International events this past week saw the Asia-Pacific, ASEAN, G-20, US-China and COP-27 Summits open and close, all five global events starting and ending before the FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar, while votes were still being counted in the US midterm elections, as voters voted in elections in Malaysia and Nepal, while Kazakhstan announced a snap election – and New Zealand announced it will consider whether to reduce the voting age from 18 to 16.
As would be expected, the fighting between Ukraine and Russia was treated as the top topic at all the summits as G-7 and G-20 leaders pressed Asian and Pacific nations – and the rest of the world — to join in their common goal of condemning Russia for all the world’s ills, including a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile that landed in Poland and killed two people.
Poland, the US and NATO all said their intelligence proved it was a Ukrainian missile that had missed its mark — and not a Russian bomb, as claimed by Kyiv.
But despite friendly forces maintaining it was ‘unintentional’, Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky insisted they were all wrong – and spokespersons for the G7 (the world’s seven richest nations) eventually collectively but quietly concluding that ‘If Russia hadn’t invaded Ukraine’ none of that would have happened.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APEC) and Association opf Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summits ended on quiet notes regarding the crucial economic and social issues facing the Asia-Pacific region.
APEC Finance ministers met in Thailand for two days (November 16-17) ahead of the November 19-20 Summit but ended-up having the region’s economic agenda hijacked by the Ukraine conflict, resulting in disagreement on the wording of a final statement, most Asia-Pacific ministers objecting to the inclusion of ‘political language’ in the communique.
As a result, it was left to the host minister to issue a statement.
According to Japan’s Nikkei Asia on Monday, Thai Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said: “Uneven recoveries between and within economies, particularly disruptions in investment, tourism and services, may result in widening global inequality” and “Varying views were expressed on the heightened macroeconomic challenges, including energy and food prices volatility, which are consequential of the prevailing situation.”
According to the November 21 report: “Finance ministers looked to shift from broad-stroke pandemic support to targeted investments that would raise productivity and promote sustainable growth industries. Many expressed concerns about spillover effects from China’s slowing growth and cooling property sector, given China’s role as top trade partner for many APEC economies… But Ukraine remains a major sticking point…”
In the end, most of these pressing issues ended-up on the summit agenda’s back burner, with the leaders falling in line with European and American external agenda and focusing more on Ukraine and attacking Russia.
Following the APEC Summit, the G-20 in Bali, Indonesia was the last chance for the richest nations to together club Russia on the head.
After the Bali meeting, the next stop was the COP-27 environment and Climate Change Summit in Sharm El Shaik, where again, the richest nations played yet another round of hardball on the issue of agreeing to fund a ‘Loss and Damage’ scheme to help small island and developing states that have been ravaged by Climate Change over the past three decades, thanks to the industrialization and other contributing processes of the richest developed nations.
The world’s major polluters have for long been stalling on delivering on their promises to help small nations, most recently with delivery of COVID vaccines to the poorest nations — and now they’ve agreed to another promise to help nations devastated by Climate Change to recover through the yet-to-be-determined ‘Loss and Damage Fund’, they’ve however refused to agree to limit fossil fuel emissions.
As things stand today, the rich nations are more likely to plead ‘Guilty with explanation’ by citing the inflation and recession woes being faced in the US and Europe and the 2022 experiences that have seen the world face and feel the worst in climate and environment disasters – forest fires and heatwaves alongside heavy rains and monsoon floods, rivers running dry and people virtually roasting to death or being washed away by water, all like never before.
But in the midst of it all, the world’s population reached eight billion on November 15 — up from seven billion in 2011, meaning, more mouths to feed in many more places at a time when food and grain distribution to the poorest and most needy in Africa is being weaponized by different nations.
Yet, the emphasis of the coverage by the traditional mainstream international media continued to undermine and understate the impacts of the growing world economic and climate crises on developing countries, by casting dark shadows over the developing nations hosting the economic and climate summits — and the FIFA World Cup Finals.
Cambodia and Thailand, as hosts of the ASEAN and APEC summits, were described as somehow being unworthy of such honors because of the supposed political isolation of their governments, due to the military background of current rulers.
As Egypt hosted the COP 27 meeting, BBC reported ‘a special investigation’ had revealed that ‘toxic’ gases were being discharged into the sea ‘meters away’ from the Sharm El Shaik location where the meeting was taking place; and that Brazil’s incoming President ‘Lula’, who’s pledged to restore environmental respect for The Amazon, arrived by a jet liner that contributed to carbon emissions that worsen the climate — as if every other leader from outside Egypt came by horseback!
And just a day ahead of the opening of the Soccer/Football World Cup Final in Qatar, BBC reported that another ‘special investigation’ had found that many ‘migrant workers’ had ‘died’ during construction of the impressive stadia and other facilities built ahead of the first FIFA tournament of its kind to be held in a developing country.