RIAD (dpa-AFX) – The heads of state and government of the leading economic powers will continue their G20 summit on Sunday with deliberations on climate change. At the end of the two-day video conference, a joint declaration is to be adopted, the focus of which will be on the fight against the corona pandemic. A commitment to a fair worldwide distribution of vaccines is expected. In addition, the G20 is likely to jointly stimulate the global economy and offer poorer countries more debt relief.
When it comes to climate change, the group, which unites 85 percent of global economic power, is unlikely to come up with a common denominator, as it has in recent years. The reason for this was and is the withdrawal of US President Donald Trump from the Paris UN climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. All other G20 countries stand by the agreement.
For Trump, the summit is likely to be the last appearance on the big international stage. On the first day, however, he showed very limited interest in the conference. The video switch had been running for less than two hours when the elected but still incumbent US President left the White House to drive to his golf club in the nearby state of Virginia. Photos showed Trump a little later in a red blouson and a white cap playing golf.
According to information from the German Press Agency, Trump was temporarily represented by Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin and his economic advisor Larry Kudlow. This has happened more often at earlier G20 summits, but then more so to hold bilateral talks parallel to the meetings.
During the summit, Trump reiterated his election fraud allegations on Twitter, for which he has so far provided no conclusive evidence and for which he has already lost several trials. It was only hours after the first working session that he addressed the actual conference in a short message and complained that the media were focusing too much on the USA in their corona reporting. With more than 255,000 corona deaths, the country has more to complain about than any other – by far. “We’ll heal quickly, especially with our vaccines!” Wrote Trump.
The upcoming distribution of vaccines is a key topic at the summit. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) campaigned for support for the international vaccine initiative Covax and for strengthening the World Health Organization (WHO). “If we stand together worldwide, we can master and overcome the virus and its consequences,” she said. “It’s worth making more effort for that.” Merkel’s remarks could also be understood as a point against Trump, who advocates a protectionist policy of “America first” and is hostile to international organizations.
The Chancellor expressly called on the G20 partners to provide financial support for the Covax initiative. In order to contain the corona pandemic, access to vaccination must be possible and affordable for every country. “The funds promised so far are not sufficient for this,” said Merkel. The aim of the initiative is to distribute two billion vaccine doses by the end of next year.
There are warnings that poorer countries may not get enough vaccines. French President Emmanuel Macron demanded that “only the rich have access” must be avoided. The purchasing power of the countries should not decide on the distribution.
According to Merkel, so far five billion US dollars (around 4.2 billion euros) have been raised for Covax. Germany is contributing over half a billion euros. A total of $ 11 billion will be needed for the initiative by the end of 2021. 150 countries participate in it, including China, but not the USA.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered the international community wide access to the “Sputnik-V” vaccine developed in Russia. However, so far only very limited data have been released on the vaccine, which has met with international criticism. His country supported the decision of the G20 summit to make vaccines available to the entire population of the planet, said the 68-year-old.
China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping wants to strengthen cooperation with other countries in the research, development, production and distribution of vaccines in the fight against the pandemic. China wants to support developing countries by making vaccines accessible and affordable as a “public good” ./mfi/jku/DP/zb