Intervento al Global Solutions Summit
Venerdì, 28 Maggio 2021
Thank you President Snower,
Dear Chancellor, dear Angela
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 now bouncing back.
The health crisis has taught us that it is impossible to address global problems with domestic solutions.
The same applies to 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, 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 the 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, and for example as Angela has just sinthetized, 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 of the world’s poorest countries.
We want the International Monetary Fund to issue new Special Drawing Rights and to 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 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.
Melissa Eddy: The pandemic has revealed the limits of multilateralism, as we saw nations including Germany and Italy close their borders or withhold vaccine orders. How can we ensure that as part of a post-pandemic realignment, global cooperation remains attractive to all partners in the future, and societies prioritize the needs of all people, not just their own?
Draghi: The pandemic surely exposed some limitations of globalization and some weaknesses. We did not have shared protocols, we did not share information for quite a time at the beginning of the process.
So, there were all kinds of problems among states. That shows to me not so much the weakness of multilateralism, but the fact that we did not have enough multilateralism.
And, in fact, the response was through unprecedently fast creation and production of vaccines - especially from the European side - the sharing and the exports of these vaccines. Let’s never forget that we export about half of what we produce to countries that until now, even today, don’t export anything or have blocked their exports.
But basically, on our side there was a convinced sharing on multilateralism which in the end provided the right response.
So, multilateralism was weak at the beginning because there wasn’t enough of it. The response is actually a multilateral response, and what Angela said is absolutely right, I completely agree with her.
The EU is a new space, it has shown its own sovereignty in the vaccine campaign and in production of vaccines. But I think this shared sovereignty will touch many other fields. And the external developments, the EU foreign affairs developments, the international relations developments, only show how we need a joint sovereignty in Europe in many fields besides the health area.
Melissa Eddy: How can we combine establishing a return to economic stability, while upholding commitments to reduce CO2 emissions and meet climate goals at a time when serious climate action is still viewed as costly and relies heavily on government spending and subsidies to integrate it into economic planning?
Draghi: Tackling climate change is a moral obligation: we owe it to our youth and to future generations. But it is also urgent for our economies: we want growth to be sustainable and we know that the green transition can be itself an engine of economic growth.
Italy, as G20 Presidency and co-chair of COP26 with the United Kingdom, is working hard to pave the way for a historic goal: the commitment of the G20 to climate neutrality, with net-zero emissions by 2050.
It is a difficult challenge, given the diversity of views and national circumstances, which can make emission reductions costlier in some countries than others. But it is possible, also thanks to the recent decision from the US to return to the Paris Agreement.
The Next Generation EU program shows how the green transition can help to lift economic growth. As Italy, we decided to spend almost 40% of the resources on the ecological transition: this is over 75 billion euros in the next five years.
So, we are fully committed to this and certainly the climate transition is a challenging task but I want to stress something that Angela just said before. To win it, we need all actors. The EU itself is responsible for a relatively small part of global emissions.
As for the others, for example the United states, in this sense it is very encouraging that they are joining back the Paris agreement, but also China is an important actor in this effort.
Melissa Eddy: With the Biden Administration transatlantic relations have been relaunched in the spirit of a renewed cooperation from trade to environment. But we can expect the US to push the EU towards a tougher stance on China. Can it be detrimental to multilateral efforts (in the context of the G20 and beyond) where it is crucial to come to terms with China?
Draghi: I will follow up on what I hinted before, and what Angela just said.
The many challenges we have discussed today all require common ground and shared solutions, which are simply out of reach without the full engagement of the world’s major economies. Just to mention a few data, China accounts for around 17% of global GDP. It is also responsible for almost 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The issue, therefore, is not “whether” we should look for common ground with China, but rather “how”. We need to preserve a broad space for dialogue and collaboration, grounded on a shared understanding of the international rules-based order. Frank, open dialogue on issues ranging from finance to labour and digitalization is an essential tool to push these issues forward. Without backing down from our open and democratic values, and without refraining from raising our European interests.
COP26, that we will co-chair with the United Kingdom, is a perfect example of a forum in which cooperation and common efforts are required, as I have had the chance to discuss recently with the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.
Melissa Eddy: Women make up only 39 percent of global employment, but account for 54 percent of overall job losses resulting from the pandemic. What can governments do to ease the burden on women at this time and encourage gender equality in the workplace? How do you want to help men change entrenched attitudes across the globe that view women's role in society?
Draghi: I am pretty sure Angela will know much more about this and I know she would surely give a better response.
But I think she would agree that governments have a lot to do in this direction, for example removing existing barriers to women participation in the labour market and collaborating with the private sector to reduce gender discrimination on the workplace.
Gender equality is one of the cross-cutting priorities of the Italian Recovery and Resilience Plan. We included specific measures, for example investing in kindergartens and in women’s education.
We also included a clause all across the Plan that will encourage companies that want to take part in the investment to hire more women and more youth. I would not call it “conditionality” but it gets very close to that.
We are also trying to lead by example: for example, my government has appointed the first ever woman as Head of the Secret Service.