies. We are pleased to note that social dialogue became a major element of the forum's agenda and the role of the Labour 20 has been officially recognized.

Ms. Lukash has already mentioned successful innovations of Russia's Presidency, such as the Joint G20 Finance and Labour Ministers Meeting and the striving to ensure consistency of the G20 countries' national policies, which should be continued from one presidency to another and from summit to summit. We should not hold non-binding talks, but take practical decisions that will be subsequently implemented by our governments. The importance of this was emphasized in St.Petersburg.

The Labour 20 believes the odds are in favor of creating new jobs in the future (we have held a concrete practical discussion of this) following the Joint G20 Finance and Labour Ministers Meetings held in Russia last July. Growth through quality jobs was one of the three priorities on its agenda. The commitments that the G20 Leaders endorsed in their declaration give their labour and employment and finance ministers broad powers to continue strengthening cooperation. Some conclusions regarding the importance of quality jobs creation, introducing wage bargaining mechanisms and guaranteeing rights at work, which were made at the joint ministerial meeting in July, were also reflected in the G20 Leaders' Declaration.

We also have progress in developing and strengthening social dialogue at the G20 level. During the G20 Summit, labour unions' representatives had a joint meeting with the Business 20 and the G20 Leaders, who acknowledged the contribution of the business community and labour unions and the crucial role of social dialogue as a means to achieve the G20 objectives of fostering growth, employment, and social cohesion. However, in view of deteriorating employment situation and difficulties in overcoming the crisis, the Labour 20 considers it important to hold another joint meeting of the labour and employment and finance ministers ahead of the Brisbane Summit in 2014.

The International Trade Union Confederation and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD are currently making a survey aimed to find out how the labour unions in the G20 countries assess their governments' performance. The Labour 20 will make the results of that survey public at the beginning of Australia's G20 Presidency, that is in December, and we hope these outcomes will be taken into account during the Australian Summit.

We have a positive view of the efforts of the G20 Task Force on Employment. We believe that it should become the principal instrument for implementing the commitments sealed in the G20 Leaders' Declaration and the St.Petersburg Development Outlook. We are also satisfied with the fact that the mandate of this task force has been extended for another year. It was established to ensure that the employment issues were an important element of the G20 Leaders meetings.

The Labour 20 will continue working jointly with the Business 20 to implement the agreement on high-quality vocational training and joint recommendations formulated for the July Joint G20 Finance and Labour Ministers Meeting. We believe that we should carry on this work. The Labour 20 is ready to continue working with the Business 20 and the G20 to achieve all the goals that were formulated and discussed at the Summit and were included in the G20 Leaders' Declaration. We believe that there has been progress, and that we must also ensure further progress at future meetings.

Svetlana Lukash: Actually, this year interaction of the social partners, that is representatives of business and labour unions, with the G20, has greatly intensified. Business and labour unions' representatives attended all meetings of task forces and working groups at all levels, including the G20 experts, finance ministers, and labour and employment ministers, and also had a meeting with the G20 Leaders. This might be an explanation for our breakthrough achievements in the official track. In particular, the G20 has reached consensus on the need to apply an integrated approach to implementing labour policies. Labour and social protection policies should not be reflected on separately, they should be considered in conjunction with macro and finance policies, policies aimed to boost investment. In my opinion, credits for this accomplishment can go to our close dialogue with business and labour unions.

Now I would like to turn to the dialogue with civil society, which I believe is one of this year's most remarkable dialogues.

Civil society has always been part of the G20 process and tried to influence the G20 decisionsand to establish closer relations with the G20 officials. I've been following this for five years now. It has always been an on-and-off relationship where the G20 officials would meet with civil society to discuss things one day, but then change course and make it hard on it the next day. Some G20 summits went smoothly, while others were very much like natural disasters, as was the case in Toronto where anti-globalists staged a rally.

Thus, Russia decided to make the dialogue with civil society open, transparent and effective right from the outset. We began to interact with our civil society and used our non-governmental organizations to build relations with international civil society. We made sure that civil society communicates at all levels - with experts, the G20 task forces, Sherpas, and organized the meeting of civil society representatives as the final event of the Civil 20 work.

