G20 leaders pledge to fund equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines

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On Sunday, leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies will pledge to pay for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests across the world so that the poorest countries are not left behind and Give them debt relief, a draft G20 press release showed. .”We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access to all, in line with members’ commitments to encourage innovation,” the leaders said in the draft G20 statement, seen by Reuters. “We recognize the role of extensive immunization as a global public good. “

Leaders at the virtual summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, said the global economy was starting to recover, but the recovery remained “uneven, very uncertain and subject to high downside risks.”

Leaders pledged to continue to use all available policy tools for as long as needed to save lives, jobs and incomes, and they encouraged multilateral development banks to step up their efforts to help countries cope. to the crisis.

The European Union has requested US $ 4.5 billion by the end of the year from the G20 to pay for tools to fight COVID-19 for the poorest countries.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, second from right, and other officials in Berlin are attending Saturday’s G20 meeting. (Document Guido Bergmann / BPA via Reuters)

The project also calls on private creditors to join the debt service moratorium, which the G20 wants to extend until mid-2021 and possibly longer, and approves a common framework to address debt problems in the US. of the.

“There is a lack of participation of private creditors, and we strongly encourage them to participate on terms comparable to the request of eligible countries,” he said.

The leaders also recognized the specific challenges facing African countries and small island developing states, reflecting the growing recognition that even some middle-income countries may need debt relief due to the pandemic. .

Keen to be better prepared for any potential pandemic that may arise, G20 leaders also said they would commit to “advancing preparedness, prevention, detection and response to a global pandemic” and “to continue to share timely, transparent and standardized data and information ”.

Bolder on trade, climate

As Democrat Joe Biden – an avowed multilateralist – prepares to replace Donald Trump as President of the United States in two months, the G20 statement struck a bolder tone on international trade, climate change and the role of the World Health Organization.

Trump, who favored bilateral deals, cut backing for multilateral institutions such as the World Trade Organization and this year threatened to leave the World Health Organization unless it is reformed. His administration had also previously blocked references to climate change in G20 communiques.

> G20 statement.

The G20 also said members will look for a way to tax international tech giants, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft, to pay their fair share of taxes.

The internet giants have benefited greatly from the shift to telecommuting imposed on the global economy by the pandemic, and European countries have long pushed to tax them where they make their profits, rather than where they establish their subsidiaries at tax optimization purposes. But the initiative has so far been blocked by the Trump administration.

The impending change of guard at the White House also appeared to unlock bolder G20 language on climate change.

“Prevention of environmental degradation, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of biodiversity, preservation of our oceans, promotion of clean air and clean water, response to natural disasters and extreme weather events, and tackling climate change are among the most pressing challenges of our time, ”the G20 draft declaration said.

“As we recover from the pandemic, we are committed to protecting our planet and building a more environmentally friendly and inclusive future for all.

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