Multilateralism June 2021- May 2022

Written by  //  May 24, 2022  //  Global economy, Multilateralism  //  Comments Off on Multilateralism June 2021- May 2022

Multilateralism 2018-June 2021
The Bretton Woods Project is a UK-based NGO
that challenges the World Bank and IMF

Multilateral Cooperation for Global Recovery
Emmanuel Macron , Angela Merkel, Macky Sall, António Guterres, Charles Michel, Ursula von der Leyen
We should not be afraid of a post-pandemic world that will not be the same as the status quo ante. We should embrace it and use all appropriate fora and available opportunities to make it a better world by advancing the cause of international cooperation. (Project Syndicate 3 February 2021)

24 May
Japan hosts Quad summit seeking united front on dealing with China
(France24) Leaders of Japan, India, Australia and the United States met in Tokyo on Tuesday, looking to put China on notice as it expands its military and economic influence in the region.
“This is about democracies versus autocracies, and we have to make sure we deliver,” Biden said as the Quad summit began.
There is growing regional discomfort with Chinese military activity including sorties, naval exercises and encroachments by fishing vessels that are viewed as probing regional defences and red lines.
Adding to concerns are China’s efforts to build ties with Pacific nations including the Solomon Islands, which sealed a wide-ranging security pact with Beijing last month.
Biden, Kishida, Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be looking to present a united front, but there are divisions behind the scenes.
India is the only Quad member that has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Biden has repeatedly described a strong response to Moscow as a deterrent to other nations considering unilateral military action — like China.

21 May
U.S., Canada and other APEC delegates walk out on Russian speaker
New Zealand trade minister’s office says it was to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Delegates from the United States, Canada and three other nations staged a walkout on Saturday when a representative from Russia began his opening remarks at a meeting of trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group in the Thai capital, officials said.

19 May
Political scientist Ian Bremmer on the world’s ability to address major global crises
(PBS Newshour) With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the pandemic, the climate crisis, and extreme political polarization, the dangers the world is facing right now are stark, and how we respond is critical. [Ian Bremmer] explores the most pressing issues and solutions in his new book, “The Power of Crisis: How Three Threats – and Our Response – Will Change the World.”
What’s basically been happening is both the United States and other advanced industrial democracies around the world, we have seen the populism, we have seen the unwillingness to be the global policemen, the unwillingness to lead on global trade, the incapacity to be the world’s leading democracy, make the world safe for it.
And, as that happens, you see a breakdown in institutions, you see increasingly the growth of crises.
… the purpose of this book, “The Power of Crisis,” is that the status quo isn’t going to get you there. But, as these crises emerge — and we’re in a target-rich environment for crises right now, as you know. It’s not just the Russian invasion. It’s climate change. It’s the pandemic. There’s plenty of them.
That’s what’s going to lead to a step function, to force countries to respond with new institutions, strengthened leadership. It’s the only way you get it done in this environment.

8 May
G7 leaders impose new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine war
Group of Seven leaders have committed to phasing out dependency on Russian energy, including by banning imports of Russian oil.
(Al Jazeera) The Group of Seven leaders have committed to phasing out dependency on Russian energy as they announced fresh sanctions as part of an “unprecedented” package of coordinated sanctions to reinforce Russia’s economic isolation over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The G7 has escalated a campaign against Russian elites who support President Vladimir Putin, whom the group accused of bringing “shame” on Russia’s historic sacrifice against Nazi Germany in World War II.
… “We will continue and elevate our campaign against the financial elites and family members, who support President Putin in his war effort and squander the resources of the Russian people,” the joint statement said.
(CBC) In a communiqué issued after the talks, the leaders condemned Russia — which was kicked out of the group in 2014 — and promised “full solidarity and support for Ukraine’s courageous defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The G7 leaders began their statement by marking Victory in Europe Day, the anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War, a day that is celebrated on May 9 in Russia and Ukraine.
Putin’s actions in Ukraine bring shame on Russia, says G7
Statement to mark 77th anniversary of end of second world war condemns ‘an attack on feeding the world’
The G7 statement said: “Through its invasion of and actions in Ukraine since 2014, Russia has violated the international rules-based order, particularly the UN charter, conceived after the second world war to spare successive generations from the scourge of war.
“President Putin and his regime now chose to invade Ukraine in an unprovoked war of aggression against a sovereign country. His actions bring shame on Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people.”
The leaders also accused him of “an attack on feeding the world” if he did not comply with international law and end the blockade on Ukrainian food exports.

24 April
With Us or With Them? In a New Cold War, How About Neither
Hannah Beech, Abdi Latif Dahir and Oscar Lopez
(NYT) The geopolitical landscape following the Ukraine invasion has often been likened to that of a new Cold War. While the main antagonists may be the same — the United States, Russia and, increasingly, China — the roles played by much of the rest of the world have changed, reshaping a global order that held for more than three-quarters of a century.
Governments representing more than half of humanity have refused to take a side, avoiding the binary accounting of us-versus-them that characterized most of the post-World War II era. In a United Nations General Assembly vote this month to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, dozens of countries abstained, including Thailand, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Singapore. (The resolution succeeded anyway.)
Once proxy battlegrounds for superpowers, swaths of Africa, Asia and Latin America are staking their independence. The return of a bloc of nonaligned nations harks back to a period in which leaders of the post-colonial movement resisted having their destinies shaped by imperialism. It also points to the confidence of smaller countries, no longer dependent on a single ideological or economic patron, to go their own way. …
Russia cannot count on automatic allegiance from its historical allies, either. Apart from a sense of autocratic camaraderie, ideology is no longer part of Moscow’s allure. Russia has neither the patronage cash nor the geopolitical clout of the Soviet Union.
Venezuela, Russia’s staunchest supporter in Latin America, received a high-level American delegation on the heels of the Ukraine invasion. Nicaragua, which became one of the first countries to back Russia’s recognition of separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, has since tempered its enthusiasm.
During a March U.N. vote condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Cuba abstained, rather than backing Moscow, although it and Nicaragua later rejected the effort to kick Russia off the Human Rights Council.

23 April
Ukraine war a reminder to Asia to move past its old rivalries and insecurities
C. Uday Bhaskar
(SCMP) The near future for Asia will be one of overcoming many global challenges which threaten to sink all boats. The current Covid-19 constraints and global warming are the tip of the iceberg. The political orientation of Asia’s major nation-states is also unlikely to undergo radical change.
Old rivalries and insecurities cannot be totally erased from the collective consciousness but as American writer Susan Sontag sagely observed: “Too much remembering embitters. To make peace is to forget. To reconcile, it is necessary that memory be faulty and limited.”
Whatever the provocations and pent-up insecurities, Asia must resolve not to go down the Ukraine path or threaten to break the nuclear taboo. Can the BRICS summit, involving Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and hosted by Beijing in June, be the forum for such a commitment?

