Ever since taking office in December 2015, President Mauricio Macri’s administration has had a clear foreign policy objective: to put Argentina back on the global map, renewing our ties of trust with the world and pursuing a policy of smart insertion, focused on well-defined, non-ideological interests, but based on values such as democracy, human rights and multilateralism.
The Argentine G20 presidency this year is the most definite sign – but not the only one – that we are on the right path to achieve that objective. This is allowing Argentina to show the world the profound commitment of Argentinians to the change we are undergoing. By the end of this year, Argentina will have hosted 50 high-level meetings, ending with the Buenos Aires Summit – the first one to be held by the G20 in South America. Thus, more than 20,000 people will visit Argentina, including government officials from more than 30 countries, experts and members of international organisations.
Throughout its presidency, Argentina has been developing a broad, constructive approach to achieve concrete results based on a three-pronged agenda: the future of work (the education system needs to train people for life and work in the 21st century); infrastructure for development (countries need roads, bridges, public transport and sanitation facilities in order to grow); and a sustainable food future (the world needs a more inclusive, efficient food supply system).
Building bridges, not walls
Argentina knows from its own experience that none of this can be achieved without collective efforts. This is why we seek to build bridges, not walls. We also know that presiding over the G20 is no easy task. We must work hard and with a broad vision to make progress and reach consensus. We are convinced that therein lies the great asset of the G20: it brings different visions together and takes firm steps to obtain shared benefits.
A noteworthy example of this singular challenge is the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting, which I hosted in Buenos Aires in May. There, during a day of intensive work, we agreed on the advantages of maintaining multilateralism in the face of the pressures of adverse positions and of a changing world with significant challenges, including the technological revolution, cybersecurity, migration currents and new trade paradigms. This is why we believe it is so important for the G20, which is much more than a leaders’ summit, to provide new answers.
I stress this because the G20 remains the most important global forum for economic and political cooperation, in which the world’s top leaders participate. Thus, Argentina proposes a gradual but firm path of dialogue and global negotiation, with the great responsibility of leading discussions and finding common ground.
A Latin American perspective
I would also like to underscore the fact that Argentina, as leader of the group this year, presents the perspective of Latin American countries, with their interests and concerns, highlighting the great potential of our peoples and nations. Our priorities reflect the identity of a multicultural country, with roots growing from immigration and with a vision for the future that, drawing on the historical continuity of our essence, lies in greater integration with the world.
As G20 chair in 2018, Argentina must guarantee the follow-up of previous initiatives and of the work that has already been done, but it can also develop the mechanisms best suited to balancing the interests of countries, seeking common ground and finding points of understanding, leaving no one behind. Thus, Argentina aims at ‘a presidency of consensus’. We undertake this enormous task to the best of our ability and with the highest expectations, to continue working towards a fairer world that has a place for everyone.
In this spirit, we welcome each of the delegations that come to Argentina for the various meetings, and we look forward to welcoming the leaders of the G20 and their guests. They will also be able to experience a country whose singularities make it a unique land of opportunities: its people, its natural beauty, its cuisine and its cultural expressions synthesise, in great vastness, the identity of a country with its arms open to the world.