Emma Marcegaglia, Chair of the Business 20 (B20): "Russia is one of the key drivers of international cooperation"
16 September 2021 00:00:00

The "B20 - Russia" online business dialogue took place on 7 September 2021. It was organised by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) together with the Italian presidency at the B20.

The event was moderated by RSPP President Alexander Shokhin.

The main topic of the dialogue was "The Contribution of Global Governance Institutions to Post-Crisis Development". Heads of major companies and business associations, as well as government representatives, discussed draft B20 recommendations for G20 leaders relating to finance and infrastructure, digital transformation and health.

The role of global governance institutions, such as the G20, in developing coordinated solutions to new global challenges related to the pandemic, particularly relating to health, digital transformation, finance and infrastructure, was highlighted.

Another important challenge for the global community is laying the foundation for achieving sustainable development goals and maintaining IHR in the context of achieving UN SDGs.

Participants noted that all barriers to economic and business cooperation in all spheres must be removed if SDGs are to be met. Furthermore, recommendations and approaches to cooperation proposed by the B20 to strengthen integration processes in the Eurasian space were noted as promising.

RSPP President Alexander Shokhin noted that the B20-Russia Dialogue was a continuation of the regular B20 Regional Consultation Forum traditionally organised by the RSPP together with the B20 chair at SPIEF since 2014.

He thanked B20 Chair Emma Marcegaglia for offering Russian businesses the opportunity to actively participate in the work of the Task Forces as part of the Italian presidency, stressing that the Italian B20 presidency came at a difficult time, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He recalled that the worsening crisis in the world economy triggered by the pandemic, demonstrated the importance of coordinated multilateral cooperation to deal with its impact.

"The G20 and its engagement groups, led by the Business 20 (B20), play a pivotal role in developing and coordinating effective policies that reflect the interests of all actors in the international community and help to create conditions for sustainable economic and social development worldwide."

The RSPP President noted that the inclusion of health and natural sciences in the B20 agenda was a feature of the Italian presidency.

According to Alexander Shokhin, the G20 needs to ensure sustainable economic development in the post-pandemic years and address the issue of vaccines: "We have until the end of the year to take a major step towards the mutual recognition of vaccines, and this will ensure that less affluent countries around the world gain access to vaccines."

He added: "Without constructive cooperation, it is impossible to address the digital and infrastructure gaps - problems that have become particularly acute amid the pandemic. For example, according to even pre-crisis AIIB estimates, the investment gap in digital infrastructure alone will be $974 billion by 2040. And the G20/OECD estimates that the world is facing a $15 trillion infrastructure gap by 2040."

In his speech, Alexey Overchuk, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, emphasised the importance of the B20-Russia Dialogue in raising the awareness of Russian and Eurasian authorities and the public about progress made. He also expressed support for the work of the RSPP in holding such events.

Svetlana Lukash, Russian G20 Sherpa, Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Experts Directorate and Chair of the Interdepartmental Committee to Facilitate Russia’s Participation in the G20, stressed that, due to the mechanisms of engagement with all social groups, including the B20, the G20 remains the main international institution for coordinating global efforts in crisis management and the global economic recovery.

She expressed her support for the Italian presidency in promoting multilateral cooperation to combat the pandemic and its consequences. Svetlana Lukash highlighted the priorities for the G20 agenda:

  • health,
  • trade,
  • the climate,
  • aid to developing countries,
  • and support for multilateral approaches in global governance.

B20 Chair and Vice-President of Marcegaglia Steel S.p.A., Emma Marcegaglia, noted that the B20-Russia Business Dialogue provided the second opportunity in 2021 to promote the priorities of the Italian presidency to Russian governmental and business representatives following the B20 Regional Consultation Forum at SPIEF 2021.

She stressed that the Russian Federation is one of the key drivers of structural international cooperation.

She highlighted the fact that in recent years the business communities of different countries have failed to make significant progress in combating emerging threats. The B20 therefore believes that it is a priority to reshape cooperative structures to address global challenges and to promote the fight against coronavirus in developing countries, including through vaccination programmes.

According to Emma Marcegaglia, Italy is showing its readiness for such cooperation. The purchase of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and its production in a European country is currently under discussion. Italian colleagues are encouraging other countries to follow suit.

Roberto Scrivo, vice-chair of the B20 Digital Transformation Task Force, highlighted the importance of government and public sector confidence in digital transformation.

Viktor Vekselberg, member of the RSPP Management Board, Chairman of the RSPP International Cooperation Committee, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), Member of the B20 Action Council on Sustainability and Global Emergencies, and Member of the B20 Digital Transformation Task Force, spoke about the increased role of digital platforms in bridging the digital divide.

He highlighted the importance of PPPs in developing state-business cooperation for security and promoting digital literacy among citizens. He also proposed developing proposals in digitalisation developed within the B20 in the course of cooperation in the bilateral Russian-Italian format.

Bella Cherkesova, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation, spoke about the outcome of the G20 ministerial meeting on digital transformation.

Hugo Doyle, chair of the relevant B20 Task Force and CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo, highlighted the "positive impacts of the pandemic", which included accelerating a shared understanding of the importance of sustainable development and changing the digital infrastructure and its technological components.

He highlighted four key recommendations reflected in the final task force document: sustainable financing and economic inclusion; financing sustainable infrastructure; building engines of growth and a global regulatory environment.

Dmitry Pristanskov, Vice-President of Norilsk Nickel and member of the B20 Finance and Infrastructure Task Force, said in his presentation that the main challenge for the global community was to create a foundation for achieving sustainable development goals.

Sergio Dompé, Chair of the B20 Health and Life Sciences Task Force and Vice-President for Natural Sciences at Assolombarda, spoke about the work of the task force and the results achieved. "There is a need to reprioritise health in light of scientific advances, technology and investment. Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases are very pressing issues. It is necessary to assess measures and on the basis of the assessments to build a sustainable and flexible healthcare system, which will be able to cope with the challenges of the modern world.

He highlighted the potential for cooperation with the Russian Federation in vaccination efforts in Europe, noting the significant success of the vaccination of the San Marino population with the Sputnik V vaccine.

Oleg Salagay, Deputy Minister of Health of the Russian Federation, stressed the need for a global approach to coordinate the fight against the spread of coronavirus using the latest developments in digitalisation. He highlighted the importance of implementing corporate employee health programmes and the role of cooperation with the RSPP in this regard.