2022 IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings conclude
The 2022 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank conclude today.
The economic consortium addressed the issues of worsening global debt crisis—arising from unequal post-pandemic recovery—and worldwide economic turmoil surrounding the conflict in Ukraine.

21 April
World Bank warns of ‘human catastrophe’ food crisis
The world faces a “human catastrophe” from a food crisis arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, World Bank president David Malpass has said.

20 April
Western leaders join Ukraine in walk-out at G-20 as Russia speaks
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen and Fed Chair Jerome Powell participated in the dramatic display of international discord.
(WaPo) At least a half-dozen world leaders, including officials with the U.S. and Ukrainian governments, walked out of a Group of 20 meeting in Washington on Wednesday when Russian officials began to speak.
The dramatic departures reflected the turmoil facing world leaders over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While a number of nations joined the walkout, several other members of the G-20 — including China and India — did not. The fissures put on full display the growing global divide over whether and how to ostracize Russia from the international community over the war.
Freeland joins finance leaders in G20 walkout over Russian invasion of Ukraine

15 April
Going Nordic: What NATO membership would mean for Finland and Sweden
(Atlantic Council) Q&A with Leo Michel, a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center’s Transatlantic Security Initiative and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, who previously served as director of NATO policy at the Pentagon.
What would the process of Finland and Sweden joining NATO actually look like, and how soon could it happen?
Based on past practice, the process would look like this: The governments would formally inform NATO of their desire to join the Alliance, after which the North Atlantic Council (NAC) would need to decide, by consensus, to authorize the NATO secretary general to officially extend an invitation for accession talks. Then, Finnish and Swedish representatives would meet with teams of NATO experts to establish that their country meets the political, legal, and military obligations of NATO membership. After these talks, the aspirants’ foreign ministers would confirm their acceptance of the obligations and commitments in a “letter of intent” to the secretary general. The NAC would formulate (and later approve) a protocol of accession based on consultations with the aspirant—which must then be ratified by each of the thirty allies. …
For the three countries that joined in 1999, this process took about twenty months, and for the seven countries who joined in 2004, about eighteen months. For Finland and Sweden, the accession negotiations presumably would be expedited, but the time required to obtain thirty ratifications from the existing allies is the larger unknown.

11-12 April
Economic and financial multilateralism in disarray
By Amin Mohseni-Cheraghlou
As the two largest and oldest multilateral economic and finance institutions, the World Bank and IMF play important roles in making multilateralism more orderly and efficient.
(Atlantic Council) The events leading to WWII, and subsequent destruction, facilitated the establishment of the Bretton Woods system consisting of two organizations: the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.
… Less than two decades after their establishment, other regional and global Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and Multilateral Financial Institutions (MFIs) started emerging in the global political economy landscape. For example, the Inter-American Development Bank was established in 1959, with a focus on economic development and offsetting the spread of communism in Latin America. The African Development Bank was established in 1964, followed by Asian Development Bank in 1966. As of 2022, there are more than forty regional and global MDBs and MFIs —some more important and active than others— with a complex web of overlapping objectives and memberships
Inequality at the top: Democratic challenges at Bretton Woods Institutions
By Amin Mohseni-Cheraghlou
(Atlantic Council) In 1950, the Group of Seven (G-7), alongside Australia and eleven other major European economies United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, accounted for around 80% of the global GDP and 60% of global trade. By 2019, their share of GDP was down to about 39%, and their share of trade declined to around 48%. Similar trends were also visible for capital stock — declining from 87% to 39% — and population — declining from 47% to 12% — between 1950 and 2019. In other words, the share of emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) in global output, trade, capital stock, and population has risen over the past seven decades, especially so in the past three decades. China, Japan, India, Brazil, South Korea, and a few South-East Asian economies primarily drove these shifts in the global economy.
“Inequality starts at the top”: Voting reforms in Bretton Woods Institutions
…these Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) are facing criticism regarding the way they govern and operate. Chief among these criticisms is members’ unequal voice and representation in the leadership and decision-making structure in institutions which still resemble the global economy and power dynamics of 1945, when the institutions were established.

6 April
Finland May Finally Want In on NATO
Sweden is not far behind.
(Foreign Policy) If Finland were to join the alliance, the total land border between NATO territory and Russia would more than double, from around 754 miles currently to nearly 1,600 miles. It would also extend NATO’s northern flank across the full length of the border with Russia’s strategically important Murmansk region and Kola Peninsula, where a sizable chunk of Russia’s navy is based.

1 April
G20 Bali 2022: why excluding Russia is not the best course of action
Erza Killian, Senior Lecturer in International Relations & Aswin Ariyanto Azis, Head of department of Politics, Government, and International Relations of Universitas Brawijaya,
(The Conversation) Russia doesn’t seem to be bothered about violating international law.
Violating international law typically leads to two types of sanctions: direct sanctions (such as economic sanctions) and reputational sanctions (targeting the reputation of the offender).
Exclusion from the G20 would mostly be a reputational sanction for Russia, not a direct sanction, as the country has been mostly cut off from the global economy anyway.
Any exclusion from the G20 would only function to further deteriorate Russia’s already tarnished global reputation, and will only have limited economic impact. While direct and reputational sanctions may be useful to deter potential offenders, they are less useful for punishing repeat offenders, particularly if they have proven to be ineffective in the past.
In a way, the G20 forum can function as Russia’s way out to avoid prolonging the war, without losing face.

31 March
Trudeau calls on G20 to reconsider Russia’s seat at the table
China opposes calls to remove Russia from group of world’s largest economies

25 March
President Biden wants to kick Russia out of the G20. Here’s why that’s unlikely to happen
Now, once again, the G20 members are divided over the issue of whether Putin should be allowed to attend, or whether Ukraine should be invited too, as Biden has suggested. Putin’s presence would be “highly problematic” for European members, one EU source told Reuters. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison called sitting with Putin in Bali “a step too far”, and said he had talked directly with Indonesian president Joko Widodo on the subject.
On Tuesday, Poland said that it asked the U.S. to consider ejecting Russia from the G20—and allow Warsaw to claim Moscow’s seat. But it’s unlikely the G20 will eject Russia from the organization, given that any decision on membership would likely need to be reached by all the members.

