Only six weeks went by between the Taormina G7 and Hamburg G20 meetings, which were both chaired by a major EU Member State. A substantive link between the two summits was therefore to be expected. Indeed, at least to some extent, a useful connection was set in motion. The results of these two events seem to suggest an informal – but organic – relation between the diplomatic and cooperative efforts of the much narrower and more homogeneous G7 with the G20 summit.
Blog Series: What remains of the G20 Hamburg Summit?
The result of this year’s G20 summit was not a major step forward in solving the climate problem. However, the confrontation with President Trump ended not in a full clash, but rather in a diplomatic climate dance – taking one step back, one step to the side, and one step forward. This presents an opportunity to continue with a climate tango from a new starting point in Argentina in 2018.
Series: What remains of the G20 Hamburg Summit?
One major goal of the German G20 Presidency was to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are essential to addressing the challenges faced by the world. The outcome of the 2017 Hamburg Summit is not a breakthrough for sustainable development, but it does offer some opportunities for real progress.
Climate change mitigation within a faltering world order – setbacks avoided, breakthroughs postponed
The German Government had set itself challenging goals for the G20 Summit, developing an ambitious agenda for shaping an interdependent world. The fundamentals of this agenda had already been established when everyone was still expecting Hillary Clinton to succeed Barack Obama as President. But the new White House incumbent is a climate and cooperation sceptic. A man who sets himself up back home against the media, the scientific community and the judiciary, that is, against the entities that keep his power in check. And a man who is divisive on the international stage, favouring protectionism where it serves US interests, withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and a reduction in contributions to the United Nations. A fickle world power that causes offence rather than working with partners to shape global policy. This is no coincidence.
At first glance, the communiqué of the G20’s Hamburg Summit is an ordinary piece of international diplomacy. However, as is often the case, context is key to assess its real importance. Two context factors defined this year’s negotiations of G20 leaders in the exhibition halls in the city center of Hamburg. Within the negotiation room, an unruly US president questioned a number of common positions that had already been adopted by the G20 in previous years.