New York News
The leaders of Russia and China are skipping the G-20 summit, but their absence — and rifts over the Ukraine war — will have a big influence on the proceedings.
Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t be at the G20 Leaders’ Summit, but he and the Russia-Ukraine war are likely to have a bigger effect on outcomes than even the lack of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Days before world leaders prepared to gather in New Delhi for the summit September 9-10, news emerged that China’s leader had decided not to attend. Xi’s absence will undoubtedly stifle progress on the many issues plaguing the global economy.
However, it’s Mr. Putin and the war in Ukraine that is likely to dominate proceedings and hamper progress on urgent matters before the G-20.
With Russia a member, this is not surprising. But the G-20’s make-up — consisting of Western states and leading nations from the Global South — has made it even more difficult for the organisation to function effectively.
Behind the stage
The G-20 is much more than just an annual two-day Leaders’ Summit. Most of its work happens in the background, through networks of technocrats and policymakers, who can find ways to resolve problems, even when relations between their leaders deteriorate.
Beside the issue of an ongoing conflict, the ‘in’ tray is full this year.
Global inflation remains high, and growth is slowing and below historical trends. China is experiencing its own economic challenges of slowing growth, deflation and a housing market crisis, which could have significant knock-on effects for the rest of the world.
Many economies are struggling with debt. Nearly half of the world’s developing countries need urgent financial assistance as the financial consequences of the pandemic have finally caught up with them.