Correspondent in Jerusalem
The crisis caused by the coronavirus requires a global response and the G20 countries are working on it, the top twenty world economies, gathered virtually at the summit that takes place this weekend in Riyadh. The fight against the pandemic and its effects are the central themes of the meeting officially opened by King Salmán bin Abdulaziz, who focused his speech on the importance of the vaccine and called for “creating the conditions for affordable and equitable access for all world”. The monarch stressed the importance of developing strategies to be prepared “for future pandemics” and insisted that the key to overcoming the health crisis and the worst economic recession in recent decades is “international cooperation.”
There are already more than 55 million people infected and 1.3 million have lost their lives due to covid-19 worldwide. Different laboratories are close to beginning to distribute vaccines and from organizations such as the United Nations, its secretary general, Antonio Guterres, recalled that “vaccines should be treated as a public good (…) accessible to everyone.” On the eve of the start of the summit in Riyadh, several countries urged the G20 to cover the 4.5 billion dollars required by the World Health Organization (WHO) fund dedicated to distributing vaccines. Vladimir Putin showed Russia’s willingness to send your Sputnik vaccine to the country that needs it and announced that its researchers are working on two other vaccines.
The previous meeting of these leaders took place in March and since then they have injected 17.7 billion euros to mitigate the impact on the world economy of the pandemic. The G20 has also put in place a mechanism that allows the suspension of the debt of developing countries, which may defer payments for 2020. More than 70 countries have already taken up this initiative. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for unity and insisted that “only by joining forces and working together how can we defeat the coronavirus and emerge stronger from this crisis.”
The G20 is made up of the United States, which could see Donald Trump in his first major world intervention after a defeat in the elections that he still does not recognize, Russia, China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, South Africa and Turkey, as well as the European Union (EU); Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, holds the presidency this year and Spain is a permanent guest country.
On the agenda of these 48 hours of tele-diplomacy there is also room for climate change. The relief in the White House sheds hope in a field that was seriously affected after Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. The arrival of Joe Biden opens the doors for Washington to once again bet on multilateralism. As the European Union has already done, half of the G20 members have already adhered to the plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
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