24 March
China to host 14th BRICS Summit with focus on ‘new era of global development’
China is poised to host the 14th annual summit of the BRICS group of emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa later this year with an emphasis on fostering high-quality partnership among the group members with a vision of ushering in a new era of global development, Beijing announced Wednesday.
The last two BRICS Summits were hosted online through video conference by Russia and India respectively due to the pandemic. It is not yet confirmed if the summit this year will follow the same format or will be held in person.
Announcing the theme for the summit as ‘Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development,’ the Chinese Foreign Ministry said public health and vaccine cooperation have been identified as among the key areas of BRICS cooperation this year, as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

G-7 leaders pledge action to address food shortages caused by war
“We will make coherent use of all instruments and funding mechanisms to address food security, and build resilience in the agriculture sector in line with climate and environment goals,” leaders of the G-7 group said.
(Politico) President Joe Biden and other leaders of the world’s major industrialized democracies pledged action on Thursday to address food shortages caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine, a top concern for Middle Eastern and African nations that depend on supplies from both countries.
“We will make coherent use of all instruments and funding mechanisms to address food security, and build resilience in the agriculture sector in line with climate and environment goals,” leaders of the G-7 group said in a statement after meeting in Brussels. “We will address potential agricultural production and trade disruptions, in particular in vulnerable countries.”
Western allies gather a month after Russian invasion of Ukraine began
Ukrainian president presses NATO for more support as alliance meets in Brussels
(CBC) The answer — at least publicly — was muted. NATO committed to sending protective equipment for chemical, biological and nuclear hazards. It also promised training for Ukrainians in how to handle it.

16 March
Soul searching at the U.N. and NATO
(Politico Ottawa Playbook) What’s been challenging for U.N. members to agree on right now is deciding whether or not to be powerless with the crisis in Ukraine, said Canadian U.N. Ambassador Bob Rae, “Just as it’s challenging for members of NATO to agree on what its further steps will be — other than just repeating mantras about not attacking NATO.”
Rae chatted with Playbook about the complexities, and complications, of diplomacy during war. He said his recommendation to Ottawa from the very beginning has been don’t let VLADIMIR PUTIN win.
“Whatever you do, make sure that Putin doesn’t succeed because that’s the last straw as far as I think a lot of people are concerned,” Rae said. (Scroll down to Playbook’s Q&A with Rae under “Hallway Conversations.”)

16 February
Editor’s Note: Edited by Brahima S. Coulibaly and Kemal Derviş, this collection of essays builds upon a 2021 global “experts” survey on multilateralism. While not an exhaustive list, the topics addressed here comprise some of the most pressing issues for international cooperation in the years ahead, as identified by both the survey respondents and the essay authors. The editors’ overview follows here.
(Brookings) There is no general agreement on what shape the “world order” will take in the years and decades ahead. What is certain, however, is that humanity will have to deal with huge and in many ways unprecedented transformations and challenges, such as the digitalization of economies and societies, climate change and mitigation, pandemic preparedness, extreme income and wealth concentration,[1] and new types of “weapons” associated with dual-use technologies.
There are great opportunities for improved well-being associated with many of these challenges. … However, failure to adequately address some of these challenges, notably climate change, could lead to immense economic and social damage; it could add to the existing pressures caused by mass migration resulting from the imbalance between geographic concentrations of populations and economic opportunities. Furthermore, digitalization could exacerbate inequalities and lead to mass surveillance of societies led by autocrats.
Essays on a 21st century multilateralism that works for all


12 December
G7 leaders warn Russia all sanctions on table over Ukraine border buildup
Foreign ministers of the G7 group of rich democracies have warned Russia of “massive consequences” if it invades Ukraine and urged it to de-escalate its military buildup on its border.
(The Guardian) A communiqué from the meeting in Liverpool said the group reaffirmed its “unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future” and praised what it called Ukraine’s “restraint” as tensions grew.

24 November
AUKUS’ Reception in the Indo-Pacific
Shihoko Goto, Manjari Chatterjee Miller, and Susannah Patton discuss the implications of AUKUS for countries in the region.
AUKUS adds to growing array of minilateral arrangements in Asia today and has drawn a variety of reactions from across the region, ranging from wary to enthusiastic. What are the regional sensitivities around AUKUS? What does AUKUS mean for Australia’s broader regional role? How will AUKUS contribute to regional debates on a security architecture? In this webinar, recorded on November 17, 2021 three experts from the region discuss these and other questions.

22 November
How International Institutions Die
Ana Palacio
While the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted international institutions’ shortcomings, it also made plain, yet again, that the biggest challenges today are global in nature. In this context, defending multilateral institutions is not a display of “nostalgia,” but an act of realism.
(Project Syndicate) The multilateral system passed the stress tests of Trump’s attacks – but just barely. Moreover, Trump’s departure from the White House did not bring the reprieve, let alone revival, for which some hoped. Instead, according to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, global trust in institutions has continued to decline.
…traditional governance frameworks have indeed fallen short. For example, as Mark Leonard of the European Council on Foreign Relations , UN Climate Change Conferences have “failed to produce a model of global governance that can tame power politics, let alone forge a sense of shared destiny among countries.” The just-concluded COP26 in Glasgow lent further support to this conclusion. But while post-WWII international institutions are far from perfect, their collective record suggests that they remain the world’s best hope for coping with the complex challenges ahead. As Harvard University’s Joseph S. Nye recently , established institutions entrench “valuable patterns of behavior,” as they underpin a “regime of rules, norms, networks, and expectations that create social roles, which entail moral obligations”.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted international institutions’ shortcomings, it has also made plain, yet again, that the biggest challenges today are global in nature. In this context, defending multilateral institutions is hardly a display of “nostalgia.” Rather, it is an act of realism. Few would benefit from the unraveling of the existing order. The question is whether public trust can be restored before it is too late.

15 November
How Building a Multilateral System Fairer for All Could Revive American Leadership
(Policy November/December) What Western allies have described as the systemic challenges posed by China’s rise represent the most serious disturbance to the postwar international order since the Cold War. America’s efforts to address those challenges have met resistance from within its own borders, including from the most un-democratic president in history, Donald Trump. Longtime senior Canadian diplomat Jeremy Kinsman reflects on how the United States can, under Joe Biden, recalibrate its international role.