I pass the floor to the Civil 20's Co-Chair Ms. Alyona Pyoryshkina.

Alyona Pyoryshkina: We've been working together for over five years now and, thanks to Ms. Lukash, we had a chance to institutionalize a spontaneous process and make it truly sustainable. We have established a format that will be used during the summits in Australia, Turkey and so on.

As a matter of fact, I would like to focus on three aspects of the Civil work 20: its main areas of interest, openness and inclusion, i.e. ownership by all stakeholders, and the results, because the results are all that matters.

With regard to the areas of interest, it is typical of civil society to raise issues that are sensitive and make politicians feel uncomfortable, while nevertheless being very important. The main goal of civil society is to provide access to the benefits provided by economic growth for vulnerable groups, such as women, labour migrants, people with disabilities and the elderly.

The issue of social inclusion was announced by the Civil 20 as its focus. And not only did we raise the issue, but also proposed ways to resolve it. Creating new jobs, improving the effectiveness of the tax system and eradicating corruption are priorities when it comes to investing in human capital. These issues were discussed at Sherpas' meetings and also made their way to the final recommendations of the working groups that prepared their papers for the G20.

Financial literacy is the second area of interest. Russia is breaking new ground in this regard and might probably be one of the most vivid examples of how financial literacy goes from words to action. We have discussed issues such as improving education levels of the elderly and poorly educated people, who often become primary victims of financial scams and tend to underestimate their financial risks.

Fostering international development is our third area of focus. We are almost through with the Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015 and it's time to discuss the post-2015 development agenda. International organizations were particularly interested in this issue. The bottom line has been drawn and work will continue in the G8 and the G20. This is an opportunity for Russia to understand why civil society should participate in the global process, what kind of performance can be expected and what the upside of it all is.

I believe that the Russian Civil 20 is unique in due to another feature. I'm referring to the format of access to dialogues and discussions for all stakeholders that we have developed. It will be used in Australia, and I hope in Turkey as well. Here's how we developed it. First, we created a crowd sourcing platform. Almost anyone could send in their proposals, and we looked into them all. Second, we made use of our website. Third, the Civil 20 also used the Troika format. We will continue this work and hope that the Civil 20 will receive further support, and the Troika format, which allowed us to meet with the Leaders, will remain unchanged. It is always important for civil society to make the Leaders aware of its recommendations. Troika is the most convenient format for this and it worked well for us.

This year we will try to make it both ways: we will participate in the G8, but we will also continue to work with Civil 20 in Australia as a partner. We are working closely with the Secretariat, and are willing to continue to provide our support and assistance so that our expertise becomes part of the regular format. We don't want anyone to be surprised or to think that Civil 20 is something new. We want everyone to know that Civil 20 is part of the global political process. Thank you.

Svetlana Lukash: Alyona has mentioned financial literacy. The Civil 20 recommendations and the final documents are almost identical. In addition, on anti-corruption, it was the first time that C20 took part in the working group's meetings, and their contribution was acknowledged by the group.

I would now like to discuss the Youth 20 format, the most dynamic, interesting and brilliant part of today's agenda. I remember that the Junior 8 format was launched in 2006. At the time, it was also seen as an innovative, very successful format. This format also brought many benefits and promoted further cooperation. What I would like to note is that after the meeting with the Youth 20 representatives, Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly mentioned Youth 20 recommendations in his speeches. I believe that this is a good reason to listen to Roman Chukov with particular attention.

Roman Chukov: Ladies and gentlemen. First of all, on behalf of all Youth 20 participants and organizers, many of whom are also present in this hall, I would like to congratulate Svetlana Lukash on her appointment as Russia's Sherpa, and to thank her and all those people who have given us their support this year and who have made the Youth 20 format possible.

The youth aspect of the Outreach Strategy of the Russian G20 Presidency was very active during the entire year. We have organized many events with the principles of transparency, openness and trust as the basis of our work.

