Predictably, the pandemic has marked the virtual summit of leaders of the G-20 that this Sunday was closed in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, a country that this year has held the presidency of the group of the 20 most important economies on the planet. Throughout the weekend, there were calls not to forget the poorer countries in the phase of the exit from the health crisis, when vaccinations are now a reality, and this concern was reflected in the conclave’s final declaration, in which the signatories pledge to “address the remaining global funding needs.” Time will tell if, as the German Chancellor hinted, Angela Merkel, is a mere declaration of intent.
After the extraordinary meeting that the G-20 held in March, the initiative was launched COVAX, a mechanism through which middle- and high-income countries can finance the poorest to have access to medications, diagnostic tests and vaccines against the coronavirus. This tool still lacks about 23.6 billion euros in financing, of which 3.5 billion are needed before the end of the year, figures that the final statement does not mention.
Merkel was very critical in this matter, who claimed to be “worried because nothing has yet been done “to ensure vaccination in poor countries. Non-governmental organizations such as Oxfam denounced the” total gap between calls to make vaccines a public good and the race for vaccines they are encouraging. “
Debt deferred until June
In the economic sphere, the G-20 ratified the previous decision of the Ministers of Economy to extend until June 2021 the debt freeze to allow a respite to the countries with the greatest difficulties, ignoring the call made by the HIM-HER-IT to extend this deadline until the end of next year. This decision ran into amendments by Mexico Y Argentina during discussions. The Mexican Andrés Manuel López Obrador warned that the debt “is going to become another threat to economic stability and social welfare” and called for the commitment of condone part of the debt to poor countries. And Argentine Alberto Fernández, who is negotiating his debt with the International Monetary Fund, asked for the support of the G-20 after the “enormous fiscal effort” of his country.
For the first time since Trump became president of the United States, the G-20 managed to agree on a paragraph on the climate change and environmental challenges, the EU highlighted in a statement. However, the paragraph in question makes express mention of the “signatories” of the Paris Agreement, which excludes Washington, whose effective withdrawal from the aforementioned agreement became effective at midnight on November 4.
Trump charges against the deal
In fact, Trump used his latest speech at the summit to condemn the climate pact. “The Paris Agreement was not designed to save the environment. It was designed to kill the American economy (…) I refuse to hand over millions of jobs Americans and send billions of US dollars to the worst polluters and environmental transgressors in the world and that is what would have happened, “he added, rescuing his complaint that the pact is not as strict with polluting countries as China and the India.
A few words that connect with the attitude displayed by the American in the international summits of recent years. Trump has taken advantage of these forums to expose his grievances, attack your allies y sembed mistrust to the multilateral cooperation. He was seen at last year’s G-20 in Osaka, when he questioned the mutual defense agreement with his Japanese hosts, he took on India over tariffs and once again scoffed at German contributions to NATO, describing the European locomotive as “a security freewheel.” All this while keeping silent about the policies of China, Russia or Saudi Arabia, a country that has tried with this summit to wash away its systematic abuses of human rights.
The world is eager to meet again Joe Biden and leave behind the hostility of its predecessor towards multilateral diplomacy, more necessary than ever in this age of underhanded global crises. “When the world needed leadership (to combat covid-19) he found nothing, “Saudi Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih said quietly these days. The virtual summit in Riyadh could have served to permanently dismiss Trump from international forums, but the American did not gave no sign that he is preparing to step down from power in less than two months.
“It has been a great honor to work with you and I can’t wait to continue working with you for a long time,” he told the rest of the leaders on Saturday, before leaving the meeting to go play golf, according to the audio obtained by ‘ The Observer ‘.
Support for multilateral trade
The final communiqué of the G-20 leaders after the Riyadh summit restores confidence in the multilateral system of International Trade, after the tensions fueled in recent years by US President Donald Trump.
“Supporting the multilateral trading system is now more important than ever,” due to the pandemic, the text states. And regarding the World Trade Organization (WTO), a key element in the arbitration of tensions between countries, the leaders are summoned to work on their “necessary reform”, pending the upcoming celebration of the organization’s twelfth ministerial meeting (after having been postponed by the pandemic).
The final communiqué of the summit urges leaders to achieve by mid-2021 the necessary consensus to globally implement a new digital taxation, as well as a minimum taxation for multinationals, which are two issues in which we work hand in hand with the OECD.
In order to face the economic and social crisis linked to the pandemic, the G-20 urges countries to continue applying expansive fiscal measures in their budgets.