ROME (NWN) – The Group of 20 has evolved from its international financial crisis body, created in the late 1990s, to a forum for tackling pressing issues such as access to vaccines worldwide and climate change. Whether the G-20 framework is appropriate to help respond to the changing needs of our time will be tested when the leaders of the world’s largest economies hold their first in-person COVID-19 summit in Rome. weekend.
WHO IS IN THE SALON?
The Group of Seven industrialized countries, which was part of the G8 for several years prior to Russia’s suspension of the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, is probably the better known G group. The “Group of 20” includes all seven: the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. Other members include a dozen other countries recognized as powerful centers, as well as countries with rapidly growing economies: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey. The European Union is the 20th member, and since the EU consists of 27 countries, including three of the G-7, the G-20 actually represents the interests of a much larger number of countries.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COUNT?
In terms of population and economic weight, the G-20 is impressive. Member countries account for 60% of the world’s population and 80% of the world’s gross domestic product. There are also many disputes between members – the G20 countries account for 75% of foreign trade.
HOW DOES THIS GO ON?
The G20 is considered the leading international forum for economic and financial cooperation. In the wake of the 1997 Asian economic crisis and its aftermath, the G7 finance ministers created a larger grouping in 1999 so that other countries could have a say. In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis caused by the mortgage collapse in the United States, Washington pushed for the G-20 to be raised to the level of heads of state and government. The leaders at their 2009 summit in Pittsburgh said they intend to “turn the page in an era of irresponsibility and adopt a set of policies, rules and reforms to meet the needs of the global economy of the 21st century.”
DOES G-20 REMAIN UP?
Some suggest that renewing membership could be beneficial, especially given the urgency of tackling climate change. In the aftermath of the global crisis caused by US subprime lending, “the emergence of the G-20 as a forum for coordinating international politics seemed like the only silver lining of this mess,” says Rosario Forlenza, professor of modern history and anthropology at LUISS University in Rome. But he and others note that South Africa is still the only African country in the G-20. When it comes to climate issues, “Africa is critical,” says Forlenza. Thus, the absence of Nigeria, which has the largest economy in Africa and the largest population, looks like a glaring divide.
Before the presidents and prime ministers arrive in Rome for the summit, the Sherpas worked long hours to negotiate an agreement for a final G-20 declaration. When referring to diplomats or other government officials in this context, the term Sherpa is used in recognition of the Himalayan people, known for their mountaineering experience and leading the way to the top of the mountain.
As in the multi-act spectacle, in the months leading up to the G-20 summit, ministerial meetings are held, including such as foreign affairs, trade, finance, education, health and the environment. These thematic meetings make promises. In Venice this summer, for example, G-20 finance ministers supported a radical overhaul of international taxation that would include a minimum corporate levy of 15% to deter megacompanies from seeking refuge in low-rate tax havens. The Rome Summit is an opportunity to close a deal before the curtain falls.
ROAD TO ROME
Every year the G-20 chairmanship changes, and with it the country that hosts the annual summit of the group. Italy took over in December 2020. From year to year, previous summits were held in Saudi Arabia (in November 2020, the meeting was held remotely due to pandemic precautions), Japan, Argentina, Germany, China, Turkey, Australia, Russia, Mexico, France, South Korea. Canada, USA, UK and USA.
IN THE HEART OF THE WORK
The G-20 Summit gives host countries a chance to make progress in addressing issues of concern to them. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is committed to the economic empowerment of women. An economist and former president of the European Central Bank, Draghi often emphasizes that excluding women from the workforce – often due to the need to care for children or the elderly at home – slows economic growth. The G20 Summit in Australia in 2014 set a goal to reduce the male and female employment gap by 25% by 2025.
OUT OF THE BUBBLE
The Italian security forces will create a wide and dense security perimeter around the summit in EUR, an area of Rome outside of the city center known for its fascist-era architecture. Protesters are planning events alongside postcard backgrounds in the historic center of the Italian capital to draw attention to their causes, despite the fact that G-20 leaders cannot hear them for kilometers (miles). Among them are Tibetan activists who called a rally at the Colosseum on Friday afternoon, when most of the leaders arrive in Rome. Human rights activists are demanding a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.