3 November
C. Uday Bhaskar: With China and the US, Asean is still between a rock and a hard place
After excluding Myanmar from its latest summit, Asean announced a strategic partnership with China and a similar deal with Australia, the US’ security partner
Clearly, the bloc continues to walk a tightrope amid increased regional tensions
(SCMP) … At the Asean-US summit, Biden said: “Our partnership is essential in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific, which has been the foundation of our shared security and prosperity for many decades. And the United States strongly supports the Asean Outlook and the Indo-Pacific – on the Indo-Pacific and the rules-based regional order.”
This “free and open Indo-Pacific” has become a byword for the extended community led by the US and like-minded nations, but it is also a formulation being challenged by China. At the same time, four of Asean’s member states are in dispute with China over the South China Sea, and this regional discord could have global ramifications. As it is, the different statements released by the US and Asean only point to the intractable nature of the problem, and Asean’s contradictory approach.

Uniting the world to tackle climate change.
The UK hosts the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow 31 October – 12 November 2021.

30-31 October
The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), which began on Sunday, needs to secure more ambitious pledges to further cut emissions, lock in billions in climate finance, and finish the rules to implement the Paris Agreement with the unanimous consent of the nearly 200 countries that signed it.
Evidence of climate change is now indisputable — but the Group of 20 summit showed the world is still far from united on what to do about it.
(Bloomberg) Divisions between rich and poor states were on display during two days of negotiations that concluded in Rome today. While the leaders’ final statement sought to present a common front for the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow starting tomorrow, that came at the price of weak commitments on issues ranging from phasing out coal to targets for net-zero carbon emissions.
“We have different views over how soon we must start to act and how fast we must change course,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the summit’s host, told fellow leaders. “Emerging economies resent how much rich countries have polluted in the past.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the Group of Seven industrialized nations of trying to bounce everyone else into adopting 2050 as a net-zero deadline. “It is not very polite to use this negotiating process the way the G-7 tried to,” he said.
None of this bodes well for a breakthrough at COP26, which already faces challenges from the absence of leaders of key emitters including China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, both of whom opted to stay at home and dialed in to the G-20.
G20 leaders endorse tax deal, pledge more vaccines for the poor
G20 leaders meet face-to-face after COVID-19 pandemic
Chinese, Russian presidents take part via video link
Historic minimum tax accord for big business endorsed
Leaders struggle to make ground on climate change
Biden, other G-20 world leaders formally endorse groundbreaking global corporate minimum tax
The new global minimum tax of 15 percent aims to reverse the decades-long decline in tax rates on corporations across the world
The plan was already endorsed by the finance ministers of each country, but its official approval by the heads of state puts added pressure on the difficult task of turning what remains an aspirational agreement into distinct legislation.
Nearly 140 countries representing more than 90 percent of total global economic output have endorsed the deal, but they each must implement the new standards in a process that could take some time.
Missing in action at G-20: global leadership
What’s a back-slapping president to do when the most important backs are missing from the room?
President Joe Biden arrived in Rome on Friday for a G-20 summit lacking a congressional climate mandate, and denied the chance to meet in-person with global rivals, such as China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Over the next two days, Biden must attempt to steer G-20 governments out of the Covid-19 pandemic and toward strong climate action, while helping to untangle global supply chains. His biggest barrier: unwieldy summit plenary sessions serving up a mix of in-person and video speeches.

Rome Summit
The G20 Heads of State and Government Summit will be held in Rome on October 30th and 31st 2021 , with the participation of the G20 Heads of State and Government, of their counterparts from invited countries, and of the representatives of some of the main international and regional organizations.
The Ministers of Economy and Finance traditionally also take part in the event. The Summit is the climax of the G20 process and the final stage, at Leaders’ level, of the intense work carried out within Ministerial Meetings, Working Groups and Engagement Groups throughout the year.

Primer: The G20 Rome Meeting: October 30-31, 2021
With Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi in the chair, most leaders from the G20 will meet in Rome’s convention centre, ‘La Nuvola’, on Saturday and Sunday, October 30-31 to chart a path around the themes People, Planet, Prosperity designed to take the world “beyond the crisis” caused by the ongoing pandemic.  The G20 international forum represents 80 per cent of global economic output,  75 percent of global trade, and 60 percent of the world’s population. It has met since 1999 and since 2008 at the leaders’ level. Their annual summit is the climax of the annual G20 process involving ongoing ministerial meetingsworking groups and engagement groups.

28 October
The Rome G20: Multilateral Stress Test or Last Call at the Star Wars Cantina?
Colin Robertson
This weekend’s G20 summit in Rome is important on a number of counts: as part of the international community’s ongoing pandemic and economic recovery response; in setting the tone for the COP26 Glasgow climate summit that immediately follows it; as well as for the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial in Geneva at the end of November. More important, Rome is a stress test of multilateralism. Amid levels of geopolitical tension not seen in half a century, can diverse nations act on behalf of the common good?
It does not help that key players including China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Japan’s Fumio Kishida and Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will not be there.
Nor that the extraordinary G20 summit on Afghanistan earlier this month failed to meet expectations. It could not even come up with a communiqué. Instead, thechair’s summary said safe passage should be given to those Afghans who wished to leave the country, that future humanitarian programs should focus on women and girls and the Taliban should contain militant groups operating out of the country. Neither Xi nor Putin dialed into the call.
Rome is about getting straight answers to two key questions.
On COVID, how soon will the world be sufficiently vaccinated? Vaccine production has increased but distribution remains a problem, especially in Africa. Will we learn the lessons from COVID to be prepared for the next pandemic?
In terms of economic recovery, can the G20 nations nurture and support economic growth while avoiding inflationary pressures? Can the developing nations cope with debt and the social pressures created by COVID? Importantly, will the rich help the poor?
With the Glasgow climate summit just days away, Rome will also give a sense of the answer to a third question. Will leaders make the required national commitments and will developed nations come up with the funding to mitigate climate change for developing nations?

