Towards a new international architecture
G20 Issue

Towards a new international architecture

We are called upon to reflect in the context of the G20 summit precisely at a time when history demands we act courageously and with determination. We face an unprecedented health and economic crisis, of uncertain duration and magnitude – an emergency with an impact on health, productive development, employment and poverty that knows no borders.

The success of a country’s preventive health care depends on the success of other countries, just as employment recovery in any one country is directly tied to how fast others come out of recession. The pandemic and its impacts on health and the social and productive structure jeopardise political stability and security globally. We face a challenge that demands enhanced international cooperation to deal with it effectively, thereby turning the challenge into an opportunity.

The International Monetary Fund announced in June that the global economy will contract by 4.9% this year, which will lead to massive losses of jobs and incomes.

This symmetrical crisis has struck the world on an equal basis, yet has an asymmetrical impact. Emerging economies have been doubly affected. With higher levels of informal employment and inequality and more limited fiscal policy capacity, in addition to the direct effects of the pandemic, we have been hit by sudden capital flight, a fall in the price of primary products, an increase in the spread on sovereign loans and currency depreciation.

For Latin America, regional gross domestic product will contract by 9.4%, higher than anticipated for Africa, the Middle East or Asia. This reveals the dramatic reality faced by the most vulnerable sectors in a scenario where the income of more than 53 million people will fall below the poverty line.

Facing global crises

The G20 has in the past demonstrated its potential to face global crises. Today, it finds in the COVID-19 pandemic the challenge of coordinating the main global actors to give a global, determined and coordinated response to mitigate the adverse social and economic effects, by increasing resilience and preparing both emerging economies and advanced countries to overcome any future obstacles.

We are going through times of crisis that force us to devise innovative initiatives and measures to reactivate the economy and address the social and economic problems caused by the pandemic. It is essential for the G20 to focus on policies that protect employment, production and the quality of life, by making the necessary resources available to increase global liquidity.

In this turbulent global context, Argentina has reached an important agreement with its private creditors, thus becoming among the first countries to meet the challenge of restructuring its debt during the pandemic. In this process, Argentina had strong local and international support. The support of the international community, including G20 members, civil society and the international academic community, has been fundamental to advancing towards putting Argentina back on its feet.

Recovering the sustainability of public debt is a key step in calming the economy. We are laying the foundations for a healthy economy, one that will attract investment in the Argentine productive system and generate the necessary resources for financing inclusive and sustainable development.

In this regard, we support the G20’s initiatives on sovereign debt. We call on the international community to continue seeking solutions to restore debt sustainability for emerging and low-income countries, as well as to rethink multilateral-based alternatives for increased global liquidity, thus allowing not only speedier recovery, but also the availability of resources to implement public policies for inclusive growth, so that no one is left behind. In Pope Francis’s words, “no one can be saved from this crisis alone”.

In March, in the context of the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit, I called for a “Global Solidarity Pact” and the creation of a “Humanitarian Fund” by focusing our joint efforts on much-needed economic recovery to build a fairer, more inclusive and solidarity-driven society. Let us be the architects of an international system that promotes the protection of life as a priority; let us work together for the development and equitable distribution of effective vaccines and treatments to face this pandemic and any future pandemics, and to secure universal access to health care.

Topics on our pre-pandemic agenda, such as migration, climate change, the technological revolution, Industry 4.0 and the digital revolution, call for new approaches and vast resources to address the recovery and conversion of our economies.

History demands from us world leaders responsibility and balance, creativity and courage. The world that will emerge after the pandemic will not be the same. It will be up to each of us to shape a more solidarity-driven, democratic and cooperative future – it is our responsibility as leaders to build a better world in which the opportunities offered by the 21st century are within reach for all.