G20 to discuss COVID-19 vaccine access for low-income countries

G20 to discuss COVID-19 vaccine access for low-income countries

While the global economy is recovering from the depths of the Covid-19 crisis, 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.

The Nov. 21-22, 2020, Group of 20 summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, will be held online this year because of the coronavirus.

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. The group's member-countries represent around 85% of the world's economic output and three-quarters of worldwide trade.

Boris Johnson will urge G20 leaders to take more ambitious action to defeat the Covid pandemic and address climate change, saying: "Our fates are in each other's hands".

Johnson plans to attend two virtual events at the summit while self-isolating at home in London after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro, who spent months downplaying the severity of the virus while deaths mounted rapidly inside Brazil, said in a video message ahead of the summit that cooperation within the G-20 is key to overcoming the pandemic.

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

Saudi G20 Presidency | PRNews
Saudi G20 Presidency | PRNews

"There is a lack of participation from private creditors, and we strongly encourage them to participate on comparable terms when requested by eligible countries", it said.

After his moment in the virtual limelight, Trump was substituted by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as the other world leaders had their say.

The gathering brought backlash from Saudi and global human rights groups - as well as some US and European lawmakers - calling on world leaders to boycott or downgrade their representation over the kingdom's abuses, including jailings of women activists and the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

While G-20 countries have contributed billions of dollars toward developing a vaccine for the virus, they have also mostly focused on securing their own vaccine supplies.

"I am confident that the Riyadh summit will deliver significant and decisive results and will lead to adopting economic and social policies that will restore hope and reassurance to the people of the world, " King Salman said.

World leaders will spend most of their time discussing global efforts for a large-scale roll out of Covid-19 vaccines after a breakthrough in trials, and address the need to plug a $4.5 billion funding gap in the so-called ACT-Accelerator - a programme that promotes an equitable distribution of the vaccines. The United States has declined to join under Trump.

The G20 launched the DSSI in April to address the immediate liquidity needs of low-income countries, allowing the debt service payments due from May 1 to the end of the year owed by the most impoverished countries to be suspended.

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