The leaders of the world’s economic powerhouses on Saturday took part in the first in-person summit since the coronavirus pandemic, with climate change, Covid-19 economic recovery and the global minimum corporate tax rate on the agenda.
Italian Premier Mario Draghi welcomed the Group of 20 heads of state to Rome’s Nuvola cloud-like convention center in the Fascist-era EUR neighborhood, which was sealed off from the rest of the capital. Saturday’s opening session was focused on global health and the economy, with a meeting on the sidelines among US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss next steps on Iran’s nuclear program. Host leader Draghi opened the forum with a sharp call for redoubled efforts to get vaccines to the world’s least-prosperous countries.
Draghi underlined that while 70% of people in rich countries have been vaccinated, only 3% in the poorest countries have had their shots, calling it “morally unacceptable.”
Draghi urged a new commitment to multilateral cooperation: “The more we go with all our challenges, the more it is clear that multilateralism is the best answer to the problems we face today,” he said. “In many ways, it is the only possible answer.”
Italy is hoping the G-20 will secure key commitments from countries representing 80% of the global economy — and responsible for around the same amount of global carbon emissions — ahead of the UN climate conference that begins Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland.