This weekend will see Rome host the G20 Leaders' Summit on Oct. 30-31, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan among prominent world leaders in attendance.
The G20 brings together developed and emerging economies on the same platform, with its members accounting for 80% of the world GDP, 75% of global trade, and 60% of the world's population.
The international forum was created in 1999 for the consultation of finance ministers and central bank governors, and has brought together heads of state and government since 2008.
Alongside economic and financial issues, the platform has come to the fore in recent years as issues such as foreign policy, international trade, health, climate and the environment, and equal opportunity are discussed in depth.
Italy took over the G20 Presidency from Saudi Arabia on Dec.1, 2020 and will complete its presidency with the Rome summit, handing the baton to Indonesia on Dec. 1.
At the weekend summit, leaders are expected to make new commitments and focus on a rapid epidemic response to ensure multilateralism, equality, and access to healthcare, build resilience to future shocks, and support the general welfare.
According to the Italian Prime Ministry, on day one the G20 leaders will discuss the global economy and global health. On day two, the leaders will meet for sessions on climate change and the environment and sustainable development.
Italy’s turn at the helm
At the meetings it held throughout the year, Italy stressed such issues as the international community getting rid of the coronavirus pandemic, post-pandemic economic recovery, sustainable development, combating climate change, the environment, health, supporting innovation, and fighting poverty and inequality
Italy held a total of 175 events during its presidency, including 20 at the ministerial level. The country also held a health summit on May 21 and an extraordinary summit on Afghanistan on Oct. 12, via video conferencing, both at the leaders’ level.
16th summit at leaders level
The G20 Leaders' Summit, the first of which was held in 2008 in Washington DC, was hosted by Turkey in 2015 in its resort city of Antalya.
Due to the pandemic, during Saudi Arabia’s term presidency, last year the leaders met via video conference. The Rome meeting will be their first face-to-face since the 2019 summit in Osaka, Japan.
President Erdogan will represent Turkey at the summit, alongside the heads of state and government of many countries, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, and outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Chinese President Xi Jinping are all expected to attend the summit virtually.
The summit also offers leaders the opportunity to hold bilateral talks.
During the event, top issues will include irregular migration, the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries, and geopolitical tensions and regional conflict.
Erdogan is expected to hold important diplomatic meetings with world leaders during the summit.
Protests and security measures
The summit will see tight security measures in Rome and nearby areas.
According to the Italian press, the country’s Interior Ministry is worried about possible protests against the summit by opponents of globalization and vaccines as well as outbreaks of violence.
To provide a peaceful and safe summit, 500 soldiers will be deployed in addition to about 2,000 security guards on the streets of Rome. The city will also be closed to flights.
Fridays For Future, a group fighting climate change, is expected to protest on Oct. 30.