G20: Important World Issues and Attempts by the West to Impose Its Narrative
Valdai Club Conference Hall, Tsvetnoy boulevard 16/1, Moscow, Russia
List of speakers

On July 11, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion dedicated to the meeting of the G20 foreign ministers.  Oleg Barabanov, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club, acted as moderator. He said, that this year, due to geopolitical problems, the work of the G20 had become too politicised, but this did not cancel the usual agenda of the forum, which this time focused on the formation of a global healthcare architecture, as well as the digital and green transformation.

Victoria Panova, Russia’s Sherpa in the Women's G20 and Vice-Rector of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, emphasised that the pandemic had also revealed the national egoism of rich countries, which, as we see, should take responsibility for stability and sustainable development. This egoism has continued and intensified, as evidenced by calls for Russia's exclusion from the G20 or a boycott of the group's events involving Russia. Meanwhile, from the very beginning the G20 has been dealing with trade as well as socio-economic and financial issues, rather than politics, which makes it possible to resolve relevant issues that are important to the whole world. It is impossible to constructively deal with such problems as overcoming the pandemic, food security or global health reform without Russia or without the countries of the West. Accordingly, the Western approach looks irresponsible and demonstrates the West's disrespect for the rest of the world.

Marina Larionova, Head of the Centre for International Research (CIIR) at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), Russia's Sherpa in Think 20, nevertheless believes that the meeting was a success. In her opinion, the Indonesian G20 presidency helped to keep the agenda in line with Jakarta's proposals. “There is a basis for agreeing on fundamental things, at least in terms of the priorities of the chairmanship,” Larionova said. She believes that the G20 leaders will reaffirm its commitment to promote economic recovery and avoid curtailing economic support measures. Perhaps, decisions will also be reached on the need for joint efforts to track inflationary pressures and curb inflation. In the healthcare sector, support is expected to increase for an initiative to accelerate access to funds to combat COVID-19 as well as broaden the supply of vaccines. Joint solutions are also possible in the area of ​​achieving sustainable development goals.

Ankara-based political analyst Hasan Selim Ozertem offered a Turkish view on the work of the ministerial meeting. He pointed out that the foreign ministers were represented at the meeting in full force and clearly had the best intentions, but they could not reach an agreement on issues related to multilateralism. This complicates the settlement of the coming food and energy crisis. “Each country defends its interests in regional crises. While the G20 is expanding the horizons of globalisation and multilateralism, we are now facing unilateralism and regionalisation,” he acknowledged. Speaking about the interests of Turkey as a Black Sea country, he pointed to the close economic ties between Turkey and Russia and the negative impact of the Ukrainian crisis on Turkish interests. In this regard, Turkey is trying to continue the dialogue with Russia, Ukraine, and Europe and believes that it is necessary to use the G20 events to improve relations between the parties.

Answering the moderator's question about how the atmosphere at the working level is felt amid difficult political conditions, Panova said that in the Women's G20 there was a constructive, non-politicised discussion of the issues raised by the Indonesian side on general social problems. "Everyone has their own opinions and approaches, but this did not prevent either the representatives of the United States or the representatives of European states from continuing a constructive discussion on issues that are important for each of the G20 countries," she stressed. Meanwhile, Larionova noted that within the Think 20 the feeling of confrontation was much more noticeable. In particular, she pointed to strong pressure from the Think 7, which promoted the narrative of the G7 and the "collective West".