G20 summit focuses on ending the pandemic and strengthening the economic recovery

The G20 summit took place virtually for the first time under the auspices of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia from November 21 – 22 with the theme Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All.

The G20 focused mainly on resolving the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. G20 leaders have committed to “leading the world in shaping a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive post-COVID-19 era” which translates into financial commitments exceeding 21 billion dollars to support the production, distribution and access to vaccines and therapeutic treatments and more than 11 trillion to support the economic recovery.

Leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies also pledged to ensure a fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests around the world so that poorer countries are not left out, particularly those in Africa and small island nations, according to the communique.

Additional support to health initiatives, especially the access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) and the COVAX initiative and the voluntary licensing of intellectual property will be essential to navigate the crisis.

Leaders of the 20 biggest world economies (G20) have discussed how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the current global recession, particularly and how to manage the recovery once the coronavirus is under control. The recovery is underway in many places, but it is uneven and has accentuated previous inequalities.

One of the biggest themes of the meeting was debt relief considerations. Countries pledged to extend debt-payment suspensions for poorer countries – through the Debt Service Suspension Initiative – that has allowed 46 countries to defer more than $5 billion of debt-service payments. They called on private creditors to join the debt servicing moratorium, which the G20 wants to extend until the middle of 2021.

For instance, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that the “G20 leadership and coordinated action to beat the COVID-19 pandemic” is essential and we can’t beat the pandemic in one place without “ending it everywhere”

Supporting the multilateral trading system is now as important as ever. The goal of the G20 is to ensure a free, fair, inclusive, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable, and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep markets open.

The Saudi Arabia G20 summit had a high-level Side Event on Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

The G20 leaders along with global organizations emphasized the need for continued coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic, especially to support the most vulnerable, whilst increasing the pandemic preparedness spending for further research and innovation to create tools and vaccines.

The world has been undergoing a health and economic crisis of an unprecedented scale and severity. As of November 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has infected around 54 million people, claiming over 1 million lives worldwide.

G20 Leaders pledged to do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic and protect lives, jobs, and the most vulnerable. As a result of this Summit, G20 members have contributed to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with over USD21bn at the outset of the crisis to support health systems and the
hunt for a vaccine. Moreover, G20 made available over USD14bn in debt relief for developing nations and injected an unprecedented USD11 trillion so far to safeguard the global economy.

The G20 is now looking forward. The G20 Saudi Presidency will hold the second Leaders’ Summit in 2020 with the ambition of bringing world leaders together to secure the necessary next steps towards a safer world and build an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient future. The spirit of solidarity that brought the leaders together in March was the initial mark of unity in the fight against the pandemic. This has mobilized world leaders to take collective actions to protect people from pandemics and to make sure we are better prepared in the future.


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