G20 to discuss post-pandemic world and support debt relief

© Reuters. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hosts virtual press conference from his New York office ahead of annual G20 World Leaders Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

By Jan Strupczewski

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies (G20) will debate this weekend on how to deal with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that has triggered a global recession and how to handle the recovery a times the coronavirus under control.

The global procurement and distribution of vaccines, drugs and tests for low-income countries that cannot afford such expenses themselves is the order of the day. The European Union will urge the G20 on Saturday to invest $ 4.5 billion to help it.

“The main theme will be to step up global cooperation to deal with the pandemic,” said a senior G20 official involved in the preparations for the two-day summit, chaired by Saudi Arabia and held virtually due to the pandemic.

To prepare for the future, the EU will propose a treaty on pandemics.

“An international treaty would help us to react more quickly and in a more coordinated way”, declared Sunday the president of the European leaders, Charles Michel, at the G20.

As the global economy recovers from the depths of the crisis early this year, momentum slows in countries with rising infection rates, recovery is patchy and the pandemic is likely to leave deep scars , the International Monetary Fund said in a report for the G20 Summit.

Poor and heavily indebted countries of the developing world are particularly vulnerable, which “are on the brink of financial ruin and escalating poverty, hunger and untold suffering,” the United Nations Secretary-General said on Friday. , Antonio Guterres.

To address this, the G20 will approve a plan to extend a debt service moratorium for developing countries by six months until mid-2021, with the possibility of a further extension, a draft statement from the government said. G20 as seen by Reuters.

European members of the G20 are likely to push for more.

“Further debt relief is needed,” Michel told reporters on Friday.

Africa’s debt relief will be a major theme of Italy’s G20 presidency in 2021.


European G20 countries will also seek new momentum in stalled reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in the hope of capitalizing on the upcoming change of US administration. Outgoing President Donald Trump has preferred bilateral trade deals to working through international bodies.

The change in US leadership also raises hopes for a more concerted effort at the G20 level to fight climate change.

Like the European Union, already half of the G20 members, including Japan, China, South Korea and South Africa, plan to become climate-neutral or at least carbon-neutral by 2050 or soon after.

Under Trump, the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement on climate change, but the decision will likely be overturned by President-elect Joe Biden.

“We expect, of course, new momentum from the new US administration on this issue, thanks to the president-elect’s declaration that the US will once again join the Paris Agreement,” said the president of the European Commission. , Ursula von der Leyen.

To help re-finance the fight against climate change, the EU will push the G20 to agree on common global standards on what constitutes a ‘green’ investment.

This would help attract the massive private investment needed as many investment funds are eager to invest in environmentally sustainable projects, but there is no agreed way to select them. The EU is already working on such standards with the aim of putting them in place by 2022.


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