ROME – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be in Rome on a working visit until next Monday (Nov 1), and will attend the Group of 20 (G-20) Leaders’ Summit at the invitation of his Italian counterpart, Mr Mario Draghi.
PM Lee will take part in summit discussions and have bilateral meetings with leaders of other countries on the summit’s sidelines, said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in a statement on Thursday.
Singapore is not a member of the G-20, which brings together the world’s largest economies, but has been invited as one of several guest countries.
The Republic was invited to participate in G-20 meetings in 2010 and 2011, as well as from 2013 to last year. The Republic is convenor of the Global Governance Group, which comprises 30 small and medium-sized members of the United Nations and contributes regularly to G-20 discussions.
This year’s summit is held in Rome – the host country’s capital city – and starts on Saturday.
It is the first in-person summit to be held since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Last year’s summit, hosted in November by Saudi Arabia, took place virtually.
The Rome Summit will focus on three themes – people, planet and prosperity. It aims to work towards a swift international response to the pandemic, look beyond the crisis to a sustainable and inclusive recovery, and secure a firm commitment to protect the climate and environment.
Leaders are also expected to endorse a deal to impose a 15 per cent minimum tax on global corporations, as well as discuss global cooperation on healthcare financing to prevent future pandemics.
The G-20 was born in 1999 as a forum for consultation among finance ministers and central bank governors of the world’s largest economies in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. Since the 2008 global financial crisis, it has brought together leaders of these major economies every year.
Italian Prime Minister Draghi said the summit “marks the return of multilateralism, after the dark years of isolationism and of isolation linked to the health crisis”.
Climate change will be a key focus, with talks expected to revolve around the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Outcomes from the two-day summit are expected to feed into discussions at the UN Climate Change Conference – COP26 for short – that will kick off in Glasgow on Sunday.
Several world leaders are expected to attend both summits, including United States President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
However, other leaders – including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin – are expected to give both meetings a miss, although they may attend the G-20 Summit virtually.
Singapore will be represented at COP26 by Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu.
PM Lee will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, and senior officials from their respective ministries.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will be acting prime minister for the duration.
This is because Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean will be on leave and thus unavailable, the PMO said.