G20: Angela Merkel calls for global action to beat coronavirus

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 22, 2020

Leaders of the 20 biggest world economies will debate this weekend how to deal with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that has caused a global recession and how to manage the recovery once the coronavirus is under control.

The Group of 20 summit opened on Saturday with appeals by the world's most powerful leaders to collectively chart a way forward as the coronavirus pandemic overshadows this year's gathering, transforming it from in-person meetings to a virtual gathering of speeches and declarations.

The pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.37 million lives worldwide, has offered the G-20 an opportunity to prove how such bodies can facilitate global co-operation in crises - but has also underscored their shortcomings. Members are expected to finalize a framework for providing poor nations debt-relief, alongside continuing discussions for financing covid-19 vaccine collaborations.

Washington sees the group as an extension of Iranian influence in the region.

"Preventing environmental degradation, conserving, sustainably using and restoring biodiversity, preserving our oceans, promoting clean air and clean water, responding to natural disasters and extreme weather events, and tackling climate change are among the most pressing challenges of our time", the G20 draft statement said. The debt suspension will be extended by another six months until June 30, 2021, the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors decided in October.

G20 nations have so far contributed more than 21 billion dollars to combat the pandemic, which has infected 56 million people globally and left 1.3 million dead, and injected $11 trillion to "safeguard" the world economy, organisers said.

European nations in the G20 want to speed up reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), hoping to capitalise on the upcoming change of United States administration.

Speaking at the G20 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said there was a need to develop a new global index "based on talent, technology, transparency and trusteeship towards the planet".

Climate change was also expected to top the agenda, with the change of U.S. leadership raising hopes of a more concerted effort at G20 level to fight global warming.

Arrived at Trump National Golf Club at 10:29.

Michel, European Council president, waits for the start of the virtual G20 summit in Brussels.

Following the example of the European Union, already half of the G20 members, including Japan, China, South Korea and South Africa, plan to become carbon-neutral by 2050 or soon after.

"We expect, of course, new momentum from the new USA administration on this issue, thanks to the president-elect's declaration that the USA would join the Paris Agreement once again", European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

She also expressed hope that America's "new President-elect" Joe Biden will "increase multilateral cooperation" in areas like health and climate change, noting that until now "the United States has resisted engaging" in a rebuke of Trump's isolationist policies. The EU is already working on such standards to have them in place by 2022.

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