How did the G20 go?

How did the G20 go?

Over the weekend the G20 summit was held in virtual mode, chaired for the first time by Saudi Arabia. Covid-19 pandemic, debts and climate crisis were the topics at the center of the debate

(photo: Balkis Press / ABACAPRESS.COM) On Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 November, Saudi Arabia virtually hosted the G20 summit , which brought together the leaders of the 20 largest world economies to discuss measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent economic crisis that is developing worldwide. Three themes dominated the discussion: vaccines, debts and the climate crisis.

For the first time this two-day forum was organized by an Arab state, albeit only in a virtual version due to of the coronavirus. Saudi Arabia will hold the presidency of the G20 until December 1, 2020, when its place will be taken by Italy for 2021, according to the rotation system used in international institutions.

The pandemic of Covid-19

The fear is that the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbates inequalities, above all in the possibilities of access to treatment in the various countries of the world: for this reason, the European Union (EU) has urged the G20 to invest more money (and faster) in a global project for vaccines, tests and therapies called the Access to Covid-19 tools (Act) Accelerator. "During the summit, I asked to invest $ 4.5 billion in Act Accelerator by the end of 2020, for the procurement and delivery of Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines everywhere," the president of the company said on Twitter. European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. "We have to show global solidarity".

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to supply the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine "to countries that need it" and announced that Moscow is also developing a second and third vaccine. Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping also said he was willing to collaborate on this front, given that there are currently five candidates in China undergoing the latest phase of vaccination trials. "We will offer help and support to other developing countries," said Xi Jinping.

In the draft concluding communiqué of the summit, the G20 pledges to finance an equitable distribution of instruments to combat the emergency, such as vaccines: "we recognize the role of a broader immunization as a global public" good, says the document. At the end of the summit, however, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was "worried" about the slow pace of discussions on the access of poor countries to the vaccine. To prepare for other future health crises, the EU will propose a treaty on pandemics. "An international treaty would help us respond more quickly and in a more coordinated way," European Council President Charles Michel told the G20.

The economic crisis and debts

The economy Global is slowly recovering from the crisis it was thrown into by the pandemic since the beginning of this year, but the recovery has remained "patchy, highly uncertain and subject to high downside risks" due to the ongoing coronavirus waves. Especially in countries with rising contagion rates, this summer's momentum is slowing and not at all uniform, according to the most recent report from the International Monetary Fund.

As the latest findings from the Institute of international recall finance, public and private debt on a global level has reached a record figure of 272 trillion dollars, almost four times the value of world GDP. In the last nine months of 2020 alone, debts have grown by about $ 15 trillion, concentrating on less advanced economies. The most vulnerable remain the poor and highly indebted states, therefore, which today find themselves "on the verge of financial ruin and the escalation of poverty, hunger and unspeakable suffering," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres shortly before summit begins on Friday, Nov. 20.

To address this issue, the G20 will support a plan to extend the debt service moratorium for developing countries by six months until mid-2021, or even longer, reports reading Reuters news agency in the draft release. So far, the G20 debt relief initiative has helped 44 countries extend the payment of some $ 5 billion in debt, far below the 73 that could have entered the moratorium.

In During the last summit, private creditors were also invited to join the moratorium on debt service. The leaders of the G20 recognized the particular challenges faced by Africa and small island developing states, opening up to the hypothesis of a cancellation of the debts incurred by these countries to tackle the pandemic.

Furthermore, the G20 has announced plans to charge for international technology giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft their fair share of taxes. These companies have benefited greatly from the shift to teleworking and smart working imposed by Covid-19 on the world economy and, for some time, European countries have been pushing to tax them in the places where they make their profits, not where they establish their branches for the purpose of tax optimization. The initiative had so far been blocked by the presidency of the United States of Donald Trump, which is now at sunset (the same Trump who, according to the news, spent much of the time of the international summit playing golf on one of the courses he owned. ).

The climate crisis

Also in the draft G20 press release, we read that "preventing environmental degradation, conserving, using in a sustainable way and restoring biodiversity, preserving our oceans , promoting clean air and clean water, responding to natural disasters and extreme weather events and tackling climate change are among the most pressing challenges of our time ”. Therefore, during the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, an important commitment of world leaders will be to safeguard the planet and build a more sustainable and inclusive future for all people.

Goals also supported by the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, during a video message at the Safeguarding the Planet side-event of the G20 summit: “Our work program will be based on three pillars: People, Planet and Prosperity. This crisis also represents the opportunity to rebuild society on new and better foundations ".

As the next presidency of the G20," Italy will focus on the climate-energy link and on how to achieve rapid transitions towards a future with zero emissions. The notion of the circular economy will have its part to play in carrying out this transition ", declared Conte, reaffirming our country's commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and the collective need to respect the Paris climate agreements. .

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