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G20 leaders vow to ensure affordable, equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines


NEW DELHI: Leaders of the G20, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday, asserted that they will spare no effort to ensure affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for all, while also pledging to use all possible policy tools to protect people's lives, jobs, and incomes in the wake of the pandemic.

The final declaration was released after the two-day G20 Leaders Summit, attended among others by Prime Minister Modi, outgoing US President Donald Trump, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In the G20 Riyadh Summit Leaders Declaration issued at the conclusion of the conference of the world's top 20 economies, the leaders said that while the global economy experienced a sharp contraction in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global economic activity has partially picked up as "our economies gradually reopened and the positive impact of our significant policy actions started to materialize".

However, they noted that the recovery is "uneven, highly uncertain and subject to elevated downside risks", including those arising from renewed virus outbreaks in some countries.

The G20 leaders also expressed support for the Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Counter-Terrorist Financing (CFT) policy responses detailed in the FATF's paper on COVID-19 and reaffirmed their support for the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as the global standard-setting body for preventing and combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing.

"We reiterate our strong commitment to tackling all sources, techniques, and channels of these threats. We reaffirm our commitment to strengthening the FATF's Global Network of regional bodies, including by supporting their expertise in mutual evaluations, and call for the full, effective and swift implementation of the FATF standards worldwide," the leaders said in the declaration.

The G20 leaders also said that the COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact in terms of lives lost, livelihoods, and economies affected, is an "unparalleled shock" that has revealed vulnerabilities in preparedness and response, and underscored common challenges.

"We remain determined to support all developing and least developed countries as they face the intertwined health, economic, and social effects of COVID-19, recognizing the specific challenges in Africa and small island developing states," the leaders said after deliberating on a host of issues related to the pandemic over the last two days.

The G20 has mobilized resources to address the immediate financing needs in global health to support the research, development, manufacturing, and distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, the declaration said.

"We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people, consistent with members' commitments to incentivize innovation," it said.

The leaders committed to addressing the remaining global financing needs welcomed the efforts made by the multilateral development banks to strengthen the financial support for countries' access to COVID-19 tools, in line with existing multilateral efforts, and encouraged them to do more.

"We underscore the urgent need to bring the spread of the virus under control, which is key to supporting global economic recovery. We are determined to continue to use all available policy tools as long as required to safeguard people's lives, jobs, and incomes, support the global economic recovery, and enhance the resilience of the financial system while safeguarding against downside risks," the G20 leaders said in the declaration.

The leaders said they are taking immediate and exceptional measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its intertwined health, social and economic impacts.

"We, the G20 Leaders, meeting for the second time under the Saudi Presidency, stand united in our conviction that coordinated global action, solidarity, and multilateral cooperation are more necessary today than ever to overcome the current challenges and realize opportunities of the 21st century for all by empowering people, safeguarding the planet, and shaping new frontiers," the declaration said.

"We are committed to leading the world in shaping a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive post-COVID-19 era," they said in the declaration.

They also reiterated their commitments of the previous summit on March 26, welcomed the progress achieved since, and said that they will continue to spare no effort to protect lives, provide support with a special focus on the most vulnerable, and put their economies back on a path to restoring growth, and protecting and creating jobs for all.