World leaders (virtually) convened at the Saudi G20 summit in a time when the Covid-19 emergency has compounded longstanding global challenges for the multilateral system. From climate change to digital transformation, from global health to growth and social cohesion, these are testing times for multilateralism.
COVID-19 has turned everything upside down. The global lockdowns, the stresses on weak health systems, the absence of fiscal space and social safety nets, the downturn in the world economy, have wiped out years of progress in development across the developing world.
Infrastructure investment has been a recurrent issue within the G20 agenda in the past decade as one element of the structural reforms to support growth. It has also been in the scope of the T20 since its foundation in 2012. In 2020, the work of the T20 Saudi Arabia on infrastructure was set to focus on investment and financing, in continuity with the Economic Effects of Infrastructure Investment and its Financing taskforce of the T20 Japan altho
In many respects, the COVID pandemic has been a huge litmus test: from our capacity to devise rapid responses at the medical level to the sustainability of our transition to a low-carbon future, to how society acts and reacts in the face of a deadly virus. International affairs have not been spared.
Global overheating and its devastating impacts will be the main concern around the world when this Covid-19 pandemic subsides during 2021. Cutting emission of methane, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases needs speeding up. So does adaptation to the inevitable consequences of what some – euphemistically – still call "climate change". The urgency of action will be underlined again, like every summer in the Northern hemisphere, by the inescapable effects of rising heat, rising seas, and ferocious weather systems inflicting damage.
For World Refugee day, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released its 2019 report on forced displacement. Its numbers are staggering. There are 79.5 million forcibly displaced people around the world, 45.7 million of whom are internally displaced people (IDPs), 20.4 million are refugees and 4.2 million are asylum seekers.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of forcibly displaced people has gained an additional urgency for three reasons.
The Group of Twenty (G20) plays a central role in the global energy landscape since it accounts for over 80% of global primary energy consumption, almost all of world’s renewable power generation, and counts the four biggest oil producers among its members.
Over the past 12 years, energy took a growing importance in the G20 agenda. Energy was first mentioned at the Washington Summit in 2008. The first G20 energy ministers meeting was held in 2015. The Energy Transitions Steering Committee was launched at the 2018 Buenos Aires Summit.
Migration entered the G20 agenda only at the Antalya summit in 2015. At that time, the presence of several million Syrian refugees in Turkey and their onward migration to Central and Northern Europe were viewed as a threat to political stability in Europe and beyond. When the urgency of the 2015 situation was gone, the language on migration in subsequent G20 Summit Communiqués became weaker and weaker.
Using Covid-19 as a trigger and the serial failures of the United Nations (UN) to reform, adapt or listen to voices outside the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) as context, this paper argues that the blunders of this institution’s past combined with the present aggressive behaviour of China that has created security threats in the region have come together to force the world to intellectually rethink and physically recreate a new world order.
The coronavirus pandemic has deeply shocked the entire world, showing how fragile our societies and economies are when dealing with unexpected and unprecedented crises. A sudden health crisis has rapidly turned into a global economic crisis that is completely reshaping priorities for policymakers and economic operators. However, the urgency of climate change mitigation has not disappeared from the European agenda. Indeed, it has been included as a main pillar of the Next Generation EU – the Recovery Plan for Europe.