But the annual schedule of multilateral meetings has been derailed by the coronavirus pandemic. The United Nations General Assembly, which usually brings 10,000 diplomats and scores of world leaders to Manhattan, was held virtually earlier this month.
As with the UN, the absence of an in-person G-20 summit will preclude the personal encounters among world leaders that sometimes offer glimmers of progress to seemingly intractable crises.
Saudi Arabia’s leadership of the G-20 is set to expire at the end of November. Italy will take over the secretariat on December 1 and responsibility for hosting next year’s gathering of world leaders – if the pandemic allows.