The International Order Isn’t Ready for the Climate Crisis
The Case for a New Planetary Politics
By Stewart M. Patrick, James H. Binger Senior Fellow in Global Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations.
November/December 2021
It is time to take bold steps to overcome the disconnect between an international system divided into 195 independent countries, each operating according to its own imperatives, and a global calamity that cannot be resolved in a piecemeal fashion. It is time to govern the world as if the earth mattered. What the world needs is a paradigm shift in U.S. foreign policy and international relations—a shift that is rooted in ecological realism and that moves cooperation on shared environmental threats to center stage. Call this new worldview “planetary politics.” All governments, starting with Washington, must designate the survival of the biosphere as a core national interest and a central objective of national and international security—and organize and invest accordingly.
(Foreign Affairs) The planet is in the throes of an environmental emergency. Humanity’s continued addiction to fossil fuels and its voracious appetite for natural resources have led to runaway climate change, degraded vital ecosystems, and ushered in the slow death of the world’s oceans. Earth’s biosphere is breaking down. Our depredation of the planet has jeopardized our own survival.
Given these risks, it is shocking that the multilateral system has failed to respond more forcefully and has instead merely tinkered at the margins. Although the United States and the European Union have adopted measures to slow the pace of global warming—by setting more aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets, for example—nothing guarantees that they will adhere to those pledges, and such steps do little to encourage decarbonization in China, India, and other major emitters. These efforts also fail to address other facets of the looming catastrophe, not least collapsing biodiversity.

Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund Monday, October 11, through Sunday, October 17 (See more on Global economy)

Annual Meetings Wrap-up: despite urgent climate and development needs, geopolitics and deference to private finance rule the day

  • Doing Business scandal once again highlights that geopolitical wrangling is key driving force behind Bretton Woods Institutions’ (BWIs) governance structure and policy prescriptions
  • Support for ‘Wall Street Climate Consensus’ at World Bank deepens
  • BWIs silent on need for TRIPS waiver for Covid-19 vaccines, amidst warnings that unequal recovery from pandemic set to worsen
  • US supports ‘health and climate conditionality’ in proposed IMF Resilience and Sustainability Trust

IMFC communiqué analysis – Annual Meetings 2021
(Bretton Woods Project) The IMFC communiqué began by highlighting a central, and unsurprising, theme of this year’s Annual Meetings: that discrepancies in paths of economic recovery between countries were related to vaccination rates and resourcing available for the Covid-19 response.
While the IMFC underscored its commitment to “help advance toward the global goals of vaccinating at least 40 percent of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by mid-2022”, it was silent on the issue of the intellectual property rights waiver for Covid-19 vaccines, as requested by over 100 countries at the World Trade Organisation and as demanded by the People’s Vaccine alliance.
Legitimacy crisis? What legitimacy crisis?
While much ink had been spilled on the fate of the IMF’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, and indeed the legitimacy of the Fund and Bank in light of the Doing Business Report scandal prior to Annual Meetings (see Observer Autumn 2021)…the Committee made only brief mention of the issue, welcoming “the Statement by the IMF Executive Board on Its Review on the Investigation of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 Report”.
Inflation, debt, and constrained fiscal space: The storm intensifies
Describing the policy environment as “complex”, the IMFC emphasised the need to “carefully calibrate our domestic policies” amid increasing discussions of inflationary pressures in high-income countries and the potential significant impact of a rise in interest rates in the US and Europe on the debt profile of middle and low-income countries.

12 October
G20 pledges help for Afghan humanitarian crisis at special summit
(Reuters) – The Group of 20 major economies is determined to tackle the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, even if it means having to coordinate efforts with the Taliban, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Tuesday after hosting an emergency summit.
“This was the first multilateral response to the Afghan crisis … multilateralism is coming back, with difficulty, but it is coming back,” Draghi said.
There was unanimous agreement among the participants about the need to alleviate the crisis in Afghanistan, where banks are running out of money, civil servants have not been paid and food prices have soared, leaving millions at risk of severe hunger.
Much of the aid effort will be channelled through the United Nations, but there will also be direct country-to-country assistance, despite a refusal by most states to officially recognise the hardline Taliban government.

8 October
Global Deal to End Tax Havens Moves Ahead as Nations Back 15% Rate
The agreement is the culmination of years of fraught negotiations that were revived this year after President Biden took office and renewed the United States’ commitment to multilateralism..

24 September
‘Quad’ leaders meet at White House as China looks warily on
(Reuters) – Leaders of the United States, Japan, India and Australia presented a united front on Friday at their first summit and stressed the need for a free and open Indo-Pacific region amid shared concerns about China.
The two-hour meeting at the White House of the Quad, as the grouping of the four major democracies is called, will be watched closely in Beijing, which criticized the group as “doomed to fail.”
While China was not mentioned in the public remarks by the four leaders, Beijing was clearly top of mind.
The Quad is expected to announce several new agreements, including one to bolster supply chain security for semiconductors and to combat illegal fishing and boost maritime domain awareness, a senior U.S. official said, referring to initiatives prompted by concerns about China. The group was also expected to roll out a 5G partnership and plans for monitoring climate change.
The Quad leaders also voiced support for small island states, especially those in the Pacific, in order to enhance their economic and environmental resilience.
Additionally, they urged North Korea to engage in diplomacy over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which Pyongyang has refused to do unless international sanctions are dropped.

23 September
Does AUKUS Augment or Diminish the Quad?
AUKUS fits into a growing network of minilaterials crisscrossing the Indo-Pacific and rooted in shared strategic interests.
(The Diplomat) The newly created trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (AUKUS) has become instantly, probably understandably, controversial across the Indo-Pacific and beyond. The planned acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines clearly adds to the heft of Australia in terms of its naval deterrent capabilities against China’s growing naval power, which has been on aggressive display for the last few years, though it will take some time for Australia to deploy those new capabilities. More importantly, it also adds to a further strengthening of other minilaterals in the Indo-Pacific including the Quad involving Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.
in reality, AUKUS is both relevant and important in the context of the Quad for a couple of reasons. The three leaders themselves, while announcing the trilateral security partnership, emphasized the importance of ongoing partnerships such as with ASEAN, the Quad, and other Indo-Pacific partners

21 September
The UN General Assembly is in session. Climate change, COVID-19 and security are set to dominate discussion during the annual gathering, which has a hybrid format after being forced almost entirely online last year. President Biden promises an end to ‘relentless war’ and start of ‘relentless diplomacy’;

22 September
Global civil society achieves significant victory as World Bank discontinues contentious Doing Business Report
(Bretton Woods Project) On 16 September, the World Bank Group announced that it will discontinue its Doing Business Report (DRB, see Observer Winter 2019). The end of the report is a significant victory for civil society, popular movements and academics who have long criticised the report on many fronts, including its methodology (see Observer Autumn 2020; Update Autumn 2013).  However, the celebration will be tempered for some by the Bank’s assertion in its announcement of the report’s discontinuation that it, “remains firmly committed to advancing the role of the private sector in development and providing support to governments to design the regulatory environment that supports this.”
China Says It Won’t Build New Coal Plants Abroad. What Does That Mean?
Beijing is the undisputed king of coal, but the announcement at the United Nations General Assembly this week was cautiously welcomed by climate experts.
(NYT) Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, said on Tuesday that his country would stop building coal-burning power plants overseas, a major shift by the world’s second-biggest economy to move away from its support of the fossil fuel.