The annual selection of the Russian delegation ranked among the most significant elements. I would once again like to thank all the delegates who took part, and who are also present in this hall. As Svetlana has said, the process of selecting the Russian delegation, which was initiated by the Russian Federation in 2006 in the Junior 8 format, became a landmark event of the Russian youth policy. We are happy to say that we have continued these traditions since 2006, and that they were reflected in the selection of the Youth 20 delegation and in the current process of selecting the Youth 8 delegation for 2014. By the way, this selection process is already underway, and it will end on December 1. Therefore, everyone still has a chance to participate. For all the details, please visit the Youth 20 website: http://www.y20russia.ru/

The Y20 Russia 2013 Summit in St.Petersburg held on June 18-21 became the main youth policy event of the year. We had the honor of opening the St.Petersburg forum because, as has already been said, many of the outreach formats' final events took place as part of the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum, where several cross-sections were also held with the Youth 20 participation, including the Y20 meeting with the Business 20 representatives. This was very interesting because, in effect, employers communicated with their future employees and both sides probably learned a lot of new things.

The Y20 Russia 2013 Summit produced the same results as other formats. We submitted our concluding document called the Y20 Russia 2013 Declaration, and we had the honor of submitting these documents to Russia's G20 Sherpa and meeting with President Vladimir Putin, who surprised us by devoting so much of his time to talking to us and went through the entire document during the meeting. After that, he made substantial comments on each clause. We appreciated this, and we were very happy to learn that President Putin mentioned our meeting and our economic deoffshorization proposals even in his plenary address at the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum.

As we see it, the most interesting proposal, which we actively discussed during our meeting with the President, was to establish a unified G20 vacancies database. Despite its idealistic nature, we still consider this proposal to have great potential. I believe quite a few of our proposals have been included in the final declaration, in one form or another. For instance, we voiced numerous proposals on improving social policy, including proposals on financial literacy and employment.

Many of our proposals focused on the reform of the global financial system, which no one expected from us. After our Summit, experts noted frequently that we voiced slightly more ambitious ideas than we should have. But we believe that we have done a good job, and we intend to continue in the same vein in the future.

Currently, like the Civil 20, we are actively cooperating with our Australian partners, who have already informed that we had set a difficult task for them. I will quote their words specially for Australia's Ambassador: "You gave us big shoes to fill." Therefore, we will try to assist our Australian partners, who will host the Youth 20 Summit in Australia, in every possible way. I would like to once again thank everyone involved in this process. 

Svetlana Lukash: Before I give the floor to the Australian Ambassador Mr. Paul Myler, I would like to note the importance of the Troika as the management mechanism on the official track, something other speakers have already mentioned with respect to their formats. This mechanism has in fact reached full strength in 2013, and has proven very useful. It helped achieve several ends. Firstly, it ensures continuity from the previous presidency to the following. All the decisions made over the five years of the G20, and those adopted this year, must be carried through and fully implemented. Troika is the three-member arrangement that ensures that all decisions taken by the G20 Leaders are materialized, fully implemented and not forgotten from one year to another. The Troika is needed to coordinate the proposed agenda. It is truly difficult to concentrate on the decisions that are the most important for our countries and to ensure that all issues under consideration are equally important for all the countries. The Group of 20 is all about consensus, so there should be no issues that are of no importance, even to a single member. The Troika helps coordinate policies. It primarily helps to reach an agreement and forge dialogue with all the partners, as well as with countries that are not part of G20 and with the outreach partners that are present here. We appreciated the support of Australia and Mexico this year, and their help in conveying the ideas of Russia's Presidency to all corners of the world, to the countries that we would otherwise fail to cover. Please, Mr. Ambassador.

Paul Myler: Thank you Ms. Lukash, for your support during the year and today in particular. I think one of the most difficult aspects of Russia's Presidency of the G20 was interaction with the outreach partners and outreach activities in general. All the speakers were correct saying that new horizons have been opened and new benchmarks have been set for Australia to live up to next year. The most important thing for us is to continue with the agenda proposed by Russia: job creation, economic growth and other pressing issues for the global economy.

As for macroeconomics and fiscal policies, we are looking into possible ways to empower businesses in order to make the private sector more dynamic. We hope to continue a productive discussion within the G20 and will prioritize increasing the G20's productivity.

