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G20 Matera Ministerial Is Long on Rhetoric, Short on Solutions

June 29, 2021 (EIRNS)—Foreign and Development Ministers of the Group of 20 and representatives of UN agencies met today in a one-day event in Matera, Italy, hosted by Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, in Italy’s capacity as G20’s current rotating president. Several of the ministers appeared in person, but the ministers of China, Russia, Brazil, and others attended virtually. The major emphasis of the meeting, whose unimaginative title was “People, Planet, Prosperity,” was to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as food insecurity, famine, poverty, and disease, and to promote “sustainable development,” and “sustainable” health systems—especially for Africa. Di Maio said in the closing press conference that the G20 has a special responsibility to help Africa to emerge from a “difficult period.” It must be done in such a way, he said, that people won’t feel the need to flee their countries and migrate to Europe.

The “Matera Declaration on Food Security, Nutrition and Food Systems,” announces a number of initiatives for addressing the developing sector’s most urgent problems, but all are couched in terms of “sustainability,” respecting biodiversity and gender equality, and adapting “agriculture and food systems to climate change.” The statement ends with a call for a “global mobilization” to solve these problems, while it presents no solutions that might actually yield results. The document cries out for the Schiller Institute and The LaRouche Organization’s programmatic proposals for building a global health system, bankruptcy reorganization of the global financial system, and reconstruction of the world’s economies with major infrastructure projects.

During the conference itself, there was much rhetoric about “multilateralism,” loudly advocated by Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who had the audacity to say “The United States is leading the multilateral response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” especially vaccine distribution, to which Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi tweeted in response that “multilateralism is not a high-sounding slogan, let alone gift-wrapping for the implementation of unilateral acts.” In his public statements, Wang called for an end to the “zero-sum game” in foreign relations. For example, he said, in fighting the pandemic it is to everyone’s benefit that those nations which have vaccines and vaccine capacity lift their export restrictions. Forget about ideology, and get to work on stabilizing vaccine production and supply lines, he said. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ignored that advice, complaining that Russia and China are only using their “vaccine diplomacy” for political leverage in the countries they aid. “We must openly discuss the fact that we do not think much of their vaccine diplomacy,” he harrumphed.

Michele Geraci, former Undersecretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, said in an interview with CGTN that there is a lot of talk about multilateralism, but if it means that each of 200 nations do their own thing, and there is retrenchment, it doesn’t work. It hurts production, people-to-people contact, and international education, What is needed is real collaboration, he insisted.

Di Maio and other Italian participants pointed out that in terms of protecting health, Rome is home to a number of international food organizations—including the UN’s World Food Program, Food and Agriculture Organization, International, and International Fund for Agricultural Development—and that they and Italy will co-host the July 26-28 Pre-Summit of the World Food Systems, with the Summit taking place at the UN General Assembly in September. As this news service has pointed out, the Rome affair in July is terribly organized as a gathering of “stakeholders”—women, youth, climate, biodiversity groups, etc.—and that its solutions are supposedly “nature”-based, not focused on ending famine. This is precisely the Davos World Economic Forum model announced by WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab last January.

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