Great promises, but no concrete progress. After two days of virtual summit in Saudi Arabia, the G20 leaders have pledged to pay for the access of the poorest countries to the vaccine against COVID-19, without putting any specific funding on the table. In addition, the countries that have made the promise are the same countries that are currently fighting a battle to hoard millions of doses of future vaccines.
“We remain committed to working to rise to the challenge of the pandemic in order to safeguard lives and protect the most vulnerable.”said King Salman of Saudi Arabia to G20 leaders, visible on small screens.
The UN urgently demands $ 4.2 billion to guarantee equitable access to the vaccine, for all countries in the world, through the so-called COVAX initiative. The G20 members have given their full support to the initiative, but without committing funds and at the same time that the richest countries have already reserved most of the world’s vaccine supply for pharmaceutical companies.
For example, rich countries have already reserved 1.1 billion doses of the future Pfizer vaccine, one of the most advanced, out of a total of 1.3 billion that will be produced next year. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is “concerned” about this situation.
“I think the most important thing now is that COVAX, with the money it has, negotiates with the manufacturers of potential vaccines, because, for example, in the European Union we are already quite advanced in the negotiations with some vaccine producers”Merkel said.
Suspension of debt for the most disadvantaged countries until June 2021
The final declaration of the summit also does not include new measures to alleviate the situation of the most disadvantaged nations. It only limits itself to reiterating decisions already taken, such as maintaining the suspension of the debt for those countries until June 2021.
Italy, which will replace Saudi Arabia as head of the G20 at the beginning of December, presented an ambitious plan for the future.
“The Italian presidency wants to look beyond the emergency said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. We want to promote a sustainable and inclusive recovery, and put in place all measures for a more solid reconstruction, promoting a more just society. “
The G20 countries have also pledged to combine the recovery from the pandemic with the preservation of the planet, but that only involves the signatories of the Paris Pact, among which is not the United States.