18 September
Quad alliance countries ‘to focus on microchip supply chains’
The Quad group of countries will reportedly agree to take steps to build secure semiconductor supply chains
(SBS Australia) Leaders of the United States, Japan, India and Australia will agree to take steps to build secure semiconductor supply chains when they meet in the US next week, the Nikkei business daily says, citing a draft of the joint statement.
US President Joe Biden will host a first in-person summit of leaders of the “Quad” countries, which have sought to boost co-operation to push back against China’s growing assertiveness.
The draft says that in order to create robust supply chains, the four countries will ascertain their semiconductor supply capacities and identify vulnerability, the Nikkei said, without unveiling how it had obtained the document.

13 September
Biden to host leaders of Australia, India, Japan at White House next week
(Reuters) U.S. President Joe Biden will host a first in-person summit of leaders of the “Quad” countries – Australia, India, Japan and the United States – which have sought to boost co-operation to push back against China’s growing assertiveness.
The World Needs a Pandemic Plan B
We must prepare to deal with future health crises in a world beset by nationalism and rivalry.
By Thomas Wright
(The Atlantic) There is never a good time for a pandemic, but the coronavirus may have hit the world at the worst possible moment. In the decade before the virus, China had grown more dictatorial and assertive; populist nationalists held power in the United States, India, and Brazil; geopolitical tensions were heightened, not just between Beijing and Washington but within the West itself; and the very notion of objective truth was being called into question.
There would be no muddling through this pandemic. Global cooperation broke down almost entirely, partly because many leaders were hardly on speaking terms. The World Health Organization buckled under pressure from China and became a punching bag for the United States. The couple of bright spots were few and far between.
The pandemic is not yet over and already a number of expert reports are calling for the world to come together, reform the WHO, and prepare for the next pandemic. The past 18 months have raised an unsettling yet vital question: How do we function when we’re broken? The true lesson of 2020 is that we need a plan to deal with enormous global problems in moments of high tension.

2 September
The war in Afghanistan has shaped an entire generation in the West
Constanze Stelzenmüller
(Brookings) The withdrawal of Western forces ended with the departure of the last U.S. plane late on Monday. As allied troops evacuated more than 100,000 Afghans, armies of diplomats, humanitarian aid, and development agency staff worked feverishly in Kabul and far away in national capitals to support the evacuation effort.
Perhaps even more remarkable is the degree to which civil society got involved. In the U.S., a coalition of veterans’ organizations has rushed to help. Similar private networks have sprung into action in other countries.
Were there hitches and public hysteria, institutions, and people working at cross-purposes? All of that. The evacuation also laid bare the abject failure of the multilateralism that Europeans so pride themselves on — of the U.N., the G-7, the EU, and NATO — after U.S. President Joe Biden’s essentially unilateral decision to withdraw.
It is not just Afghanistan that has changed; it has changed us in the West, too. The U.S. defense department estimates that 832,000 American soldiers have served in Afghanistan. German experts I asked put the number at 150,000 for their country. At its peak, NATO’s stabilization mission comprised 130,000 troops from 50 countries. Add to that untold numbers of diplomats, aid workers, and journalists. More than any other conflict since the end of the Cold War, this mission has shaped the working lives and political identities of an entire generation in the West.

30 August
Why the Quad Needs to Improve Its Economic Game
Trade, investment, and supply chain security need to be high on the agenda of the four-nation grouping.
By Mukesh Aghi
(The Diplomat) Since its inception in 2007, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, better known as the “Quad,” has had a sense of nebulousness about it. But while the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked insurmountable havoc on the global economy and has taken close to 5 million lives globally, it has perhaps inadvertently galvanized the momentum around the Quad, accentuating its global presence.
In November 2020, for the first time in nearly a decade, the navies of the four Quad nations participated in a joint naval exercise. And earlier this year, the Quad received fresh impetus on two fronts. There was a high-profile delegation of foreign ministers in February, which was furthered bolstered by the virtual meeting in March of the respective heads of government: Prime Ministers Suga Yoshihide, Scott Morrison, and Narendra Modi, along with U.S. President Joe Biden. Recently in Washington, top envoys of India, Japan and Australia and Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell had a Quad ambassadorial meeting. Within his first hundred days in office, Biden has prioritized the Quad, signaling his administration’s foreign policy priorities.

24 August
G-7 leaders can’t sway Biden to delay Afghanistan withdrawal
(AP) — Sharply divided leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies clashed Tuesday over U.S. President Joe Biden’s insistence on withdrawing from Afghanistan by August 31 in the face of the Taliban takeover of the country.
In a partial show of unity, G7 leaders agreed on conditions for recognizing and dealing with a future Taliban-led Afghan government, but there was palpable disappointment Biden could not be persuaded to extend the U.S. operation at the Kabul airport to ensure that tens of thousands of Americans, Europeans, other third-country nationals and all at-risk Afghans can be evacuated.
The virtual meeting of the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. served not only as a bookend to the West’s 20-year involvement in Afghanistan that began as a response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks but also a resigned acknowledgment from European powers that the U.S. calls the shots.
Biden pours salt into wounds of relations with Europe at G7 meeting
(The Guardian) In the end it took only seven minutes for Joe Biden to pour salt into the wounds of his fractured relationship with European leaders, telling them firmly on a video call that he would not extend the 31 August deadline for US troops to stay in Kabul, as he had been asked by the French, Italians and most of all the British. The rebuff follows Biden’s earlier decision in July to insist on the August deadline previously set in 2020 by Donald Trump for the withdrawal, a decision the US president relayed to his EU colleagues as a fait accompli.
For Europe the episode has been a rude awakening, and a moment of sober reassessment. Only on 25 March Charles Michel had afforded Biden the chance to address a meeting of the European Council, the first foreign leader given the honour since Barack Obama 11 years earlier. Biden after all had said his foreign policy would only be as strong as his system of alliances, the true shield of the republic, and Europe would be at the heart of that system.
European hopes that Biden might acknowledge the damage done by his handling of the Afghan withdrawal by at least accepting the US troops may stay a day or two beyond the 31 August deadline have for the moment been dashed.
The Taliban insistence in a direct meeting on Monday with the CIA director and master of the backchannel, William Burns, that the deadline had to be honoured meant from the US perspective the risk of a military confrontation, or a terrorist suicide bombing by Islamic State, at the airport was too great.

