Foreign ministers from the G20 group of nations gathered in Rio de Janeiro yesterday to discuss world tensions and ways to improve multilateral organisations in preparation for their annual leaders’ summit presided by Brazil.
Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva has made reform of global governance a top priority for the G20 this year, along with curbing climate change and reducing poverty.
But with continued fighting between Russia and Ukraine and the war in Gaza, diplomats are not optimistic that proposals to upgrade global governance will advance easily within the group of the world’s largest economies.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Lula in Brasilia on his way to the Rio meeting and expressed US support for his G20 presidency agenda to combat hunger and poverty, mobilise against the climate crisis, and make global governance more effective, spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters.
The top US diplomat discussed the conflict in Gaza with Lula, amid a diplomatic spat after the Brazilian leader likened Israel’s war in Gaza to the Nazi genocide during World War Two.
Lula has criticised the United Nations for failing to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and his accusations last week of atrocities by Israel in Gaza triggered a diplomatic crisis with an Israeli reprimand and Brazil recalling its ambassador.
“We are living in a world with no governance and the proliferation of conflicts is unprecedented. There is a lack of governance to deal with global challenges,” diplomat Mauricio Lyrio, Brazil’s G20 sherpa, told reporters on Tuesday.
He said there is consensus today on the need to reform the United Nations, where Brazil has advocated the expansion of the Security Council, a proposal that has not gained momentum due to the resistance of nations with veto power since the world body was created after World War Two.
Lyrio acknowledged that divergences arise when it comes to which changes to make at the United Nations, he said.
“This meeting will essentially be a venting session to build the case for multilateral reform and diagnosing the problem,” a European diplomat told Reuters.
The two-day meeting was due to kick off at a Rio marina with an open discussion of the global situation and its conflicts, including the wars in Ukraine and Gaza.
Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will face each other across the table for the first time since they spoke briefly face-to-face at last year’s foreign ministers’ meeting in New Delhi. No meeting is planned between the two men.
As an innovation, Brazil will propose holding a second G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in September during the UN General Assembly in New York to advance talks on global governance, Lyrio said, with all UN member states invited to take part.
The G20 represents around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
Related Story