Published: Sun, November 22, 2020
Economy | By

G-20 Summit Opens With Calls For United Response To Pandemic

G-20 Summit Opens With Calls For United Response To Pandemic

Saudi Arabia, which assumed the G20 presidency this year, is the host of the virtual summit that is bringing together leaders from the world's richest and most developed economies, such as the US, China, India, Turkey, France, the United Kingdom and Brazil, among others.

High on the agenda are purchases and global distribution of vaccines, drugs and tests for low-income countries that can not afford such expenses themselves.

The European Union has called for $4.5 billion by the end of the year from the G20 to pay for COVID-19 fighting tools for poorer countries. It will propose a treaty on pandemics.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed ways of enhancing ties with King Salman of Saudi Arabia in a rare phone call since the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

With progress being made in developing a vaccine, King Salman said G-20 countries "must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all peoples".

The pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.37 million lives worldwide, has offered the G-20 an opportunity to prove how such bodies can facilitate global cooperation in crises - but has also underscored their shortcomings.

In a comment echoed by other leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron said Saturday that the coronavirus crisis was "a test for the G20", stressing there "will be no effective response to the pandemic unless it is a global response".

"We may bridge differences through dialogue, resolve disputes through negotiation, and make a joint effort for world peace and development", Mr. Xi said in remarks in the backdrop of the over six-month-long military standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh.

"An worldwide treaty would help us respond more quickly and in a more coordinated manner", European Council President Charles Michel told the G20.


World Bank President David Malpass warned the G20 that failing to provide more permanent debt relief to some countries now could lead to increased poverty and a repeat of the disorderly defaults of the 1980s.

Trump, who favored bilateral deals, has reduced support for multilateral institutions like the World Trade Organization, and this year threatened to quit the World Health Organization unless it was reformed.

"From the very beginning, we have emphasized that we should take care of people's health and of the economy at the same time".

US President Donald Trump's robust "America first" trade policy has rankled world leaders.

Under Trump, the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Agreement on fighting climate change, but the decision is likely to be reversed by President-elect Biden.

Von der Leyen also added that she expected consensus and a "new momentum from the new USA administration" on climate change, and a reversal of Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

The EU is already working on such standards, and plans to have them in place by 2022.

This would help attract the massive private investment needed because many investment funds are keen to invest in environmentally sustainable projects, but there is no agreed way of selecting them.

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