G20 leaders united to tackle pandemic, economic challenges
They agreed to make Covid-19 vaccines available and affordable for allEuropost , Brussels
Following the two days G20 Summit held online on 21 and 22 November, leaders adopted the G20 Riyadh Declaration to address common global challenges. In it, they pledged that they are “committed to leading the world in shaping a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive post-Covid-19 era”.
They addressed the way forward how to tackle together the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, finance the development and deployment of a vaccine as well as continue the support to citizens and businesses struggling to cope with the aftermath of the pandemic.
On Covid-19, the EU championed a multilateral solution to the coronavirus pandemic. EU leaders called on the G20 to uphold and deepen its commitment to fight the Covid-19 crisis, notably by ensuring the affordable and equitable access for all people of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. The Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative and its COVAX facility are the main tools to do so.
In view to the climate change, the summit agreed on a unified paragraph in the G20 Riyadh Declaration, after three consecutive G20 Summits where such consensus could not be reached. EU leaders urged all G20 members to work towards the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. The EU also promoted a recovery based on green, inclusive, sustainable, resilient and digital growth in line with the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.
On debt relief for the most fragile countries, leaders reconfirmed their support through the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative that will provide debt relief and free resources to fight the pandemic. They committed to implementing the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) including its extension through June 2021. EU leaders stressed that additional steps might be needed, and the summit endorsed a common multilateral framework for further debt treatments.
In regard to trade and taxation of the digital economy, leaders recalled their support to the WTO reform process in the lead up to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference and recognized the contribution that the Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the WTO has made. They also agreed to strive to find a consensus-based solution for a globally fair, sustainable, and modern international tax system by mid-2021, built on the ongoing work of the OECD.
At the 15th G20 leaders' summit the EU was represented by EC President Ursula von der Leyen, and President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
I am glad that G20 leaders agreed to make Covid-19 vaccines available and affordable for all, said President von der Leyen said noting that more funding is needed. This is why I called G20 leaders to commit to fund $4.5bn for the ACT-Accelerator by the end of the year. G20 leaders also agreed to maintain economic measures until the recovery is firmly on the way. As a lesson from the crisis we need to step up global preparedness,” she said.
Von der Leyen specified that the topic will be discussed again in May 2021 at the joint G20 Global Health Summit in Italy. To build back a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient world we also need to step up actions to fight climate change. “The EU leads the way to climate neutrality by 2050 and many G20 partners now have taken the same commitments.”
G20 leaders also discussed how to build back better and pave the way for an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future. President Michel pointed out that Covid-19 has come as a surprise to many, but it is not the first global pandemic. “And sadly, it will not be the last. Looking ahead, the global community has to be better prepared for pandemics. An international Treaty on Pandemics could help us respond more quickly and in a more coordinated manner when they occur. It should be negotiated with all UN organizations and agencies, in particular the WHO. The WHO must remain the cornerstone of global coordination against health emergencies.”
Leaders also discussed a number of other crucial global issues such as the economic recovery, the reform of the WTO, the taxation of the digital economy and how to support low-income countries.