G20 to back ‘equitable’ access to coronavirus vaccine: Report

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G20 leaders will pledge to “spare no effort” to ensure the equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines around the world and will reaffirm their support for poor indebted countries, according to a draft press release seen by AFP on Sunday.

Leaders also adopted a unified tone in support of “multilateral” trade as well as the global fight against climate change, but the closing document lacks firm details on many issues that dominate the virtual summit hosted by Riyadh.

The two-day meeting that began on Saturday comes as international efforts intensify for a large-scale deployment of coronavirus vaccines after a breakthrough in trials, and as the EU and other leaders call on countries of the G20 to close a financing gap of $ 4.5 billion.

“We have mobilized resources to meet immediate funding needs in global health to support research, development, manufacture and distribution of safe and effective Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines,” the project says. document.

“We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access to all, in accordance with members’ commitments to encourage innovation.”

The press release did not provide any details on how the effort will be funded.

There could be changes in the final version of the document, which will be released later Sunday by the Saudi hosts.

In a comment echoed by other world 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 in unless it is a global response ”.

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 “save” the economy world ravaged by viruses, summit organizers said.

But group executives face growing pressure to help avoid possible credit defaults in developing countries.

G20 countries have extended a Debt Service Suspension (DSSI) initiative for developing countries until June of next year, but UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been pushing for it. ‘he undertakes to extend it until the end of 2021.

The draft press release did not, however, offer a firm commitment.

G20 finance ministers will consider the recommendation when the IMF and World Bank meet next spring “if economic and financial conditions so require,” an extension for another six months, he said.

– Closing of rows on the climate –

On trade, the club of the richest nations in the world also stressed that 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.

Ahead of the summit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she hoped the United States would take a more multilateral stance under Joe Biden’s new administration.

US President Donald Trump’s strong “America First” trade policy has beaten world leaders.

Von der Leyen also added that she expected consensus and “new momentum from the new US administration” on climate change, and a reversal of Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

Differences within the G20 group surfaced at last year’s summit in the Japanese city of Osaka as the United States demanded the insertion of a separate paragraph on issues such as protection of the ‘environment.

But under the Saudi presidency, G20 leaders projected a unified position, with the draft statement reiterating their support for tackling “pressing” environmental challenges.

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