Part 3: Undermining Developing Nations
INTERNATIONAL events this past week saw the Asia-Pacific, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (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.
This all happened 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 situation 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 to come to common ground on the way forward.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APEC) and Association of South East 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 situation, resulting in disagreement on the wording of a final statement. Most Asia-Pacific ministers objected 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 newspaper 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”.
“Varying views were expressed on the heightened macroeconomic challenges, including energy and food prices volatility, which are consequential of the prevailing situation,” the Thai finance minister added.
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.
The world’s major polluters have agreed 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.
But in the midst of it all, the world’s population reached eight billion on November 15—up from seven billion in 2011.
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.