G20 to discuss post-pandemic world and support debt relief

BRUSSELS: Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies (G20) will debate this weekend how to deal with the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic that has caused a global recession and how to manage the recovery once the coronavirus under control.
Top of the list is the procurement and global distribution of vaccines, drugs and tests for low-income countries that cannot afford such expenses on their own. The European Union will ask the G20 on Saturday to invest $4.5 billion to help.
“The main theme will be to intensify global cooperation to deal with the pandemic,” said a senior G20 official taking part in 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 react faster and in a more coordinated way,” EU leaders Chairman Charles Michel told the G20 on Sunday.
As the global economy recovers from the depths of the crisis earlier this year, momentum is slowing in countries where infection rates are resurfacing, the recovery is uneven and the pandemic is likely to leave deep scars, said the International Monetary Fund in a report for the G20 Summit.
Poor and heavily indebted countries in the developing world are particularly vulnerable, which are “on the brink of financial ruin and escalating poverty, hunger and untold suffering”, the UN secretary-general said on Friday. , Antonio Guterres.
To address this, the G20 will approve a plan to extend the moratorium on debt servicing for developing countries by six months until mid-2021, with the possibility of a further extension, according to a draft communiqué from the G20 seen by Reuters.
European members of the G20 are likely to push for more.
“Further debt relief is needed,” Michel told reporters on Friday.
Debt relief for Africa will be a major theme of Italy’s G20 Presidency in 2021.
Trade and climate change
Europe’s G20 nations will also seek to inject new momentum into the stalled reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), hoping to capitalize on the upcoming change in the US administration. Outgoing President Donald Trump has preferred bilateral trade deals to working through international bodies.
The change in American leadership also gives hope 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 or at least carbon neutral by 2050. or soon after.
Under Trump, the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement on combating climate change, but the decision is expected to be reversed by President-elect Joe Biden.
“We are, of course, expecting further momentum from the new US administration on this issue, thanks to the President-elect’s statement that the US will join the Paris Agreement,” European Commission President Ursula said. von der Leyen.
To help fund the fight against climate change, the EU will push for the G20 to agree common global standards on what constitutes a ‘green’ investment.
This would help attract the massive private investment needed as many investment funds are keen to invest in environmentally sustainable projects, but there is no agreed method for selecting them. The EU is already working on these standards with the aim of having them in place by 2022.

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