Blog / Jan. 2, 2020

Looking ahead to 2020: The changes we want to see

We asked Global Witness staff what changes they want to see in 2020 to tackle the climate crisis, stop corruption and keep land and environmental defenders safe. These are huge challenges facing the world today, but we have some concrete and lasting solutions…

Keep corrupt money out of the US

After a decade campaigning for corporate ownership transparency in the US, so that it’s no longer possible to hide who owns and controls companies, the House of Representatives finally passed a bill that would require disclosure of company ownership. Now, we look ahead to 2020 when the Senate is poised to take up similar legislation – the next step to making this law a reality and to help keep corrupt money out of the US. 

Julie Anne Miranda-Brobeck, US Communications Manager

Deter corruption in the oil and gas industry

In an alarming development for oil and gas transparency around the world, the US recently proposed an oil and gas payment disclosure rule that is incredibly weak, appearing to be a handout to the oil and gas industry. To deter corruption, the final rule must require US-listed extractives companies to disclose payments they make to the US and foreign governments at the project level. Time and again, we see how billions of oil and gas dollars end up lining pockets of corrupt officials. In 2020, we will fight to strengthen this transparency rule and ensure US-listed extractives companies are deterred from pursuing corrupt deals abroad.

Julie Anne Miranda-Brobeck, US Communications Manager

Businesses and governments to keep defenders safe

Land and environmental defenders will only be able to carry out their activism safely when states, companies and investors take action to prevent attacks against them, protect those defenders who are at risk, and react when threats do occur. This means tackling the root causes of threats against defenders, supporting and protecting them on the front line, and ensuring that those responsible for attacks on defenders are brought to justice.

Ali Hines, Senior Campaigner, Land and Environmental Defenders

For Filipino land and environmental defenders to protect their land and our planet without fearing for their lives, Duterte’s government must first stop smearing activists and secondly provide justice for attacks against them. It also needs to put in place effective measures to regulate business and prevent the damaging effects of many extractive and agribusiness projects. But regardless of whether the Filipino government takes a stand, 2020 should be the year in which those investing in the country begin to do so responsibly. Businesses like those we exposed in our investigation must do proper due diligence and implement effective policies to safeguard the environment, human rights and those who protect them.

Ben Leather, Senior Campaigner, Land and Environmental Defenders

European Union acts as a global leader in tackling the climate crisis

We want the EU to show global leadership in taking action to protect people and planet by tackling the climate emergency and ending all support to fossil fuels including gas, address  corruption risks through golden visa schemes by phasing them out, holding corporates and finance to account for their impacts and tackling deforestation by addressing the financing of this destruction. 

Rachel Owens, Head of EU Office

Leaders at COP 26 take real action on fossil fuels

We want to see the UK government become a real climate leader ahead of the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow. Real climate leaders don’t pledge to dig up every drop of oil and gas out of the North Sea. Real climate leaders don’t spend billions of pounds on funding fossil fuel projects overseas. We need to see an end to new licensing for North Sea oil and gas extraction, redirection of the billions of fossil fuel subsidies towards paying for a just transition for affected workers, and an end to funding fossil fuel projects across the world.

Adam McGibbon, Senior Campaigner, Climate team

New EU legislation to tackle corruption

In 2020 I’d like to see the major legislative world players, especially the EU, step up to pass legislation tackling corruption in the same way that the US Global Magnitsky Act does. We’ve seen the US use the Act to sanction infamous businessman Dan Gertler, whom we’ve written about extensively, only for Gertler to move all his dollars into Euros. The EU has a good human rights sanctions regime but this must be expanded to include corruption in order to close this gaping loophole.

Peter Jones, Campaign Leader, Corruption Investigations

World leaders stop financial flows to deforestation

The year 2020 will be a crucial one for the world’s forests – when corporate commitments to eliminate deforestation from supply chains by 2020 are likely to be missed. In 2020, we need to see world leaders take action to require the financial sector to ensure it is not contributing to climate breakdown by continuing to back companies associated with deforestation. As the host of the key UN meeting on climate change in 2020, we want the UK to show global leadership by tackling the financial flows to deforestation from UK banks. And we hope that the EU will take forward plans to require companies, including finance, to undertake due diligence on their supply chains and investments to ensure they are not contributing to deforestation, environmental harm and human rights abuses. 

Jo Blackman, Head of Forests Policy & Advocacy

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