Leaders of the 20 biggest world economies (G20) will debate this weekend how to deal with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that has caused a global recession and how to manage the recovery once the coronavirus is under control, APA reports citing Reuters.
High on the agenda are purchases and global distribution of vaccines, drugs and tests for low-income countries that cannot afford such expenses themselves. The European Union will urge the G20 on Saturday to invest $4.5 billion to help.
“The main theme will be to step up global cooperation to address the pandemic,” said a senior G20 official taking part in the preparations for the two-day summit, chaired by Saudi Arabia and held virtually because of the pandemic.
In his opening remarks to G20 leaders, 84-year-old Saudi ruler King Salman bin Abdulaziz stressed the need for equitable access to the tools to combat COVID-19, including vaccines.
“We must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all peoples. At the same time, we must prepare better for any future pandemic,” he told the group via video link.
To prepare for the future, the EU will propose a treaty on pandemics.
“An international treaty would help us respond more quickly and in a more coordinated manner,” the chairman of EU leaders Charles Michel will tell the G20 on Sunday.
While the global economy is recovering from the depths of the crisis earlier this year, momentum is slowing in countries with resurging infection rates, the recovery is uneven and the pandemic is likely to leave deep scars, the International Monetary Fund said in a report for the G20 summit.
Especially vulnerable are poor and highly indebted countries in the developing world, which are “on the precipice of financial ruin and escalating poverty, hunger and untold suffering”, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday.
To address this, the G20 will endorse a plan to extend a debt servicing moratorium for developing countries by six months to mid-2021, with a possibility of a further extension, said a draft G20 communique seen by Reuters.
European members of the G20 are likely to push for more.
“More debt relief is needed,” Michel told reporters on Friday.
Debt relief for Africa will be an important theme of the Italian presidency of the G20 in 2021.