G20 summit in Rome: big stage for Corona helpers

Status: 10/30/2021 1:47 p.m.

Advance corona vaccinations and limit the global temperature rise: The G20 apparently agree on the most important topics of their summit. They are now discussing the details. The participants used the opening photo to thank them.

The heads of state and government of the 20 most important economic powers met in Rome for the G20 summit. The Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi welcomed them to the strictly shielded congress center in Rome for their first meeting. The first day of the summit will be about the fight against corona and the economic consequences of the pandemic.

In his opening speech, Draghi reiterated the G20’s goal of vaccinating more than two-thirds of the world’s population against the coronavirus by the middle of next year. Draghi said they are close to achieving the World Health Organization (WHO) goal of giving 40 percent of people at least one vaccine dose by the end of December. “Now we have to do everything we can to achieve 70 percent by mid-2022.”

Draghi criticized the large differences in vaccination progress. While in rich countries around 70 percent of the population are vaccinated at least once, the rate in the poorest countries falls to three percent. These differences are “morally unacceptable” and undermine the global fight against the pandemic, he said. In general, Italy’s head of government strongly encouraged more international cooperation on the pressing problems.

Activists are calling for support for poor countries

At the start of the meeting, development organizations called for more support for poorer countries because of the economic crisis and rising inflation. The World Vision organization called for simplified loans for developing countries and an extension of the debt moratorium agreed in April. “If the G20 does not make a quick and clear decision to tackle the debt and hunger crisis, the effects of fighting the pandemic in poorer countries will be much worse,” said Dirk Bathe of World Vision. People could no longer afford food, and national economies would be destabilized. “That harbors enormous potential for conflict with lasting consequences.” More than 800 million people are already suffering from a lack of food.

Worldwide food prices have risen by around 40 percent – the highest increase in over a decade. “The G20 must help make the economic recovery after the Corona crisis fairer and, in particular, tackle the global hunger problem,” said Jörn Kalinski from Oxfam. Climate change with extreme weather threatens the livelihoods of millions of people – mostly poor, who have contributed the least to global warming.

Do more for the 1.5 degree goal

On Sunday, the second day of the summit, climate protection is the main topic of the G20 meeting. According to a draft of the final declaration, from which the news agency Reuters quoted, the states want to intensify their efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. “We are committed to combating the existential threat posed by climate change,” says the draft. In this critical decade, action will be taken on the basis of the best available scientific evidence – albeit in the light of different national realities.

“We remain committed to the goal of the Paris Agreement of keeping the global average temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius and making efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial level, also in order to enable the 2030 Agenda to be implemented.” It also underscores that leaders recognize “the importance” of achieving net zero emissions by mid-century, a goal that some of the world’s biggest polluters have not yet committed to.

The countries want to coordinate better on climate protection in the future. The draft declaration said that cooperation in technology development and transfer and with a view to mutually agreed conditions will be strengthened. Global initiatives and joint or bilateral projects should help develop the most efficient solutions in all economic sectors. The goal is access to clean energy for everyone. The G20 countries play a decisive role in the fight against climate protection because they are responsible for more than three quarters of emissions.

Several demonstrations planned

Before the beginning of the summit, the Italian police had cleared a blockade of a few dozen climate activists in Rome. The demonstrators had sat on the lane of a multi-lane road near the Ministry of the Environment, as the police confirmed when asked. The road leads to the G20 venue. Two demonstrations were expected in Rome that afternoon. The Communist Party wanted to assemble in the Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterno, east of the Colosseum. A little later, among other things, a demonstration by climate activists who wanted to move towards the historic center was planned. Thousands of participants are expected.

Summit with Merkel but without Xi and Putin

The meeting in Rome is the last G20 summit with the participation of Chancellor Angela Merkel. She traveled with the Minister of Economic Affairs and her likely successor, Olaf Scholz. The two have set out to demonstrate continuity in German foreign policy after the impending change of government. In the afternoon they want to meet with US President Joe Biden.

At the traditional family photo before the start of the summit, the heads of state and government brought Corona aid workers to the podium. After the top politicians from the most important industrial countries had positioned themselves, the host Draghi asked doctors, nurses and paramedics to come on stage. To the applause of the politicians, they then stood between them.

However, two important heads of state are missing in the photo – and at the summit: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not travel because of the corona pandemic.

Start of the G20 summit in Rome

Torsten Teichmann, ARD Washington currently Rome, October 30, 2021 1 p.m.


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