We would certainly like to hear the Y20 proposals on increasing productivity and transparency of the G20. We also need a contribution from civil society, because it is impossible to continue without discussing the development agenda. It is also important to receive the opinion of the G20 expert community. We plan to use the experience and expertise of all outreach groups next year. The Prime Minister of Australia will make a series of important statements next week in connection with Australia's taking over of the G20 presidency, so I would not like to anticipate them.

A few words to comment on Russia's Presidency of the G20. This was a truly successful year. Several speakers here have said it was the first year in which all the outreach partners completed their work well in advance before the Summit. This was very important, because it gave the Leaders a couple of months to discuss and consider the recommendations proposed by the outreach partners. Frankly speaking, until this year the outreach groups submitted their recommendations days before the Summit, which in fact delayed the discussion and the decision-making process. This year, the recommendations were submitted well in advance, with a considerable time gap before the Summit, which was very helpful.

I also very much enjoyed the meetings that took place as part of the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum: the Business 20 and Y20 Russia 2013 summits. The Russian President noted the most valuable and inspiring contribution made by the Y20. The participants had to go through a competitive selection process in Russia, as well as in Australia. We are also using a rigorous selection process to ensure that the delegation is formed with people who deserve it most.

As for the labour unions, it was already mentioned here that the innovative approach used this year, the Joint G20 Finance and Labour Ministers Meeting, was very important. This is something we are going to continue next year, because these are two sides of the same coin, having to do with rising productivity and economic growth.

I would like to make an important point related to the activity of the Civil 20. During the first half of this year, I was very interested to see how the Civil 20 process would evolve here in Russia. And I was very much impressed by the way it turned out. The Civil 20 showed a high level of innovation, a high level of activity - which has not been the case before. The Internet platform, the openness and support that  Sherpas demonstrated at the Summit, was truly impressive. It was an important lesson for us, which showed that civil society can do a lot to connect with their governments. It was a lesson for us - for Mr. Costello (Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision Australia), who will chair the next Civil 20 group. He met with Mr. Putin for about 90 minutes to discuss civil society's role and policies, and the criticism of the government in a very positive manner. Civil society and the government can discuss politics without bitterness, but rather, to improve the government's work. Similarly - not to change the government but to change its policies and improve its operation. It was a very productive, interesting and useful discussion. This was one positive outcome of this year's work.

I believe there will arise additional questions. But as I see it, the year of Russia's Presidency was a good year at all levels, including at the outreach partners level. The expertise and inclusion of all the participants, interactive work at all levels, regardless of what was happening or could have happened in the country, was truly impressive.

Svetlana Lukash: It is very rewarding to hear such an opinion of our successors in the G20 Presidency, and to receive such a high evaluation. Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, let's move to the Q&A session.

Question: Ms. Lukash, what is your perspective on the contribution of various outreach groups to the G20 agenda? Do you think that some other outreach groups might have been engaged?

Svetlana Lukash: I would like to start with the first part of the question. It turns out that the outreach partners contributed to the G20 most in their respective areas of expertise. For instance, the Labour 20 issued high-quality recommendations on employment, social protection and job creation. The Business 20 has also made an outstanding contribution, primarily regarding investment, facilitating economic growth through trade and innovations. The Civil 20 made an invaluable contribution on the issue of promoting the development agenda. It was the Civil 20 that issued recommendations on such issues as food security, financial literacy, preparing the post-2015 development agenda and evaluating the efficiency of attaining the Millennium Development Goals, and also on combating corruption. The Y20 surprised us with a number of innovative recommendations. Although it was challenging to integrate these proposals into the G20 agenda, we as an official track reviewed them with great interest. They really brought forward some innovative ideas. It is really interesting if you read their final documents.

What I mean is that every outreach partner made a contribution in the areas of its expertise, which enabled us to consider all these recommendations. Think 20 have set the tone, providing us with an insight into the expectations of experts from the G20. Their perspective was brought to our attention back in December 2012, and we sought to live up to the expectations of the G20 expert community for this year.

Any new outreach groups you are talking about? I think that all the main stakeholders are present here, and the fact that Australia decided to follow along the same path by focusing on the same formats during its presidency proves that this was the right choice.

Question: Ms. Peryshkina, to what extent was civil society interested in the forum's agenda? What were, in your opinion, the most important achievements of the Civil 20 this year?

