The leaders of the world's major economies endorsed a 15% global minimum corporate tax as they gathered in Italy this weekend as Rome hosts its first G20 summit.
The global health crisis, economic recovery, and climate change at the top of this year's agenda with delegates discussing in particular how to reduce the inequalities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the uneven rollout of vaccines.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi welcomed world leaders on Saturday at the Nuvola Convention Centre in the Italian capital’s EUR neighbourhood.
"It is clear that multilateralism is the best answer to the problems that we face today. In many ways it is the only possible answer. From the pandemic, to climate change, to fair and equitable taxation, going it alone is simply not an option," said Draghi in his opening speech at the G20.
He added that the difference in COVID-19 vaccination levels between high-income and low-income countries was "morally unacceptable and undermine the global recovery."
US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, hailed the approval of a global minimum corporate tax, which was widely expected after finance ministers endorsed the move in July.
"Here at the G20, leaders representing 80% of the world’s GDP – allies and competitors alike – made clear their support for a strong global minimum tax. This is more than just a tax deal – it’s diplomacy reshaping our global economy and delivering for our people," Biden tweeted.
The summit comes on the eve of the UN's climate change conference, the COP26, which starts on Monday in Glasgow. Italy and others hope world leaders will set a deadline to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said ahead of the summit that the world was "careening towards climate catastrophe" and that "we need more ambition and more action and that will only be possible with a massive mobilisation of political will and that requires trust among the key actors."
"The most important objective of this G20 summit must be to reestablish trust," Guterres added at a press conference.
High security as leaders gather in Rome
Organising the first in-person summit of the world’s largest economies since the start of the coronavirus emergency brings a lot of responsibilities, which includes tight security.
Rome security chiefs sealed off a 10-square kilometre area of the capital's EUR district.
The government says the summit will take place under "maximum security", with a "red zone" extending between the Nuvola and the nearby Palazzo dei Congressi constantly monitored by helicopters, snipers, and drones.
Around 2,000 police officers and 500 soldiers have been deployed for the two-day event, not only to secure the area but also to monitor any other sensitive sites including critical government buildings and foreign embassy headquarters.
Italy’s intelligence agency has been monitoring online activity on social media platforms to check whether there will be unauthorised protests.
Only the rallies that have been classified as "safe" were given the go-ahead provided that they will be staged far away from the location of the summit.
For the duration of the event, Rome's airspace will be monitored by the army, with a no-fly zone over most of the capital and border controls reintroduced.