June 29, 2021, 06.35 PM
A photo of the previous G-20 Labor and Employment Ministers' Meeting (G20-LEMM) in Catania, Italy, Wednesday, June 23, 2021. DOK. The G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial MeetingA photo of the previous G-20 Labor and Employment Ministers' Meeting (G20-LEMM) in Catania, Italy, Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

KOMPAS.com - The Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and food security are on the agenda Tuesday as foreign ministers from the G-20 group of nations, including Indonesia meet in Italy.

The talks in the city of Matera represent the first time the ministers are gathering in person since 2019.

"To bring the pandemic to an end, we must get more vaccines to more places," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in his opening remarks. "Multilateral cooperation will be key to stop this global health crisis."

Blinken also highlighted US contributions to the COVAX dose-sharing facility to get the supply of Covid-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries and praised Italy for making the pandemic a focus of Tuesday’s meetings.

Also readG20 Suspends Poor Countries Debt Payments for Another Six Months

US State Department officials said Blinken would stress the importance of working together to address such global challenges, a common theme in recent months as he and President Joe Biden set a foreign policy path heavily focused on boosting ties with allies.

“To address the climate crisis, Secretary Blinken will encourage G-20 members to work together toward ambitious outcomes, including a recognition of the need to keep a 1.5 degree Celsius of warming threshold within reach, the importance of actions this decade that are aligned with that goal, and taking other steps like committing to end public finance for overseas unabated coal,” Susannah Cooper, director of the Office of Monetary Affairs in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, told reporters ahead of the meetings.

Cooper said Blinken would advocate for “building a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery,” including an equitable global tax system with a minimum corporate tax rate.

Finance ministers from G-7 nations, all of which are part of the G-20, agreed in principle in early June to the creation of a global minimum tax on corporations that would force companies that shift profits to subsidiaries in low- or no-tax jurisdictions to pay as much as 15 percent in taxes on that income to the country where they are headquartered.

Tuesday’s meetings are also set to consider economic development issues in Africa, including gender equity and opportunities for young people, as well as humanitarian efforts and human rights.

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