G20 leaders said on Sunday they would “spare no effort” to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines around the world and support poor countries whose economies have been ravaged by the crisis.
As the pandemic rages on, the club of the world’s richest nations adopted a unified tone on the challenges ahead at a virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia said “the spirit of cooperation” is now needed “more than ever to face the impact of the pandemic and create a prosperous future for people around the world”.
But after a weekend of “digital diplomacy,” their closing statement lacked details on many of the issues that dominated the discussions.
“We have mobilized resources to meet immediate funding needs in the area of global health to support the research, development, manufacture and distribution of safe and effective Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines,” said they stated in the statement.
“We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access to all.”
As richer countries plan their immunization programs, with the United States planning to launch it in early December, experts warn developing countries face obstacles that could deprive billions of billions of people of the first proven protection against the virus.
Calls are growing for the G20 to help close a $ 4.5 billion funding gap in the so-called ACT-Accelerator, a mechanism led by the World Health Organization that aims to ensure access to healthcare. tests, treatments and vaccines for all.
In a comment echoed by other leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that the coronavirus crisis was “a test for the G20”, stressing that “there will be no effective response to the pandemic unless let it be a global response. “
However, the final statement did not specify how the massive cost of the exercise would be guaranteed.
The unusual format of the summit, in place of an actual meeting that coronavirus restrictions made impossible, produced awkward interactions and deprived Saudi Arabia of an opportunity to show off on the international stage.
US President Donald Trump made a cameo appearance at the opening session, praising his administration’s achievements on the coronavirus before logging out and playing golf, while other leaders braved technical quirks and lack opportunities for spontaneous interactions.
The mercurial president made another coup on Sunday, defending his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, calling it “unjust and one-sided” and intended to kill “the American economy”.
In the statement, however, the group adopted a consensus position on climate change, reiterating its support for addressing “pressing” environmental challenges.
The differences within the G20 were made public at last year’s summit in the Japanese city of Osaka, when the United States demanded the insertion of a separate paragraph on issues such as protecting the ‘environment.
G20 countries have contributed more than $ 21 billion to fight the pandemic, which has infected 56 million people worldwide and claimed 1.3 million lives, and injected $ 11 trillion to support the global economy by difficulty, summit organizers said.
But the group faces growing pressure to help avoid possible credit defaults among developing countries, as their debt soars amid the economic disaster caused by the virus.
He extended a Debt Service Suspension (DSSI) initiative for developing countries until June of next year, but UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a commitment to extend it until the end of 2021.
The press release did not offer a firm guarantee, a result that is sure to disappoint activists.
Instead, G20 finance ministers will consider the recommendation when the IMF and World Bank meet next spring “if the economic and financial situation demands” a further six-month extension, they said.
With the world in disarray after months of border closures and lockdowns, the group also adopted a unified tone on trade, saying supporting a multilateral system “is now more important than ever.”
“We strive to achieve the goal of a free, fair, inclusive, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable business and investment environment, and to keep our markets open,” the statement said.
Saudi Arabia’s human rights record has cast a shadow over the rally, as activists and the families of jailed activists launch vigorous campaigns to highlight the issue.
But the problem barely appeared over the weekend, with Western officials saying they prefer to use bilateral forums to discuss the matter with Riyadh.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by The Bharat Express News staff and is posted Platforms.)