COVID-19, Economic Crisis & Climate Are the Big Issues for G20 to Wrestle With, Says Cambridge Prof

© AP Photo / Kirsty WigglesworthU.S. President Joe Biden, Democratic Republic of Congo's President and African Union Chair Felix Tshisekedi, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from row from left, pose with other world leaders for a group photo at the La Nuvola conference center for the G20 summit in Rome, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.
U.S. President Joe Biden, Democratic Republic of Congo's President and African Union Chair Felix Tshisekedi, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from row from left, pose with other world leaders for a group photo at the La Nuvola conference center for the G20 summit in Rome, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.10.2021
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As leaders of the Group of 20 are taking part in the bloc’s Rome summit, experts point at key challenges that are on the agenda.
According to University of Cambridge Assistant Professor Tristen Naylor, who is Deputy Director of the G20 Research Group London, there is a “staggering lack of coordination” between bloc members on issues, such as response to the pandemic.
Sputnik: Your group has been following G20 summits for many years. What are the main differences between the Rome meeting and the previous events?
Tristen Naylor: Well, first and foremost, this is the first time in two years, when finally the G20 is getting together in person despite the ongoing pandemic. This is an opportunity, finally, for these leaders, for the first time since the outbreak of COVID-19, to see one another in person. That matters a great deal in global summitry. That said, there are many key leaders who are not here this weekend and I think that's going to cast a shadow over what's going to happen.
Sputnik: Let’s talk about the agenda. Your organisation has just published a briefing book explaining the main topics of this summit’s agenda. In your opinion, which issues are most important for G20 leaders and governments in 2020?
Tristen Naylor: Well, principally, there are three major crises that the G20 is having to wrestle with right now: the COVID 19 pandemic, the economic crisis it ushered in, and, of course, climate change. And these themes keep coming up time and time again. And that's no surprise. Why? Because these are world-defining crises that the world's most important economies simply must address.
Carabinieri police carry away an Extinction Rebellion activist as the demonstrators block a road near the Ministry of Ecological Transition during the G20 leaders summit in Rome - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.10.2021
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Sputnik: The summit is being held under the motto “People, Planet, Prosperity”. In many G20 countries we see massive protests against the ways in which governments handle the pandemic. Do you think that these governments are really on the same page with their own people?
Tristen Naylor: I can't comment on any particular government’s approach domestically, but certainly what we've seen internationally is a staggering lack of coordination on the response to the pandemic and particularly as concerns vaccines. This weekend is an opportunity for G20 leaders to finally meaningfully and substantively coordinate on action, to respond to the pandemic and see us through, hopefully, the end of it.
Sputnik: “Planet” is another pillar of the summit and climate-related issues are being discussed. We also see protests dedicated to these issues, even here in the red security zone, close to the summit venue. Why is there all that pressure on the leaders?
Tristen Naylor: Simply put, we are running out of time to respond to the possibility of catastrophic climate change, irreversible climate change. This is our last opportunity this weekend to really make headway before the COP summit in Glasgow next week. The world is watching the leaders and the world is expecting the leaders to step up and make something of this moment.
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