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G20 leaders to discuss Covid recovery plan, vaccine distribution on Saturday; back debt relief

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The leaders of the 20 biggest world economies (G20) are scheduled to meet on Saturday to discuss how to deal with the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic that has caused a global recession, the post-pandemic world and how to manage the recovery of the economies once the coronavirus is under control.

This weekend, the G20 countries will also discuss the purchases and global distribution of coronavirus vaccines, drugs and tests for low-income countries that cannot afford such expenses themselves.

According to Reuters, the European Union will urge the G20 to invest $4.5 billion to help.

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“The main theme will be to step up global cooperation to address the pandemic,” said a senior G20 official taking part in the preparations for the two-day summit, chaired by Saudi Arabia and held virtually because of the pandemic.

To prepare for the future, the EU will propose a treaty on pandemics.

“An international treaty would help us respond more quickly and in a more coordinated manner,” the chairman of EU leaders Charles Michel will tell the G20 on Sunday.

While the global economy is recovering from the depths of the crisis earlier this year, momentum is slowing in countries with resurging infection rates, the recovery is uneven and the pandemic is likely to leave deep scars, the International Monetary Fund said in a report for the G20 summit.

Especially vulnerable are poor and highly indebted countries in the developing world, which are “on the precipice of financial ruin and escalating poverty, hunger and untold suffering”, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday.

To address this, the G20 will reportedly endorse a plan to extend a debt servicing moratorium for developing countries by six months to mid-2021, with a possibility of a further extension, Reuters quoted a draft G20 communique as stating.

However, the European members of the G20 are likely to push for more as they say that more debt relief is needed in view of the year-long pandemic situation across the world.

According to the report, the European nations in the G20 will also seek fresh impetus to the stalled reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), hoping to capitalise on the upcoming change of US administration.

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The change of US leadership also raises hopes of a more concerted effort at G20 level to fight climate change.

Also Read | Conveyed our serious concern to Saudi Arabia: MEA on misrepresentation of Indian map on banknote

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