Leaders of the G20 have said that they would ensure an affordable and fair distribution of coronavirus vaccines, drugs and tests around the globe so that poorer countries were not left out, according to the final declaration. In the G20 Riyadh Summit, the leaders said that will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people, consistent with members’ commitments to incentivise innovation. They also pledged to use all possible policy tools to protect people’s lives, jobs and incomes in the wake of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.
In the declaration issued at the conclusion of the conference of the world’s top 20 economies, the leaders said that while the global economy experienced a sharp contraction in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global economic activity has partially picked up as economies gradually reopened and the positive impact of significant policy actions started to materialise. However, they also noted that the recovery is “uneven, highly uncertain and subject to elevated downside risks”.
Further, the leaders said that the pandemic and its impact in terms of lives lost, livelihoods and economies affected, in an “unparalleled shock” that has revealed vulnerabilities in preparedness and response, and underscored common challenges. The leaders said that they remain determined to support all developing and least developed countries as they face the intertwined health, economic and social effects of COVID-19, recognising the specific challenges in Africa and small island developing states.
Saudi Crown prince’s remarks at the summit
Meanwhile, at the conference, Saudi Arabia’s Crown prince made an unexpected speech after King’s closing remarks. At the summit, he commended the G20 for working together to address the healthcare, economic and social impacts of the pandemic. Mohammed bin Salman said that they provided the necessary resources to frontline workers. He also said that the G20 took measures to support economies and people and injected over 11 trillion USD into the global economy to support business and protect individuals.
He said, “In the G20 we agreed to spare no effort in creating the conditions for affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostic tools. We are still working on this. We made available more than 14 billion (US) dollars in debt relief to the most vulnerable countries, whose collective population exceeds one billion. We have also extended this initiative and we will continue to assess the situation to see if another extension is needed”.