G20 summit in Rome: spongy, but indispensable


Status: October 31, 2021 6:13 p.m.

There is much to criticize about the G20 resolutions: once again they are vague and timid. Still there is progress. The alternative to G20 meetings would be a policy of speechlessness.

A comment by Jörg Seisselberg, ARD-Studio Rome

The G20 summit did not meet expectations. The heads of state and government of the most important industrialized and emerging countries are disappointing hopes. The G20 countries have missed opportunities. This or something like that has been the verdict on the results of the G20 meetings for years. Something similar could also be said about the results in Rome. But that’s too easy.

Jörg Seisselberg
ARD-Studio Rom

Despite conflicts and rivalries

Even if there are a few things to criticize about the results of Rome: no fixed year by when the world wants to stop increasing pollution with carbon dioxide emissions; no timetable for the promised higher speed worldwide for corona vaccinations. And the aid for poor countries with ecological restructuring is still only a promise. More should come everywhere here, no question about it.

But has the G20 round shown again that it is superfluous? No. The alternative would be a politics of speechlessness and confrontation. There has been an idea of ​​what that means since the Trump years. G20 is the opposite, is talking to one another, despite all other conflicts and rivalries, all political and economic differences.

Progress with patience

Of course, discussions in such a group are tedious and complicated – and in the end they lead to compromises that are often extremely vague. But some agreements in Rome also show what the G20 can do. Namely, despite all the difficulties, in the end, making progress and changing direction.

Take the minimum tax, for example: unthinkable years ago, it is now becoming a reality. Not least thanks to patient discussions in the G20 group.

For example, corona vaccinations for 70 percent of the world’s population: An ambitious goal that is only on paper at first. But a new task force is supposed to improve relief channels, and the first vaccine production sites in Africa were agreed in parallel to the G20 summit.

It got difficult with the climate

And in climate policy? As expected, this was the most difficult chapter in Rome. With the formulations in the final communiqué, however, the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees has become a bit more concrete. Parts of the coal subsidies should expire and environmental aid for poorer countries should finally come.

All of this is by no means sufficient to curb climate change effectively. But when it comes to climate policy, the summit was only the first half. The second, the decisive one, will be negotiated over the next few days at the climate summit in Glasgow.

The results in Rome in other areas show that sometimes surprising successes can be achieved – after years of tough discussions. Every country now has to do their homework at home. But G20 resolutions are never the end, but always the beginning of a road.

Editorial note

Comments generally reflect the opinion of the respective author and not that of the editors.

Comment: G20 resolutions are always only the beginning of a path

Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Rome, October 31, 2021 5:22 p.m.


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