G20 leadership vital in defense against COVID-19: UN chief

The necessityof the Group of 20 (G20) is a must, to fight against COVID-19 pandemic worldwide said Antonio Guterres United NationsSecretary-General.

“Our greatest defense against COVID-19 is solidarityand cooperation,” the UN chief was speaking on Sunday at a virtual summitof G20 leaders under the theme “Building an inclusive, sustainable andresilient future,” where he highlighted the importance of G20 leadershipin the fight against the pandemic and the effort to build back better.

First of all, the secretary-general said that the G20leadership is critical in “halting the further spread of the pandemic.”

“Yesterday, I was encouraged by the broad recognitionthat vaccines – as well as tests and treatments – must be global public goods,available and affordable for all,” he said, referring to the progress inthe first-day meeting of the summit.

“But I want to repeat the call on G20 members tosupport the ACT-Accelerator and its COVAX facility. There is a financial gap of28 billion U.S. dollars and we need 4.2 billion dollars of that immediately formass manufacturing, procurement and distribution around the world,” hesaid.

Secondly, the top UN official said, the leadership is alsovital in mobilizing the resources to build forward better.

“There will be no different and better future withoutstronger action now to provide the necessary liquidity and tackle the debtemergency of the most vulnerable,” he explained.

“It means strengthening the firepower of the IMF(International Monetary Fund) and other international financial institutions insupport of the developing world, including through a new issuance of SpecialDrawing Rights and the reallocation of unused SDRs,” Guterres added.

It means broadening the eligibility of the G20 debtinitiatives to all vulnerable developing countries, including the middle-incomeones that need it, he said.

The UN chief believed that the third important role of theG20 leadership is aligning their recovery efforts with the 2030 Agenda forSustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

To build an inclusive, resilient and sustainable post-COVIDworld, public spending must be linked with achieving the Sustainable DevelopmentGoals, said the secretary-general.

“We have a moral obligation to ensure that thetrillions of dollars for COVID-19 recovery – money that we are borrowing fromfuture generations – does not leave them burdened by a mountain of debt on abroken planet,” he said.

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