Italy has suffered badly, the images of the military trucks that are transporting the corona dead in Bergamo have burned into the collective memory of Germany as well. And created the basis for many lockdown measures. 20 months later, the pandemic is not over yet, but hope is returning.
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi has therefore come up with something special at the start of the first G20 summit in attendance for two years. First in Rome the heads of state and government line up for the traditional “family photo”, then doctors, nurses and paramedics come on stage. These stand between the heads of state.
The outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) is taken in the middle by two doctors and has a short chat with them. There is great applause in the “La Nuvola” conference center.
“I was very moved by this gesture,” Merkel said later and praised Draghi’s initiative. “It was particularly moving that not only the political leaders were there, but also doctors, nurses and paramedics who played such an important role in the pandemic and unfortunately still have to play; who give everything to save human lives, ”said Merkel.
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Strict conditions apply, vaccination certificates must be shown, and journalists who do not regularly submit negative test evidence will have their accreditation blocked. The streets around are largely cordoned off around the EUR district, which was built in the style of fascist architecture on behalf of Mussolini for the 1942 World’s Fair – which then did not take place because of the World War.
Perhaps not the most suitable place to create a new departure, and because of the pandemic, Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s head of state Xi Jinping did not come and only switched on via video.
Merkel introduces her likely successor, Olaf Scholz
But US President Joe Biden has come, for example. At home he is under heavy pressure, as a huge infrastructure and climate protection project has failed due to resistance from his own democrats, but perhaps a very friendly reception from Pope Francis will help the devout Catholic.
[Lesen Sie auch: G20-Gastgeber Mario Draghi: International hoch angesehen, daheim schwer unter Druck (T+)]
And with it there is a strengthening of multilateralism at the G20 level, something for which Merkel also sacrificed herself in the circle. If the former US President Donald Trump had resisted with hands and feet that the word “climate” even appeared in final declarations, which drove the Sherpas who worked out the declarations to despair, one now at least recognizes the necessities.
The heads of state and government of the G20 countries emphasize that they want to intensify their efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. “We remain committed to the goal of the Paris Agreement of keeping the rise in the global average temperature well below two degrees and continuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels,” says Reuters in the draft of the final declaration.
It also underlines that the G20 recognizes the central importance of the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 – a goal to which some of the biggest climate sinners like China are not yet committed.
Ultimately, it is about a signal for the climate summit in Glasgow, where Merkel and Biden will also speak on Monday. It is about the technical details, about specific country commitments instead of confirming a goal. Then it will show what the signal from Rome is worth. The G20 countries account for 75 percent of global emissions.
More texts on climate change:
Angela Merkel is traditionally at the summit with her Federal Minister of Finance, which is why she can introduce Olaf Scholz on the big stage as her likely successor in the Chancellery at her probably last meeting. He is also present at the bilateral meetings, for example with Joe Biden, whom he has not met before. It looks like a special sign of democratic continuity.
What everyone here in Rome has in common is the concern that the recovery of the global economy could be slowed down by new pandemic setbacks. For example, if dangerous mutations develop in countries with a low vaccination rate, against which the vaccines are not effective.
The G20 countries have therefore agreed that in addition to the existing goal of at least 40 percent of the population in all countries being vaccinated by the end of the year, this quota should increase to 70 percent by the end of June. In doing so, the states are following the wishes of the World Health Organization.
The federal government continues to reject the release of patents
In German government circles, logistical problems, cold chains, a lack of transport, syringes and doctors are the main cause for concern.
And with the increase in booster vaccinations in the richer countries, less vaccine may be dispensed; But Germany has promised to deliver 100 million cans for 2021 and Merkel announces another 75 million cans for 2022 at the summit – Scholz will then have to deliver.
Germany is also the second largest donor to the Covax Alliance, which has so far distributed vaccines to almost 150 countries.
However, the problem is that many industrialized countries are now starting with booster, i.e. third-party vaccinations. The federal government continues to reject the release of patents, such as those of the Mainz company Biontech. Development aid organizations, on the other hand, are demanding precisely this; and technology transfers to eliminate delivery bottlenecks and reduce costs. Stephan Exo-Kreischer from the lobby organization One says: “Goals alone will not get us out of the pandemic.”
So far, more than twice as many booster vaccinations have been given in rich countries than primary vaccinations in poorer countries. 77 percent of the doses so far have gone to people in affluent countries, according to One, while less than 1 percent has been given to people in low-income countries. Exo-Screecher says, “Not even enough to protect health workers or the most vulnerable people there.