A year when all roads lead to Rome


While Italy is one of the least important states in the G20, Prime Minister Mario Draghi seeks to use his personal international notoriety to help his country hold one of the most important annual presidencies of the club of world powers, which began with a pandemic summit on Friday. .

One of the reasons why Italy’s Big Year could be so important is that in addition to the G20, it is also the UK’s main partner in hosting COP26, the United Nations Conference on Change. climate. Preparatory meetings will take place in September and October in Rome ahead of the main Glasgow event in November, and Italy is also working in close coordination with the UK-hosted G7 this year.

At Friday’s health summit, leaders adopted a series of key measures, including a declaration of voluntary licenses and technology transfers to boost vaccine production. The most ambitious idea, however, came from the IMF, which proposed a $ 50 billion project to end the pandemic by vaccinating 40 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2021, and at least 60 percent by the first half of 2022., According to IMF officials, would inject the equivalent of $ 9 trillion into the global economy by 2025 due to a faster recovery in economic activity.

Drawing inspiration from last year’s Saudi presidency, one of the prizes Draghi is pursuing in 2021 is the development of a truly global response to the pandemic, which has been held back to date by lack of interest in this result from some world leaders. Among them is Donald Trump, who decided last year to play golf rather than attend all of the G20 leaders’ meeting sessions following his decision last year to withdraw the United States from the WHO.

With his comments at the G20 last year that he wanted to ‘vaccinate America first’, Trump also fueled vaccine nationalism that WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week had become a “vaccine apartheid”. The latest data here is striking; High-income countries make up 15 percent of the world’s population but have 45 percent of the world’s vaccines, while low-income and lower-middle-income countries make up almost half of the world’s population but have not received than 17 percent of the world’s vaccines.

With Trump now removed from office and Western countries divided over the issue of vaccine patent waivers with Germany strongly against, another key divide within the G20 lies between China and the United States. Not all G20 leaders have fully embraced Ghebreyesus’ advice last year to come together to find common solutions to the coronavirus and “ignite a new global movement” to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

While there are signs that these gaps are closing, Draghi still has a lot of work to do this year. There are also broader concerns about the ease with which the agreements will be implemented on Friday and later this year. While the G20 is widely regarded as having taken up the torch from the G7 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation and global governance, it has so far failed to achieve the full scale of ambition that some imposed on it, in part because it lacks formal mechanisms to ensure the implementation of the agreements by world leaders.

In addition, at a time of a persistent global health emergency, states outside the G20 continue to worry about the legitimacy of the club and its composition, which was decided in the late 1990s by the United States and G7 colleagues. While states were nominally selected based on criteria such as population, GDP, etc., criticism has been made on omissions such as Nigeria which has three times the population of South Africa.

This question was echoed by 2009 summit host Brown in the context of the coronavirus. He urged the G20 to work much more closely with the 193 members of the United Nations to fight the pandemic.

Nonetheless, whether or not the G20 meets some of Draghi’s high expectations in 2021, it continues to be a generally popular forum for its members, as Friday’s session showed. While the Italian presidency has the potential to be one of the biggest since 2009, much will now depend on whether the intra-G20 divisions improve or grow in the five months leading up to the October leaders’ summit.

  • Andrew Hammond is a partner at LSE IDEAS at the London School of Economics

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the editors in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News

Copyright: Arab News © 2021 All rights reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).

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