23 August
Western leaders mull Afghanistan options as thousands crowd violent Kabul airport
Discussions among Western leaders will explore what consequences recent developments in Afghanistan may have for security and migration of the 27-nation European Union, a spokesman for the Slovenian EU presidency said on Monday.
Experts will start looking into the possible effects on migration, assistance to key neighbouring countries as well as security-related issues on Tuesday, followed by a meeting of EU ambassadors on Thursday.
G-7 grapples with Afghanistan, an afterthought not long ago
(AP) — Two months ago, the leaders of the world’s seven major industrialized democracies met at the height of summer on England’s southeast coast. It was a happy occasion: the first in-person summit of the Group of Seven nations in two years due to the coronavirus pandemic and the welcomed appearance of President Joe Biden and his “America is back” message on matters ranging from comity to COVID-19 to climate change.
The leaders put Afghanistan as number 57 out of 70 points in their final 25-page communique -– behind Ukraine, Belarus and Ethiopia. Afghanistan didn’t even feature in the one-and-a-half page summary of the document. NATO had already signed off on the U.S. withdrawal and all that appeared to be left was the completion of an orderly withdrawal and hopes for a peace deal between the Afghan government and Taliban.
On Tuesday, those same seven leaders will meet again in virtual format confronted by a resurgence in the pandemic, more dire news on climate change and, most immediately and perhaps importantly, Afghanistan. The country’s burgeoning refugee crisis, the collapse of its government and fears of a resurgence in Afghan-based terrorism have left the G-7 allies scrambling and threaten the unity of the bloc.

The Room Where it Happens: A Policy Q&A with Veteran G7 Sherpa Sen. Peter Boehm
As the world recovers from the health, economic and broader societal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, G7 leaders will be gathering in Cornwall, UK, June 11-13. During his career as a senior diplomat, Senator Peter Boehm, who now chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, served as Canada’s Sherpa for six G7s, including the G7 Charlevoix in 2018. Policy Associate Editor Lisa Van Dusen conducted a Q&A with Senator Boehm by email ahead of the Cornwall G7.

12 August
Apocalypse or Cooperation?
Jayati Ghosh
The perfect storm of COVID-19 and climate change, and the resulting economic damage, will most likely trigger much more social and political instability. Although substantially increased international cooperation can still avert this nightmarish scenario, the current state of global politics provides few grounds for optimism.
(Project Syndicate) Keeping future global warming to a manageable level (even if above the 2015 Paris climate agreement goal of 1.5°C) will require a massive effort, involving sharp economic-policy reversals in every country. Major changes in the global legal and economic architecture will be essential. For its part, the pandemic has devastated employment and livelihoods, pushing hundreds of millions of people, mostly in the developing world, into poverty and hunger. The International Labour Organization’s World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2021 shows the extent of the damage in grinding detail. In 2020, the pandemic caused the loss of nearly 9% of total global working hours, equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs. This trend has continued in 2021, with working-hour losses equivalent to 140 million full-time jobs in the first quarter and 127 million jobs in the second quarter.

6 August
Why the Quad Alarms China
Its Success Poses a Major Threat to Beijing’s Ambitions
(The Diplomat) The March meeting of the Quad’s leaders confirmed growing Chinese concerns about the grouping’s significance. By convening the Quad’s top leaders for the first time (albeit virtually) so early in his administration, U.S. President Joe Biden signaled that the group would be central to his strategy in the Indo-Pacific.

10 July
Global Tax Overhaul Gains Steam as G20 Backs New Levies
The approach marks a reversal of years of economic policies that embraced low taxes as a way for countries to attract investment and fuel growth.
(NYT) Global leaders on Saturday agreed to move ahead with what would be the most significant overhaul of the international tax system in decades, with finance ministers from the world’s 20 largest economies backing a proposal that would crack down on tax havens and impose new levies on large, profitable multinational companies.
If enacted, the plan could reshape the global economy, altering where corporations choose to operate, who gets to tax them and the incentives that nations offer to lure investment. But major details remain to be worked out ahead of an October deadline to finalize the agreement and resistance is mounting from businesses, which could soon face higher tax bills, as well as from small, but pivotal, low-tax countries such as Ireland, which would see their economic models turned upside down.
See also  Joseph E. Stiglitz: The Global Tax Devil Is in the Details
(Project Syndicate) The current average official rate is considerably higher. It is thus possible, even likely, that the global minimum will become the maximum rate. An initiative that began as an attempt to force multinationals to contribute their fair share of taxes could yield very limited additional revenue, much lower than the $240 billion underpaid annually. And some estimates suggest that developing countries and emerging markets would also see a small fraction of this revenue.Preventing this outcome depends not just on avoiding a downward global convergence, but also on ensuring a broad and comprehensive definition of corporate profits, such as one that limits deduction for expenses relating to capital expenditures plus interest plus pre-entry losses plus… It would probably be best to agree on standard accounting so that new tax-avoidance techniques do not replace the old ones.
Particularly problematic in the proposals advanced by the OECD is Pillar One, intended to address taxing rights, and applying only to the very largest global firms. The old system of transfer pricing was clearly not up to the challenges of twenty-first-century globalization; multinationals had learned how to manipulate the system to record profits in low-tax jurisdictions. That’s why the United States has adopted an approach whereby profits are allocated among the states by a formula that accounts for sales, employment, and capital.

7 July
Transnational governance of natural resources for the 21st century
Rabah Arezki
(Brookings) Today’s scramble for natural resources by major powers is far from new. It stems from a long-standing and fundamental asymmetry between advanced and less-advanced economies—not only in terms of access to and demand for natural resources, but in terms of advances in technology, military might, and state and private sector capabilities in general.
… Several international initiatives have focused mainly on transparency. They include the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative and the Natural Resource Charter. A number of NGOs have been very active in the space. Legislation in the United States and the European Union (EU) strive to hold accountable their multinational corporations by mandating that those companies disclose their payments in countries in which they operate. It is more difficult to hold state-owned enterprises accountable because of a lack of transparency and a complex web of interests and cross-subsidies. The development of environment, social, and corporate governance norms (ESG)—with roots in the socially responsible investing movement that began in the 1970s—are means by which investors and others can gauge how responsibly a corporation behaves environmentally. But it is unclear whether ESG assessments are sufficient to force firms to internalize the complex sets of externalities at different levels required to achieve sustainable behavior. It is also unclear whether and how these norms could be enforced.

