Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies will debate this weekend on how to deal with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that has triggered a global recession and how to handle the recovery once the coronavirus is under control.
The procurement and global distribution of vaccines, drugs and tests for low-income countries that cannot afford such expenses themselves are among the priorities of the G20 meeting. The European Union will urge the G20 on Saturday to invest 4.5 billion US dollars to help it.
“The main theme will be to step up global cooperation to deal with the pandemic,” said a senior G20 official involved in the preparations for the two-day summit, chaired by Saudi Arabia and held virtually due to the pandemic.
In his opening remarks to G20 leaders, the 84-year-old Saudi ruler King Salman bin Abdulaziz underscored the need for equitable access to tools to fight COVID-19, including vaccines.
“We must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all people. At the same time, we must better prepare for any future pandemic,” he told the group via a video link. .
International Treaty on Pandemics
To prepare for the future, the EU will propose a treaty on pandemics.
“An international treaty would help us to react more quickly and in a more coordinated way”, declared Sunday the president of the European leaders, Charles Michel, at the G20.
As the global economy recovers from the depths of the crisis early this year, momentum slows in countries with rising infection rates, recovery is patchy and the pandemic is likely to leave deep scars , the International Monetary Fund said in a report for the G20 Summit.
Poor and heavily indebted countries of the developing world are particularly vulnerable, which “are on the verge of financial ruin and escalating poverty, hunger and untold suffering,” the United Nations Secretary-General said on Friday. , Antonio Guterres.
Debt relief for developing countries
To address this, the G20 will approve a plan to extend a debt service moratorium for developing countries by six months until mid-2021, with the possibility of a further extension, a draft statement from the government said. G20 as seen by Reuters.
European members of the G20 are likely to push for more.
“Further debt relief is needed,” Michel told reporters on Friday.
Africa’s debt relief will be an important theme of Italy’s G20 presidency in 2021.
Trade and climate change
European G20 countries will also seek new impetus for stalled reform of the World Trade Organization, hoping to capitalize on the upcoming change of US administration.
“We must also continue to support the global economy and reopen our economies and our borders to facilitate the mobility of trade and people,” King Salman said.
Earlier on Saturday, Saudi Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih said this year’s crisis had highlighted the importance of multilateral organizations.
“The G20, its essence, activates multilateralism, and of course this has taken a step back in recent years,” Falih said.
Outgoing US President Donald Trump has preferred bilateral trade deals to working through international bodies.
The American change of direction also gives rise to hope for a more concerted effort at the level of the G20 to fight against climate change.
Like the EU, already half of the G20 members – including Japan, China, South Korea and South Africa – plan to become climate-wise or at least carbon-neutral by 2050 or shortly after.
Under Trump, the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement on climate change, but the decision will likely be overturned by President-elect Joe Biden.
“We expect, of course, new momentum from the new US administration on this issue, thanks to the president-elect’s statement that the US will once again join the Paris Agreement,” said the president of the European Commission. , Ursula von der Leyen.
To help re-finance the fight against climate change, the EU will push for the G20 to agree on common global standards on what constitutes a “green” investment.
This would help attract the massive private investment needed as many investment funds are eager to invest in environmentally sustainable projects, but there is no agreed way to select them. The EU is already working on such standards to put them in place by 2022.