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People, Planet and Prosperity

People, Planet and Prosperity

Saturday, 30 October, 2021 - 11:00

These are the three pillars of the Group of Twenty Summit being held in Italy Saturday. The goal, as the Italian prime minister says, is “a more equal and fair economic recovery to fight new and old injustices.” The key to success is ensuring cooperation between members in facing planet earth’s successive crises. According to the summit agenda’s criteria, that means delving into climate change, supporting economic recovery, addressing the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and fighting malnutrition around the world.

There are obvious apprehensions about the global economy and an uncertain future, and the G20 must intervene to contain the pandemic’s ramifications, as this task is at the heart of the duties of the organization striving for a safer, more just and more stable world. With that, the world is still trying to adjust and absorb the economic, social, and humanitarian blows it was dealt during the pandemic, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel described as the biggest challenge we have faced since the Second World War.

We remember that when the Extraordinary Virtual G20 Summit - aimed at strengthening international efforts to fight the coronavirus while the crisis had been at its peak - was held last year and led by King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the G20 grasped the scale of what it had to do to contain this unprecedented crisis, which, as we know, was an unprecedented global health crisis that required a global response. Saudi Arabia is the first member holding the G20 Presidency to organize two Leaders’ Summits during its year in charge.

The G20 leaders agreed, during the Extraordinary Summit held at the time, to pump 5 trillion dollars into the global economy “as part of the financial policies and economic measures and plans aimed at addressing the social, economic and financial repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.”

And 21 billion dollars were indeed allocated to support global health institutions, 14 billion dollars were allocated to reducing developing countries’ debts, and 12 trillion dollars, in an unprecedented step, were pumped to protect the global economy.

Saudi Arabia’s role within the G20 can be felt at the Rome Summit being held Saturday through its membership in the Group’s Troika, which is striving to ensure that G20 leaders work shoulder to shoulder on making the proposed agenda consistent and sustainable.

Riyadh had already taken the initiative and stressed the urgency of containing the coronavirus pandemic’s repercussions and making that task a G20 top priority, as it sees the G20 as a pioneering forum for international economic cooperation. In truth, the Extraordinary Summit rose to the challenge posed by the world’s state of affairs at the time and the critical phase the world had been undergoing, proposing practical steps and solutions. It also presented climate solutions, and Riyadh, a few days ago, hosted several summits addressing the various dimensions of this matter.

In similar fashion to the previous summit chaired by Saudi Arabia during what was an exceptional year in which the summit contributed to reassuring the peoples world, building bridges of confidence, raising morale, and confronting the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as protecting the global economy, the Italy summit being held on Saturday is emphasizing climate change and the environment, making the summit of utmost importance.

Addressing climate change, protecting the environment, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are matters that had not been paid attention to in the past, but serious efforts are now being exerted to address these issues that are crucial to humanity’s future. As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said at the Middle East Green Initiative Summit, climate change’s repercussions are no longer limited to the environment and have come to impact the economy and security.

Given international institutions’ decline, the time has come for the Group of Twenty to take the reins, launch initiatives and reformulate its system in a way that would allow it to play a decisive role in solving the planet’s issues and problems.

With that, those opposed to globalization - who are looking to ensure the realization of justice, freedom, and humanitarian values in light of the injustice of the world’s material conditions, which have left man without humanity - claim that “the Group of Twenty’s policies around the world are responsible for its hellish conditions, like hunger, war and environmental catastrophes.”

Of course, they are aware that globalization cannot be canceled, but they prefer that its negative implications are alleviated through the reduction of class inequalities, poor states being aided through the cancelation of their debts and the concept of justice being fortified. These protest groups appear every now to show their opposition to globalization, especially its slavery and colonial dimensions, becoming a broad popular alliance.

Capitalism, as an economic system, for example, has been suffering greatly with the global economy’s decline, and that has pushed some to question whether political democracy has failed to realize the economic reform that we need. Nonetheless, the world is facing an array of severe and dangerous challenges that could threaten its stability and safety, especially since we are witnessing the return of a bipolar cold war, to say nothing about the conflicts between Washington and Beijing.

Every summit’s success usually hinges on the leaders’ political will, and they usually aim to achieve economic growth, resolve differences, and build a society for the future centered around humanity. At this summit, we could perhaps add the question of climate change and its threats to humanity. The Italian prime minister was right to say that the focus should be developing the skills needed for the environmental revolution as well as the digital revolution.

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