Elena Peryshkina: With respect to the engagement of civil society, as we have already said on a number of occasions, it was very active. The numbers speak for themselves: Over 1,000 organizations came together on our crowdsourcing platform, and not only from the G20 countries. This website was available in four languages: English, Spanish, French and Russian.

In addition, I forgot to mention during my remarks that with the support of the Russian Presidency, we awarded 200 grants to international organizations so that they could come and participate in the Civil 20 Summit. I'm sure that Australia will provide the same level of support during its presidency.

We have also decided to hold national forums in order to create a discussion platform for dealing with the controversial issues that do not require decision makers to take urgent steps. The Civil 20 Summit was attended by Arkady Dvorkovich (Russia's Deputy Prime Minister) and Alexei Kudrin (Dean of the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St.Petersburg State University), who said at the summit that this was a great idea that should be implemented without delay. The National Civil Forum was held on November 23 - we were among its participants - and it became that very discussion platform for addressing the social issues on the national level.

One of the achievements I wanted to mention is facilitating a constructive and result-driven dialogue between civil society and officials who determine government policy in the G20. We succeeded in this task, which is a major achievement.

Question: This question is for Roman Chukov. In your opinion, what do young people think about the outcomes of the G20, and what is the difference between what you and the G20 are doing?

Roman Chukov: This is actually a very interesting question. Ms. Lukash has already mentioned the difference between the Y20 and other outreach formats. I think that it is harder to harmonize our proposals. As Ms. Lukash has already said, although these proposals are interesting, aligning them at the "adult" platforms is a challenging task.

However, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that representatives of all 20 states and invited participants agreed on our recommendations, since these proposals have been included in the declaration. This is what the young generation actually thinks. When we met with Vladimir Putin, he picked the proposal to phase out the regional approach to appointing top executives to the IMF and asked whether we all agreed on this proposal. "Are you sure that this is what all participants, not only representatives of the developing countries, want?" he asked us. The answer was unanimous: "Yes, this is what we want." The youth show that we are ready and willing to cooperate, and we hope that our ability to reach common ground will serve as an example for our "adult" colleagues.

Other differences are evident. The global community is focused on the G20, not the Y20. However, we keep track of the careers of all participants of the Y20 Summits. It should be noted that many young people who participated in summits in Russia and other countries since 2006 are now working for the G20 governments and presidential staff. For this reason, I believe that it is fair to say that at a certain point, the current Y20 might eventually evolve into the G20.

Question: Mr. Chukov, I have another question for you. You have mentioned that the selection process for the Youth 8 Summit delegation is underway. What are the criteria for choosing future participants and what are the requirements for joining your team?

Roman Chukov: I would like to thank Mr. Ambassador for highlighting our selection procedures. Russia is really proud of this system. As I've just said, this mechanism for finding and supporting talented young people has been working since 2006. This has always been a nationwide process reaching out to young people no matter where they live. To give you an idea, I was selected from the Stavropol Territory in 2009. The contest was established in 2006 as a single event, and after that, it was split into contests held in federal districts.

What qualities and skills are required for future participants? What we are seeking is proficiency in foreign languages, primarily English, since those who can efficiently articulate their ideas usually set the tone at any summit, be they adult or youth summits. No matter what your proposals are, you are not going to make a difference unless you can defend them. For this reason, having a good command of English is a huge competitive advantage. The personal profile, communication and team working skills are also important and are taken into account during the selection process. We want Russia's representatives to form a team. I would like to call on the audience to share this information and to apply for the contest if you are younger than 25 years.

Svetlana Lukash: I would like to follow that remark with a conclusion of what has been said at this meeting. Although it may sound a little immodest, I would like to reiterate that we are truly satisfied with our work this year, our dialogue with the outreach partners and all the groups. I'm not aware of Mr. Myler's perspective on this issue, but I think that we have brought the dialogue with all stakeholders to a new level. This was actually a very fruitful dialogue. All parties were satisfied with the process and its outcomes. This is a very important achievement since the G20 has always been accused of being a closed format that fails to engage with people who are impacted by its decisions. I think that we have succeeded in proving such critics wrong by enhancing the transparency and efficiency of the G20. Thank you.

Paul Myler: See you in Brisbane!