15 June
Summit Season and the Return of Multilateralism (podcast)
Jeremy Kinsman and Ambassador Thomas Pickering, U.S. Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations in New York under President George H.W. Bush, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under President Bill Clinton. He holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. Hosted by Colin Robertson, former diplomat, Vice President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.
The International Order Didn’t Fail the Pandemic Alone
The United States and China Are Its Crucial Pillars
By Thomas R. Pickering and Atman M. Trivedi
(Foreign Affairs) The institutional and political vulnerabilities that COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has exposed in multilateral organizations are real. But to blame such vulnerabilities on a lack of effort or expertise in the institutions themselves mistakes the symptom for the cause. At the heart of the problem is the failure of the world’s leading powers, starting with the United States and China, to invest in and empower the multilateral system. Washington’s sins of omission and Beijing’s sins of commission have conspired to sideline international institutions, helping frustrate their common goal of ending the pandemic. (14 May, 2020)

15 June
Quoting Irish poet, Biden ends EU trade war in renewal of transatlantic ties
(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden ended one front in a Trump-era trade war when he met European Union leaders on Tuesday by agreeing a truce in a transatlantic dispute over aircraft subsidies that had dragged on for 17 years.
The EU also lifted its tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminium for six months in the hope that the United States will do the same for Europe.

14 June
NATO takes tough line on China at first summit with Biden
(Reuters) – NATO leaders warned on Monday that China presents “systemic challenges,” taking a forceful stance towards Beijing in a communique at Joe Biden’s first summit with an alliance that Donald Trump openly disparaged.
The new U.S. president has urged his fellow NATO leaders to stand up to China’s authoritarianism and growing military might, a change of focus for an alliance created to defend Europe from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The language in the summit’s final communiqué, which will set the path for alliance policy, came a day after the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations issued a statement on human rights in China and Taiwan that Beijing said slandered its reputation.
Biden also told European allies that the alliance’s mutual defense pact was a “sacred obligation” for the United States
Colin Robertson: Canadian Primer to the NATO Summit in Brussels June 14, 2021
(CGAI) Presidents and prime ministers of the thirty NATO nations will meet in Brussels on Monday, June 14. The agenda, for this their 29th summit since the Alliance was formed in 1949, will discuss safeguarding the rules-based order in the face of the rising challenge from China and Russia. NATO operations in Afghanistan and Iraq will also be discussed.

11-13 June
G7 Leaders Offer United Front as Summit Ends, but Cracks Are Clear
Biden and other Western leaders had tough words for Russia and China after wrapping up a meeting in England, but they had trouble finding common ground on some big issues.
(NYT) President Biden and fellow Western leaders issued a confrontational declaration about Russian and Chinese government behavior on Sunday, castigating Beijing over its internal repression, vowing to investigate the pandemic’s origins, and excoriating Moscow for using nerve agents and cyberweapons.
Concluding the first in-person summit meeting since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the leaders tried to present a unified front against a range of threats. But they disagreed about crucial issues, from timelines for halting the burning of coal to committing tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to challenge Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, China’s overseas investment and lending push.
Biden urges G-7 leaders to call out and compete with China
(AP) — Leaders of the world’s largest economies unveiled an infrastructure plan Saturday for the developing world to compete with China’s global initiatives, but there was no immediate consensus on how forcefully to call out Beijing over human rights abuses.
Citing China for its forced labor practices is part of President Joe Biden’s campaign to persuade fellow democratic leaders to present a more unified front to compete economically with Beijing. But while they agreed to work toward competing against China, there was less unity on how adversarial a public position the group should take.
Angela Merkel, Anchor of European Stability, Stays Focused at Her Final G7
The German chancellor, known for her commitment to compromise, is eager to revive deal-making on multilateral policy, joining the world’s top democratic leaders one last time. Can she be replaced?
European Union, U.K. Brexit spat over Northern Ireland clouds G7 summit
(AP via Global) The two sides are locked in an escalating diplomatic feud over Northern Ireland, the only part of the U.K. that has a land border with the bloc. The EU is angry at British delay in implementing new checks on some goods coming into Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K. required under the terms of Britain’s divorce from the bloc. Britain says the checks are imposing a big burden on businesses and destabilizing Northern Ireland’s hard-won peace.
G-7 pledge to share, but jostle for ground in the sandbox
Recovery from the pandemic was set to dominate their discussions, and members of the wealthy democracies club committed to sharing at least 1 billion vaccine shots with struggling countries. That includes a pledge from U.S. President Joe Biden to share 500 million doses, and a promise from Johnson for another 100 million shots.
G7 summit: Biden, Johnson to reaffirm bond but tensions simmer
On the eve of the G7 summit, the US leader is expected to warn his UK counterpart over Brexit-related frictions in Northern Ireland.
(Al Jazeera) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and United States President Joe Biden are expected to reaffirm the relationship between their two countries on the eve of the G7 summit, despite warnings from Washington over simmering Brexit tensions.

7 June
The G7 Cornwall: Back to Normal, with Key Upgrades
Colin Robertson
(Policy) This coming weekend, the leaders of the advanced economies and leading democracies will meet at the Carbis Bay Hotel in a tiny Cornish seaside village in Britain’s most southerly county. While the agenda has evolved annually since its creation in 1975 (Canada joined in 1976) in the wake of the oil shock crisis, the G7 leaders have had two overriding priorities: strengthening the global economy and bolstering the rules-based order.
For this meeting, host British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also invited the leaders of, India, Australia, South Korea and South Africa to Carbis Bay. Together, the 11 leaders represent almost two-thirds of the people living in democracies around the world.
The leaders meet against a challenging backdrop. In a signed statement released June 3rd and titled Our Planet, Our Future: An Urgent Call to Action to the G7, 126 Nobel laureates called on the leaders to commit to “a new relationship with the planet” recognizing that this decade will be “decisive” in determining whether the Earth remains habitable.
As host, PM Johnson has set a high bar, declaring that “as the most prominent grouping of democratic countries, the G7 has long been the catalyst for decisive international action to tackle the greatest challenges we face.” Johnson wants to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic by:
leading the global recovery from coronavirus while strengthening our resilience against future pandemics; promoting our future prosperity by championing free and fair trade; tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity; championing our shared values. A primer to the 2021 Summit

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