Pandemic and need for cooperation at the head of the next Italian G-20
With the pandemic providing painful lessons on the world’s interconnectedness, ministers from countries representing more than half of the world’s population met in Italy on Tuesday to explore how to better cooperate, including on vaccines and climate change efforts. .
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio cited the two areas where it is imperative that countries unite. He opened the meeting, in the presence of the Foreign Affairs and Development Ministers of the Group of 20. Together, the G-20 countries represent around 80% of world GDP.
Some ministers were participating remotely due to travel issues related to COVID-19, including from China, Russia and Brazil.
“In an interconnected world, multilateralism and international cooperation are the only effective instruments to face global challenges,” said Di Maio. “We had an example of that with vaccines.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken relied on Di Maio’s premises in his opening remarks.
“To end the pandemic, we need to get more vaccines to more places,” Blinken said. “Multilateral cooperation will be essential to stop this global health crisis. “
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Blinken took the opportunity to praise the United States’ contributions to COVAX, the UN-backed program to provide vaccines to countries in need, which includes approximately 500 million doses of Pfizer and 80 million more. doses.
As some rich countries struggle to convince more and more segments of their population to get vaccinated against the disease that has claimed nearly 4 million lives worldwide in confirmed deaths, the poorest countries in particular in Africa, are desperate to receive vaccines tiny fraction of their population so far having access to injections.
Scientists and many political leaders have warned that the pandemic can only be effectively brought under control if all nations have substantial vaccination rates.
One of Tuesday’s sessions focuses on Africa.
For Di Maio, “2021 is a crucial year for relaunching international cooperation” on climate change. “We have opportunities that we cannot lose to implement the Paris agreements.”
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The decision made earlier this year by the administration of US President Joe Biden to return to the fight against climate change and help lead it has encouraged advocates calling for an urgent fight against climate change threats. Last year, under the then Trump administration, the United States became the only country to leave the 2015 agreement.
G-20 ministers will also discuss sustainable development and trade.
Italy hopes the meeting will help promote a more sustainable and resilient recovery as the world emerges from the global COVID-19 crisis.
Reflecting that, for the first time since 1999, when the grouping was formed, development ministers were invited by Italy to join foreign ministers in a joint session.
The southern Italian city chosen for the meeting could be an inspiring symbol of development.
For decades, Matera, a provincial capital in Basilicata, one of Italy’s poorest regions, was synonymous with poverty and underdevelopment in southern Europe.
The famous “Sassi” of Matera – literally stones – were dwellings carved out of natural caves of tuff. In recent years, the “Sassi” have been increasingly converted into boutique hotels, restaurants and vacation homes for the wealthy, eager to draw inspiration from the spectacular views of the city, which towers over a torrent.
Frances D’Emilio reported from Rome.