G20 to discuss post-pandemic world, give back debt relief

Dubai: Leaders of the 20 largest world economies (G20) will discuss this weekend how to deal with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that caused a global recession and how to manage the recovery once the coronavirus is under control.

High on the agenda are purchases and worldwide distribution of vaccines, medicines and tests for low-income countries that cannot afford such expenses themselves. The European Union will call on the G20 on Saturday to invest $ 4.5 billion to help.

“The main theme will be to intensify global cooperation to address the pandemic,” said a senior G20 official who took part in the preparations for the two-day summit, chaired by Saudi Arabia and held virtually as a result. of the pandemic.

Pandemic Treaty

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

“An international treaty will help us to respond faster and in a more coordinated way,” EU President Charles Michel told the G20 on Sunday.

While the world economy recovered from the depths of the crisis earlier this year, momentum is declining in countries with an increase in 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.

Particularly vulnerable are poor countries with a large debt in the developing world, which is ‘on the brink of financial ruin and increasing poverty, hunger and innumerable suffering’, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday.

To address this, the G20 will endorse a plan to extend a moratorium on debt service to developing countries until six months to mid-2021, with the possibility of a further extension, reads a draft G20 communication that Reuters saw.

European members of the G20 are likely to push harder.

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

Debt relief for Africa will be a major theme of the 2021 G20 Italian presidency.

Trade and climate change

European countries in the G20 will also try to gain new impetus for the entrenched reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the hope of benefiting from the forthcoming change of the US government.

The outgoing president, Donald Trump, has preferred bilateral trade deals by working international bodies.

The change in US leadership also raises hopes for a more active effort at G20 level to combat climate change.

Following the example of the European Union, half of the G20 members, including Japan, China, South Korea and South Africa, plan to become climate- or at least carbon-neutral by 2050 or shortly thereafter.

Under Trump, the United States has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement on Combating Climate Change, but the decision is likely to be overturned by President-elect Joe Biden.

“Obviously, we expect new momentum from the new US government on this issue, thanks to the president-elect’s statement that the US will rejoin the Paris Agreement,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

To help refinance climate change, the EU will insist that the G20 set global world standards on what ‘green’ investment is.

This will help attract the large private investment needed because many investment funds would like to invest in environmentally sustainable projects, but there is no agreed way to choose it. The EU is already working on such standards with the aim of having them in place by 2022.

Source: Gulf News

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