Last year, the G20 gathered with a sense of hope that, with people around the world having worked to confront the upheavals of a global pandemic, our economies could work together to build back better.
People have made enormous sacrifices to save lives. Scientific breakthroughs and global efforts made life-saving vaccines available for billions of people. Robust economic recovery was underway, with countries working to build a future that was more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable than it had been before.
Even with the enormous challenges that lay ahead there was, as I said, a sense of hope.
This year, the G20 will be markedly different.
Russia, a G20 member, has illegally and unjustifiably invaded a sovereign, democratic country, Ukraine. And President Vladimir Putin continues to escalate tensions and utter increasingly irresponsible nuclear rhetoric.
Canada, arm in arm with our allies and partners, has led the charge in implementing the most punishing sanctions ever on a major economy, including sanctioning the Central Bank of Russia. We cannot permit authoritarian dictators to undermine the rules-based international order – to take us backwards to a bloodied world where ‘might makes right’.
If we do not take action to defend our values, we risk squandering the decades of peace and freedom that have led to so much shared prosperity. The Kremlin’s reckless violence has led to widespread economic uncertainty, with the International Monetary Fund recently lowering its global growth projections for next year, due, in part, to the Putin-abetted energy crisis.
It is clear that his barbaric war is jeopardising our pandemic economic recovery, has amplified the global inflation crisis, and has worsened the world’s food and energy crisis. Its indirect impacts are making people hungrier, colder and poorer.
I am going to the Bali Summit with the objectives of holding Russia to account for its illegal war, demonstrating Canada’s unshakeable belief in multilateral cooperation, and advancing global economic growth and security so we can grow the middle class and keep the Canadian economy strong.
Canada will not let the Kremlin’s reprehensible behaviour derail the important work of the G20. G20 members represent well over half of the world’s population. That’s billions of people, including Canadians, relying on us, as G20 leaders, to keep moving forward on issues that matter to people around the world – issues such as the rising cost of living, climate action and creating new opportunities. The G20 is a critical international forum where, with partners, we can get this work done.
Focus on the challenges
Under Indonesia’s presidency, the G20 has focused on the challenges of food security, sustainable energy transitions, global health, digital transformation and pandemic recovery. Regrettably, the illegal actions of one member, Russia, continue to exacerbate these challenges. But in the face of these challenges, and the vulnerable people who are suffering as a result, we must redouble our efforts.
On food security, we need more open trade, increased access to fertilisers and innovative technologies, and an agreement never to weaponise food production and distribution. We must do everything we can to prevent hunger and starvation.
On climate and energy, we need to work together to meet our targets. People are feeling real impacts – Canada is warming twice as fast as the global average, three times as fast in our north. Around the world, we have seen devastating floods and storms this year, as once-a-century weather events are now happening every few years. We also need to seize the opportunities that lie ahead in building a clean economy, opportunities that will create good middle class jobs for people in all sectors including energy workers and lead us towards new economic growth.
On health, we need to learn from the devastating human, economic and social costs of the Covid-19 pandemic and make investments that prevent it from happening again.
On gender equality, we need to deepen engagement between governments and civil society so that women and girls have equal access to opportunities, including through the G20 Ministerial Conference on Women’s Economic Empowerment.
People at the centre of all we do
Canada is committed to this work because we believe that people must be at the centre of everything we do. It is by keeping this focus, and making investments that benefit everyone, that we create growth and ensure people see opportunities for themselves in everything we are doing. And most importantly, it creates a future that is bright.
I will go to the G20 this year with the firm knowledge that the choices we, as leaders, make now, will have profound and lasting impacts on both the people who are relying on us today and the generations who will inherit these challenges from us. And I believe that this forum is important, and that progress is both possible, and necessary. But it will depend on a shared commitment to a world governed by rules.
The G20 was created to bring together the world’s most important economies so we could work collectively to uphold the peaceful international order and create the conditions for global economic growth. This year, we must hold ourselves and one another to this commitment.
Now is the time for the global community to take a strong, united stand, so that we can deliver a safer, more prosperous, and more sustainable world for all people.