World

G-20 vows to ‘spare no effort’ in equitable access to vaccine

RIYADH: G-20 leaders will pledge to "spare no effort" in ensuring the equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines worldwide and reaffirm support for debt-laden poor countries, according to a draft communique seen by AFP yesterday.

The leaders also struck a unified tone on supporting "multilateral" trade as well as the global fight against climate change, but the closing document lacks firm details.

The two-day gathering that began on Saturday comes as global efforts intensify for a large-scale roll-out of vaccines after a breakthrough in trials, and as the European Union and other leaders call for G-20 nations to plug a US$4.5 billion (S$6 billion) funding shortfall.

"We have mobilised resources to address the immediate financing needs in global health to support the research, development, manufacturing and distribution of safe and effective Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines," the draft document said.

"We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people, consistent with members' commitments to incentivise innovation."

The communique offered no details on how the effort will be funded.

In a comment echoed by other world leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday the coronavirus crisis was "a test for the G-20", stressing there "will be no effective response to the pandemic unless it is a global response".

G-20 nations have contributed more than US$21 billion to combat the pandemic, which has infected 56 million people globally and left 1.3 million dead, and injected US$11 trillion to "safeguard" the world economy, summit organisers said.

PRESSURE

But the group's leaders face mounting pressure to help stave off possible credit defaults across developing nations.

G-20 nations have extended a debt service suspension initiative for developing countries until June next year, but United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres has pushed for a commitment to extend it until the end of next year.

On trade, the club of the world's richest nations emphasised that supporting a multilateral system "is now as important as ever" and said that they strive to "keep our markets open". - AFP

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