Democratic G-20 leaders were upgraded by kings

While it is message at the top – 17 pages long and covering more than 60 topics – is a step forward from what the Saudi G-20 presidency managed to achieve in 2020, this meeting could not be saved even by the firm hand of the Italian Prime Minister and host of the summit Mario Draghi.

The biggest development was due to bilateral meetings or national political interests, not group discussions: Canada will donate another 200 million doses of vaccine to COVAX, and the EU and the US will abandon their tariffs on steel and aluminum.

President Joe Biden’s largest multilateral contribution took place outside the summit: it hosted an anti-China meeting after the formal process on the topic supply chain resilience. He called on participants to “diversify” their supply chains, and announced an indefinite amount of funds to help “US partners, as well as the United States, reduce congestion in ports.”

While France deliberately did not show up at Biden’s event – it was still politically recalling its shattered deal to supply Australia with submarines – Bidna’s real problem this weekend is that it has not regulated its own political supply chain.

At home in Washington, D.C. Congress’s failure to agree on legislative and financial building blocks to meet Biden’s climate goals has undermined it more than any competing government.

Instead, it was the unelected individuals who set the agenda, leaving the U.S. and other Democratic leaders in political dust.

Ahead of the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin dominated media coverage by refusing to attend in person.

Beijing’s unwillingness to announce any major new climate commitment that has come to the forefront of the congressional stalemate in Washington has left summit visitors and activists in a bad mood.

When national leaders landed in Rome, it was the first port of many for the Vatican, where Pope Francis used these meetings to demonstrate them with calls for bold action on climate and Covid.

His messages to Biden, according to a senior administration official, are intended to “accelerate” America’s climate ambition and strengthen rich countries’ commitment to providing $ 100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries.

The Pope’s theft of scenes continued on Saturday: his sharp gift to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who widely accused of promoting Hindu nationalism – was a discussion of the “human brotherhood” he co-authored with the great Imam Al-Azhar.

On Sunday, Pope Francis, with his weekly prayer at St. Peter “prayed to hear the cries of the earth and the cries of the people,” while also expanding into e-book authorship. The Pope is preparing his encyclical Laudato si ‘ Reader. The Alliance cares for our common home “ available for free: it actually offers it as a competing version of the G-20 summit message.

Many other unelected personalities were left with politically hard work, including First Lady Jill Biden, who sat next to French President Emmanuel Macron at Saturday’s gala dinner at the summit. Her efforts did not convince him to join President Biden’s meeting on supply chain resilience on Sunday night: the French RSVP remained highlighted »no. ”

Journalists were among the losers at the summit, and national leaders largely avoided media scrutiny and – despite endless talk of a global common resource and doing more to support the less fortunate in the world – again hid in an isolated resort.

Australian journalists have been loudly complaining about the trip around the world just to get no updates on where and plans their Prime Minister Scott Morrison is. Elysee palace officials committed a similar act of disappearance on Saturday: “As if they had given up,” one French journalist said.

When the leaders were confronted with questions from the traveling press corps, this was strictly controlled. Journalists had to gather two hours ahead of time if they wanted to capture Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. President Biden waited so long to talk to reporters, most of them leaving the summit when he started speaking, left him in front of a mostly empty room.

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland she hurried out of the room after only 20 minutes of stupid answers to questions from Canadian journalists only. (Her staff said POLITICO reporters in the room were not Canadians and therefore not qualified to ask the question.)

European royal families were happy to plunge into the communication vacuum left by governments, carrying out a marked reversal of the political role.

Queen Maximus The Netherlands – the wife of the Queen of the Netherlands, who is also the United Nations Special Advocate for Inclusive Financing for Development – was the star of Saturday’s summit.

One minute she was deepened in conversation and punched with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the next minute she had lunch with World Trade Organization chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and International Monetary Fund chief executive Kristalina Georgieva. If it wasn’t for a photo shoot with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, she attracted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to commitments to financial inclusion or hosted a formal summit with Draghi to support women-owned businesses.

Britain’s Prince Charles finally received the biggest royal blow when he addressed the assembled leaders on Sunday morning over their weak climate promises.

While Draghi, as the host of the summit, expressed satisfaction that the leaders agreed to “maintain 1.5 degrees [Celsius] with reach ”(as a limit to global warming) and optimistically argued that they agreed to“ leave coal behind ”, Prince Charles had none of that.

Speaking of the “enormous responsibility to unborn generations,” the prince said it was in the G-20 to “illuminate not only how far we have come” – as national political leaders usually do – but also “how far we have to go. to come. ”

He told leaders that “listening is often more important than speaking,” while impressing with stories of all the people he listened to in climate-vulnerable countries, adding that “it’s impossible not to hear the desperate voices of young people.”

The other effect of Prince Charles was to steal part of President Biden’s thunder. With five decades of top-notch political experience, Biden is accustomed to being the most experienced leader in the room, but the Prince of Wales can match him in the field.

He used that experience to send a warning to Washington, which has yet to discover its first half-trillion dollars in climate finance: “We will need trillions of dollars of investment each year to provide the necessary infrastructure. to reach the 1.5 degree target, ”Prince Charles said.

In the end, the prince said he believes private sector leaders will get the job done: “They want to make a difference with the type of investment only they can provide” and “they have the ultimate key to the solutions we are looking for,” he said. His last desperate call to politicians: just offer guarantees and legislative signals to help unlock this private investment.

Fourteen years after the G-20 summit’s attempt to expand global governance through the G-7 while maintaining a forum that is more manageable than the 193-member United Nations, serious questions arise as to whether it can bring more than the current set of milk bread obligations.

John Kirton, who leads the world’s leading G-20 research group at the University of Toronto, told POLITICA that the G-20 has achieved “an invisibly high, at least 84 percent” fulfillment of its commitments this year.

If this is true, it has still failed to prevent 7,500 people from dying every day, mostly due to preventable Covid deaths; has not helped reduce global carbon emissions; and overlooks the fact that it was the OECD, not the G-20, that intervened in tax reform, which is the main achievement of this summit.

In the closed halls of the summit – a structure known as the Cloud – Draghi praised a relatively small group of protesters, numbering in the thousands and demonstrating peacefully around Rome on Saturday, “to push us and keep us at work.”

Activists did not respond to the compliment.

Jennifer Morgan, CEO of Greenpeace International, returned the leaders to Earth and said in an email that the G-20 leaders “simply failed to meet the moment.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted he left Rome and said it was a “reasonable G-20, but it wasn’t enough.”

While Biden insisted that “tangible progress” had been made in Rome – the success of the COP26 climate summit would require a more radical consensus, not to mention the president’s highly praised (virtual) democracy summit in December.

Perhaps the world needs something more like a “cathartic influence,” Biden told reporters that Pope Francis had on him personally.

As Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday, “we have a lot of work to do.”

Hannah Roberts contributed to this report.

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