At virtual summit, G-20 draws up joint plan to battle virus

At virtual summit, G-20 draws up joint plan to battle virus

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 26

The first-ever virtual summit of the G-20 nations today decided to spare no effort, both individually and collectively, to combat Covid and its disastrous effects on trade and informal employment.

Collective effort must

PM Modi underlined need for collective effort to combat the epidemic since 90% of the deaths have taken place in member countries

The chair of the G-20, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, indicated that another virtual summit of G-20 besides sectoral groups of Finance and Health Ministers would pick up the threads of the resolve expressed at today’s summit.

These meetings will consider work on a joint G-20 action paper that is currently under deliberation. 

Key takeaways 

  • Resolve to share timely information about epidemiological data
  • Ask ILO, OECD to monitor Covid impact on jobs
  • To strengthen WHO’s mandate in coordinating fight
  • Dwelt on need for quick production of diagnostic kits

In addition to world leaders such as Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson, the chiefs of the IMF, World Bank, WHO and OECD attended the close-door meeting under Chatham House rules. The G-20 basically looked at the broad contours of the cooperation and not at specific areas. No leader was keen on defining the timeline though the expectation is that this would be temporary. But there was a sense we would come out of it and leaders were looking at a situation on dealing with the aftermath.

In his intervention, Modi underlined the need for a collective G-20 effort to combat the epidemic since 90 per cent of the deaths have taken place in the member countries.

This was the G-20’s first meeting at summit level to deal with an issue that is not financial or economic in nature but related to a social and humanitarian crises. It also disproved the sceptics such as the former UK Chancellor Gordon Brown who had ruled out such a meeting of international community because each country would be self-focused.

Besides asking the Bretton Woods institutions to provide easy credit to countries in distress and ensure adequate financing to contain the pandemic and protect people, especially the most vulnerable, the G-20 joint statement resolved to share timely and transparent information about the epidemiological and clinical data.

The summit has also asked the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to monitor the pandemic’s impact on employment. It also decided to strengthen the WHO’s mandate in coordinating the international fight against the pandemic, including the protection of frontline health workers and delivery of medical supplies. The G-20 noted that it was collectively injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy.

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