G-20 Summit Leaders Vow To Make COVID Vaccine Widely Available, Tackle Debt Of Poor Nation

Image: Reuters. The heads of state of the 20 nations that make up G-20 are shown in this illustration.
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(VOA) The Group of 20 virtual summit vowed Sunday to spare no effort in making a COVID-19 vaccine widely available to all populations.

Regarding vaccines, tests and treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, “We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people,” the final communique from the group Sunday said.

President Donald Trump “expressed the importance of policies that promote workers and families” during Sunday’s meeting, according to a statement released by the White House press secretary.

“He also discussed the historic achievements made in the United States and around the world in empowering and investing in women, and called on all countries to do more,” the statement went on to say.

In addition, news reports say G-20 leaders promised to tackle the issue of developing nations’ debt but failed to provide any concrete steps.

The Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), initially created in April and extended in October, will again be extended through July 2021, according to the G-20 final statement. The DSSI was created to relax the burden of debt of the developing nations, allowing them to focus all resources on combating the pandemic.

The G-20 leaders are concerned the pandemic will further widen the divide between rich and poor. To deal with that, the European Union urged contributions totaling $4.5 billion to Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, a global project to speed the development and distribution of vaccines, tests and treatment, according to the World Health Organization.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged nearly $593 million. Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, and China offered to cooperate on vaccines.

The summit was held mostly online for the first time this year because of the pandemic.

The G-20 members include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

They represent, according to the group’s website “around 80% of the world’s economic output, two-thirds of global population and three-quarters of international trade.”

The verbal commitment to address developing nation debt mirrors the recent campaign brought to the attention of the UN by Barbados leader Mia Amor Mottley, who has argued that middle-income nations are also going to need help with government financing as a result of Covid-19.

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