Dear President Snower
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a pleasure for me to take part in this year’s Global Solutions Summit.
This event takes place at a time of profound change in global relations.
The past few years saw a pause in the process of globalization.
In many countries, citizens embraced sovereignism and nativism as the answer to their political and economic anxieties.
The Covid-19 pandemic hit an increasingly divided world.
As governments struggled with their own lack of preparedness, the temptation was to blame others and turn inward for protection.
However, multilateralism is bouncing back.
The health crisis has taught us that it is impossible to address global problems with domestic solutions.
The same applies to the other defining challenges of our times: climate change and global inequalities.
As this year’s Presidency of the G20, Italy is determined to lead a change in paradigm.
The world needs the world – not a collection of individual states.
Our collective priority is, of course, to bring the pandemic to an end.
This means everywhere and not just in the rich world.
There is a moral imperative to ensure that the poorest countries have access to effective vaccines.
But there is also a practical and – if you want – self-serving reason.
So long as the pandemic rages on, the virus can undergo dangerous mutations that can undermine even the most successful vaccination campaign.
The Global Health Summit in Rome last week offered a set of very concrete responses to this crisis.
The generous pledges from individual countries and – I want to underline it – from pharmaceutical companies, therefore from the private sector, ensure that we speed up the global vaccination campaign.
The EU initiative aimed at building vaccine manufacturing capacity in low- and middle-income countries helps Africa deal with many diseases, not just Covid-19.
And the Rome Declaration presents a very useful set of principles to make sure that the global community is better prepared to tackle the next pandemic.
The battle against the virus cannot distract our attention from the fight against climate change.
Polar ice sheets are melting and the sea level is rising.
The number of reported weather-related natural disasters has more than trebled since the 1960s, and these events are bound to intensify in the coming decades.
In low- and middle-income countries, natural disasters cost a staggering $390 billion a year.
The World Health Organization projects that between 2030 and 2050 climate change will cause 250,000 deaths per year.
Italy is co-chair of COP26 in partnership with the United Kingdom.
We have two clear aims.
The first is to commit to emission reduction targets that are ambitious enough to limit global warming below 1.5 degrees and to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The second is to moderate potential damages associated with climate change.
We need to strengthen our mitigation measures, for example accelerating the phasing out of coal.
And we need to ensure that more public and private capital flows to climate-related initiatives.
In Europe, the Next Generation EU programme offers a unique opportunity to embrace the environmental transition.
But we need to do more at the global level, for example through the G20 “Sustainable Finance Working Group”.
Finally, we must take decisive action to tackle global inequalities.
The health and climate crises risk worsening the existing disparities.
The pandemic has contributed to pushing at least 88 million people into extreme poverty in 2020.
Climate change could push a further 132 million people over the next 10 years, according to the World Bank.
These effects are skewed against younger workers and women.
The International Monetary Fund notes that the pandemic shock has hit the youth harder.
Women in emerging markets have seen a higher rise in unemployment and a larger drop in participation than men.
Italy is endorsing a four-point plan to address the plight of low-income economies.
We support initiatives to reduce the debt burdens for the world’s poorest countries.
We want the International Monetary Fund to issue new Special Drawing Rights and relocate existing ones to help countries in need.
We back the early replenishment of the International Development Association.
And we encourage Multilateral Development Banks to enhance their net financing initiatives.
Moreover, we want to take specific action on the issue of food security, for example during the joint session between Foreign Affairs and Development Ministers at the G20 summit in June in Matera.
Throughout history, Italy has thrived thanks to trade and international cooperation.
Openness has been our best recipe for success.
Our G20 presidency will reflect this long-standing commitment.
Together with Germany and the other G20 partners – we are confident we can build a stronger world.