World Leaders Through Heavily Guarded Rome to Glasgow: Prelude to Climate Summit

Anyone hoping for a selfie at the Trevi Fountain today should come back later. The fountain is one of the places in Rome that is heavily secured because of the G20, the informal summit this weekend where many of the worlds most powerful government leaders meet again for the first time since the corona outbreak.

The Greats of the Earth programme includes several themes, including the provision of vaccines for developing countries and the recovery of the global economy. As part of that, Queen Máxima is giving a brief speech this afternoon on how SMEs can become more financially resilient worldwide. She does so as a special advocate on behalf of the UN.

But the top theme of the summit: tackling climate change. The G20 will take place on the eve of the highly anticipated COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, where world leaders have to cut buttons on combating global warming. The G20 countries account not only for 80% of the global economy, but also about 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Although the G20 is actually an informal meeting, Italian Prime Minister Draghi has made it clear in advance that he hopes for concrete commitments. The G20 has promised to make efforts to limit global warming to one and a half degrees and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, Draghi recalled last month.

Draghi is in the spotlight
The

fact that Draghi is presiding over the summit is politically interesting. The former President of the European Central Bank is an experienced director and throws high eyes domestically with his steadfast approach to the corona crisis.

The Italian is also playing more and more in the EU spotlight. After Angela Merkels departure, and given Emmanuel Macrons focus on the national election campaign, several international media labeled Draghi as a potential new informal leader of the Union.

Draghi has assumed that leading role several times since the beginning of his premiership in February. For example, he initiated a global consultation on the situation in Afghanistan in September, after the Taliban took over power there. As the climate crisis is an important theme for Draghi, it is expected that he will do everything he can to push Chinese President Xi to ambitious commitments, for example.

Impregnable Fortress
As a

result of the summit, security services in Italy are on high alert. Border controls have been tightened and airspace over Rome has been closed. In the centre of the city, where delegations stay in several hotels, thousands of additional agents are on their feet. Several metro stops are closed.

The EUR district, where heads of government meet, has been transformed into an impregnable fortress. Only people with special accreditation are welcome in a 10-square-kilometre safety zone. Through roads are closed, officers are patrolling with explosives dogs, and sharpshooters are on the rooftops in strategic locations.

Several groups have announced demonstrations over the weekend. Among other things, the Fridays for Future youth climate movement, the Italian unions and opponents of the corona pass want to take advantage of international media coverage to make their point.

Two major demonstrations have been allowed, but are rigorously monitored. With 5000 to 6,000 agents and 1,500 soldiers on their feet in the city, the Italian government wants to leave nothing to chance.