IFAC urges G20 to balance COVID-19 response with global priorities

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The International Federation of Accountants called on leaders of the G20 countries to stay focused on long-term progress alongside their immediate priorities for response and recovery during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

IFAC, which represents over 3 million accountants, noted that G20 countries play a crucial role in fostering institutions and governance models that can anticipate and mitigate future crises.

“We are at a critical inflection point around the world for many reasons. While the immediate response to COVID-19 is paramount, we must not take action that puts other urgent global priorities and progress at risk,” said IFAC CEO Kevin Dancey in a statement Tuesday. “The decisions we make now and the actions we take are crucial as we work to build strong, sustainable economies and realize the opportunities of the 21st century for all.”

To strengthen the global economy amid the challenges posed by COVID-19, IFAC encouraged G20 leaders to:

1. Accelerate sustainability and inclusion. IFAC said the COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable and inclusive global economy. Both the business community and governments have an important role to play in this transformation, from focusing on long-term value creation to supporting an economy aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

2. Focus on public sector transparency and integrity. Responding to COVID-19 has driven an enormous increase in public-sector spending. Integrity and transparency in the public sector are essential to the social contract between governments and their citizens. IFAC urged the G20 to step up its efforts to deliver on the G20 Anti-Corruption and Anti-Money Laundering Action Plans, and to adopt International Public Sector Accounting Standards and accrual accounting at all levels of government.

3. Resist regulatory fragmentation. Regulatory fragmentation costs the global economy more than $780 billion a year, and the cost is borne disproportionately by small and midsized enterprises. IFAC called on policymakers to prioritize regulatory cooperation and harmonization so that all enterprises can thrive. It also urged stakeholders to agree on a global framework for non-financial reporting that incorporates integrated reporting principles.

4. Recommit to global collaboration. Global institutions for cooperation and crisis-management — both public and private sector — are more important than ever, IFAC noted. Multilateralism in support of building back better for those most in need should be the foundation for resilience and a fairer, more prosperous world. The organization urged the G20 leadership to commit to working together through global institutions to anticipate and mitigate the global problems of the 21st century.

IFAC’s full call to action for the G20 is available here.

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