It is a pleasure to welcome you in Rome today for this G20 Summit.
First of all, I would like to say that it is great to see all of you here, after a difficult few years for the global community.
The pandemic has kept us apart – as it did with all our citizens. And even before, we faced protectionism, unilateralism, nationalism.
But the more we go with all our challenges, the more it is clear that multilateralism is the best answer to the problems we face today.
In many ways, it is the only possible answer.
From the pandemic, to climate change, to fair and equitable taxation, going it alone is simply not an option.
We must do all we can to overcome our differences.
And we must rekindle the spirit that led to the creation of this group.
Almost two years since the start of the pandemic, we can finally look at the future with great - or with some - optimism.
Successful vaccination campaigns and coordinated action from governments and central banks have allowed the global economy to rebound.
Many of our countries have launched recovery plans to boost growth, reduce inequalities, promote sustainability.
Together, we are building a new economic model, and the world will be all the better for it.
However, we must be aware of the challenges we face collectively.
The pandemic is not over and there are startling disparities in the global distribution of vaccines.
In high-income countries, more than 70 % of the population has received at least one dose.
In the poorest ones, this percentage drops to roughly 3 %.
These differences are morally unacceptable, and undermine the global recovery.
We are very close to meeting the WHO’s target of vaccinating 40% of the global population by the end of 2021.
Now we must do all we can to reach 70% by mid-2022.
We must also continue to invest in research, eliminate trade barriers affecting COVID-19 vaccines, and enhance predictability in their delivery.
And we need to strengthen supply chains, while expanding vaccine manufacturing capacity at local and regional level.
As G20 Presidency, Italy has worked to promote a more equitable recovery
The Global Health Summit in Rome saw countries and companies make generous vaccine pledges for poorer countries: we must make sure we honour them now.
We reached a historic agreement for a fairer and more effective international tax system.
We oversaw the allocation of 650 billion dollars in new Special Drawing Rights and endorsed the possibility of redistributing them to the countries that are most in need.
These results are a powerful reminder of what we can achieve collectively.
They must encourage us to be just as ambitious in all the areas where we work together.
Small and medium enterprises are the bedrock of many of our countries, including my own.
Our economies thrive on the ingenuity and hard work of their employees and entrepreneurs.
SMEs create jobs, innovate, pay their fair share of taxes.
We must do all we can to support them and help them grow.
The pandemic took a heavy toll on SMEs.
They faced a sharp drop in revenues, which led to acute liquidity shortages.
Governments and central banks acted quickly to prevent a sharp surge in bankruptcies and new technologies and digital services helped smaller businesses adapt and survive the crisis.
However, the pandemic left many behind, including informal workers, rural dwellers and smaller businesses.
During the pandemic, they struggled to find new customers because of their lower digital literacy.
As we recover from this crisis, governments need to help SMEs become more competitive and reap the full benefits of digitalization.
Italy’s G20 Presidency endorses the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion to promote the use of digital tools and protect SMEs.
Women entrepreneurs were among the hardest-hit by the economic downturn.
They faced more limited access to loans than men and shouldered a larger share of domestic work at a time of widespread school closures.
Italy has put female empowerment at the core of its G20 Presidency.
There can be no rapid, fair and sustainable recovery if we forget about half of the world.
Together, we have stepped up the G20 commitment to counter to gender inequality in the workforce, promote female leadership and remove all barriers to women’s full participation in our societies and economies.
We have promoted women’s and girls’ study of so-called “STEM” subjects and a more equal distribution of domestic chores between women and men.
A just society begins at home and in the workplace.
It is now my pleasure to leave the floor to Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, whom I thank once again for having accepted my invitation to participate in this important event.