What did the G20 Leaders wish for? | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

What did the G20 Leaders wish for?

By Joel Indrupati

Watching our G20 leaders toss their coins into the Trevi fountain in Rome, on news websites, most of us wondered what they wished for. “La Dolce Vita”? Asked a news headline from Reuters referring to an old 1960 Hollywood classic of Fellini which had an iconic scene of Swedish beauty Anita Ekberg, in the same fountain.

The full headline was: “Seeking La Dolce Vita? G20 leaders toss coins into Rome’s Trevi fountain”. Is it really “the sweet life” for all of us that our leaders wished for? And will it come true? Traditionally, it is believed that if you throw a coin into that fountain, with your right hand over your left shoulder, you are sure to return to Rome.

I saw most of the G20 leaders throw the coin with their right hand over their right shoulders.  So, I am not sure how many of their roads will lead to Rome again.

But they did in Rome what the Romans did. Whichever direction these global heads are heading, it was nice to see them together, as the city authorities obviously stopped all traffic and tourists to enable this photo op.

We couldn’t see those special coins minted for the summit, with Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Vitruvian man' on them, but it was good to see our leaders wishing wishes.

By the end of the summit, they seem to have agreed on a global minimum tax to stop big business from hiding profits in tax havens, and on getting more COVID vaccines to poorer nations.

But they did not agree on climate matters. That is why the UN chief António Guterres had tweeted: “I leave Rome with my hopes unfulfilled, but at least they are not buried”. Many of these are joining others in Glasgow for COP26, to discuss how to manage climate change and leave the planet in a better shape for our future generations.

But before that, after the G20 summit, they released a declaration which said they “are committed to overcoming the global health and economic crisis stemming from the pandemic, which has affected billions of lives, dramatically hampered progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and disrupted global supply chains and international mobility”.

That’s a wish that, with a concerted effort of the nations, is possible to be fulfilled. But we can foresee rough weather at the climate conference.

Not all would agree there. The developed nations have developed thus far, only at a great cost to the global natural environment. And now at this stage, should the developed nations impose stricter control on carbon emissions on those nations which are just about to grow? Is it not important that an equitable regulatory mechanism is put in place, understanding the economic divide?

G20 leaders in Rome understood that there are poorer nations and richer nations, with unequal access to vaccines in this pandemic. Likewise, let us hope that the COP26 leaders in Glasgow would also understand that requiring different carbon emission controls from different countries is a more equitable approach.

The Reuters news report I had mentioned earlier also referred to Frank Sinatra’s song ‘Three coins in the fountain’ from another Hollywood movie. If you find the video, to the backdrop of that soulful voice of Sinatra, you will see three girls throwing coins into the Trevi fountain, each wanting her to wish to come true. But their relationships in the movie are complicated. In this world, of course, our wish is not.

It is very simple. It is for peace and prosperity. A good life. La dolce vita. And let us hope that’s what our G20 leaders wished for that life. And may it come true. 

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Joel Indrupati