The G77+China summit that took place on September 15 and 16 in Cuba has concluded. During the summit, President Petro proposed a new global financial system to address the energy transition. The Colombian president also made a plea for peace, advocating once again for the decarbonization of the economy.
The G77 is the largest group for dialogue and cooperation within the United Nations. Founded in 1964, it currently comprises 134 countries, mainly from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. China also attended the summit, along with the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres. During this forum, Gustavo Petro reiterated a proposal that the Colombian president has presented in various international forums, emphasizing the need for “universal negotiations for changing the global financial system.”
Climate agenda, cooperation, and global financing
The topics that marked Colombia’s proposals at the summit align with the government’s stance, as championed by President Petro in all international forums. These include the climate agenda, working towards global economic decarbonization, cooperation among the wealthiest and most polluting countries with developing countries to finance this transition, and global financing.
“Covid demonstrated on a small scale that we can increase the universal issuance of special drawing rights progressively based on the poverty levels of humanity, paying off debt, not forgiving it, but paying off the debt to creditors to reduce the debt burden of each country and create budgetary space worldwide. In other words, public funds that allow us to finance the transition to a decarbonized economy,” Gustavo Petro stated.
In this context and regarding the financing of the energy transition, the Colombian president pointed out that capital only finances projects that generate profits. Therefore, the work must be carried out using public funds from around the world. As the president emphasized, there are two ways to finance a decarbonized economy: capital and debt. According to him, the United States and Europe are leaning towards the second option.
In this regard, Gustavo Petro stated that solving problems caused by huge emissions should not require increasing debt beyond current levels. He advocated for instead using public funds.
Exodus due to habitat collapse
Gustavo Petro pointed out that by 2070, the climate crisis will lead to the disappearance of many islands, a problem that will affect “the poorest nations, many of them members of the G77.” Most of the countries attending the summit belong to the hottest region of the world, which will become uninhabitable. According to the Colombian president, this could trigger an exodus of 3 billion people to less hot areas of the planet.
“Such a world is inconceivable from a political standpoint; it would be extremely violent. If it already is when the flow is only 10, 80 million migrants, what will it be like when it’s 3 billion? What will the world be like when the lands of our countries’ major cities become uninhabitable? What will society be like? Will there be democracy or barbarism?” he questioned.
War and double standards
Towards the end of his speech, Petro also criticized the “double standards” in reference to the Ukraine war. He pointed at those who call for a united front to end the Russian invasion of Ukraine but “sabotage” the possibility of doing the same regarding the “illegal occupation of Palestine.”
“I would ask the G77 to also address the issue of war. Not because we have to take sides between Russia and Ukraine but to compare two situations explicitly in today’s global debate. What is the difference between the war in Russia and Ukraine and the one in Israel and Palestine?” he asked.
In this regard, Petro invited the G77+China to propose “two immediate peace conferences to the United Nations and the world powers” for both wars. He emphasized that the climate crisis represents “a peace conference on the war in Ukraine” and a simultaneous peace conference on the Israeli occupation of Palestine.