INDiplomacy attended the first day of the T20 Summit, the summit of think tanks and research centres of the G20. 

by Leonardo Brembilla

On October 4, the T20 Summit finally started. The summit concluded the work of Think20, the official G20 Engagement Group bringing together leading think tanks and research institutes worldwide. The three-day event, organized by the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), the two prestigious research institutes the Italian presidency of the G20 selected to chair the T20, takes place at Bocconi University in Milan. 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at T20 Summit
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at T20 Summit

Objective of the T20 is to provide analysis and policy recommendations to the leaders of the countries that will meet in Rome for the G20 summit at the end of October. A crucial role, considering that this year the G20 is called upon to address global problems such as the pandemic, the consequent economic crisis and the climate crisis. The T20 Summit in Milan was the occasion to present the results of the work carried out over the last months by the 11 T20 task forces.

The task forces tried to outline new solutions on issues such as international finance, climate change, innovation and global health, always keeping in mind the three Ps that guide the Italian presidency of the G20: People, Planet, Prosperity

The atmosphere during the first day of the T20 Summit was one of satisfaction for the results of a work carried out under challenging conditions, and of cautious optimism for the post-pandemic recovery. However, the panels did underline the many challenges and problems that some of the policies adopted to contain the health and economic crisis created. These problems include rising public debt rates in many countries and unequal access to vaccines

T20 Summit at Bocconi Universty, in Milan

Giampiero Massolo and Paolo Magri, president and director of ISPI, inaugurated the T20 Summit, together with Gianmario Verona, Rector of Bocconi University. “As we promised earlier this year, we worked hard to make the T20 digital, inclusive and policy oriented,” said Paolo Magri. “It was a difficult journey, but also an exciting and rewarding one”. 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres officially opened the proceedings with a short speech. “The pandemic has made it clear to everyone that the multilateral framework needs upgrading. We need to make it more inclusive and effective”, said Guterres. “We must also act to protect the resources that will be essential for the next generations. Therefore, I proposed to the UN General Assembly a Global Summit for the Future and I intend to create a Special Envoy for Future Generations and open a United Nations youth office“. 

The program of the first day included several panels and special guests, such as the former chief economist of the World Bank and former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, Italian Minister of Innovation and Digitalization Vittorio ColaoPatricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC and Camilla Bausch, Director of Ecologic Institute, discussed some of the policy proposals produced and issues addressed by the T20 over the last months. 

Angel Gurría, former OECD secretary generalat the T20 Summit
Angel Gurría, former OECD secretary generalat the T20 Summit

The debate focused on the worrying growth of public debt worldwide and the tools put in place to contain it, the policies aimed at making the digital world more accessible, flexible and secure, and the global actions needed to tackle climate change and promote sustainable growth. 

Balancing People, Planet and Prosperity will be tricky. Only by going multilateral we will be able to achieve that balance. The G20 works – there is a good mix of manageability and legitimacy. It can help us address the global challenges we face” said Angel Gurría, former OECD secretary general, c closing the first day of the T20 Summit on a positive note.