The G20 summit borders on failure due to the division between blocs and the war in Ukraine

In the big ones multilateral summits It is relatively normal for final statements –where the adopted commitments are included– are agreed upon at the last minute, but this time it is likely that they have not even communicated. The return of the block policy to the international sphere and dissensions over the war in Ukraine have led the summit of the Group of Twenty (G20) which this weekend is celebrated in New Delhi to an uncertain outcome. The failure is palpable in the Indian capital, according to several delegations, a reflection of the tensions that run through the planet and the growing assertiveness of the powers of the global south, increasingly prone to act in a coordinated manner and as a counterweight to the Western bloc, as demonstrated by the recent expansion of the BRICS group. If the worst omens come to pass, it would be the first time since the founding of the G20 in 1999 that the meeting closes without unitary conclusions.

Those difficulties in reaching consensus have been exhibited throughout the year in the dozens of ministerial meetings prior to this G2O which brings together this weekend in India the Heads of State of the main economies of the planet. Of all the working groups in recent months, not a single joint document has emerged, contrary to what is usually the norm. “It is not too surprising, given the tensions that exist between its members,” the professor at the London School of Economics tells this newspaper. Robert Wade. To the well-known confrontation between West and Russiaor the Cold War climate between United States and Chinawe should add the territorial dispute that poisons relations between Beijing and New Delhicapitals that in turn strive to become the leader of the so-called global south.

On this year’s agenda there are once again important issues of common interest. From efforts to combat the climate changeto the debt of poor countriesthe food insecurity wave reform of international financial institutions, dominated by Western countries. A workhorse, the latter, of the emerging powers, which demand greater weight both in decision-making and in the receipt of loans. “This year it shows more rivalry between the G7 and BRICS countrieswho are behaving more assertively and demanding that their positions be reflected,” say Moncloa sources. Spain is not part of the G20, but has attended all of its summits since 2008 as a guest and has “permanent guest“. President Pedro Sanchez He has had to suspend his attendance after testing positive for covid-19.

The bone of the Ukrainian war

The main obstacle to the agreement is the ukrainian war and how it will be reflected in the final communiqué. At last year’s summit in Bali, a paragraph was agreed at the last minute condemning “Russia’s “military aggression” against Ukraine and demanded “unconditional withdrawal” of its troops of the occupied territories, a language that was then supported by UN resolutions. But now neither Russia neither China They accept that language, according to Spanish sources, while the Indian presidency advocates condemning the suffering caused by the invasion, but making it clear that the G20 is not a forum for geopolitical issues. On the opposite side, France He has hinted that he will not sign the statement if it does not include a strong condemnation of the Kremlin’s aggression.

It is also difficult to agree on the commitments regarding the global warming, despite the fact that the agreements in the G20 are not binding and their implementation usually leaves a lot to be desired. “It will be difficult for the commitments to be as ambitious as those of last year,” they explain from Moncloa. The BRICS insist on a increased financing so that the developing world can deal with the challenges of climate change, as advanced economies push to accelerate mitigation goals. Its objective is to reach a commitment so that emissions begin to decrease from 2025, according to the same sources.

African Union, permanent member

What does seem confirmed is that it will formally include the African Union as permanent member of the G20, the same status that the European Union, in recognition of the growing importance of the African continent in global affairs. The summit will also be marked by several notable absences. Mainly, that of the Chinese president. Xi Jinping. and from Russian. Vladimir Putin, who has apologized for the “special military operation” that his country is conducting in Ukraine. Unlike what happened with the BRICS summit in South Africa, this time Putin was not running risk of being arrested, Since India is not a member of the Rome Statute and, therefore, has no obligation with respect to the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against the Russian leader.

“What is truly surprising is the absence of Xi, given the importance that China attaches to forums like the G20 to exercise its world leadership“says Professor Wade from London. A shock that many have interpreted as a gesture of contempt towards New Delhi, with which China maintains a territorial dispute in the Himalayas, in addition to a growing economic rivalry.

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These absences will give greater prominence to Narendra Modi, the Hindu ultranationalist at the head of India, who has taken advantage of the presidency of the G20 to try to project the growing economic power of his country, with milestones such as the arrival of the first Indian rocket to the Moon, and demand greater weight in affairs global. In the capital, it has resulted in a aggressive cleanup operation, with the demolition of the shacks that flank the roads that lead to the summit headquarters, where new fountains, street lights and flower beds have also been installed. “The deal is still within reach,” Modi said during the week.

Whatever happens in the end and, despite the doubts that exist about the usefulness of the G20, there are those who think that it has become more necessary than ever. “Its importance lies not only in the final commitments but especially in what happens in the informal meetings. This continues to be a forum to seek solutions for matters of common interest and is becoming more important than ever, given the tension and competitiveness that prevails in the world today,” says Wade from the London School of Economics.