Written by By Toby Craven, CNN
The heads of state and government of the G20 have completed their two-day summit in Buenos Aires. Less than a week into 2019, the fifth installment of the annual gathering has already disappointed environmentalists, after concluding with a lack of meaningful action on a range of key global issues.
In its final communique, the G20 focused mainly on reaching consensus in favor of free trade, shunning ambitious language on climate change. The group also focused on “fostering economic growth and creating jobs,” and failed to put strong demands on countries to publish their progress in implementing tighter rules for corporations.
The summit was chaired by Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, whose administration had faced protests at the onset of the gathering in the country’s capital, Buenos Aires. Protesters marched along Plaza de Mayo in the early morning, waving banners calling for “climate justice” and asserting their right to protest.
Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron at the start of a G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 16, 2018. BERNADETTE GONZALEZ/Getty Images
For months, protesters have called on world leaders to ensure that their policies are made to protect the environment and prevent damage to its critical biodiversity. As the summit got underway, thousands of protesters took to the streets in a bid to highlight concerns over climate change.
The meeting lasted two days, and featured talks on climate change, food security, poverty alleviation, trade and financial flows.
Finance leaders agreed to give their support to the US decision to quit the Paris agreement. United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also walked back on the $100 billion commitment that the US had previously committed to.
“It is not a maximum that we can achieve,” Mnuchin said of the multilateral aid pledge.
The statement following the summit included a “two-step process” for moving to a “bottom-up, inclusive, inclusive, level playing field for all countries.” Critics said that the international body had betrayed its own stated aim of seeking inclusive multilateral cooperation through such steps.
The leaders of France, Germany, Canada, Russia, South Korea, Japan, China, Mexico, Turkey, Australia, India, Canada, Indonesia, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Panama, Rwanda, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, Turkey, South Korea, Italy, Nigeria, Jordan, Ecuador, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Mexico, Lebanon, Australia, Chile, Egypt, Slovenia, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Indonesia, Oman, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, Mexico, Uruguay, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Gabon, Mongolia, Madagascar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Mozambique, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Morocco, Algeria, Republic of Korea, China, Czech Republic, France, Brazil, Zambia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Czech Republic, and Russia.