Several leaders voiced their countries’ willingness to cooperate on research, production and distribution of vaccines

G20 leaders said they were committed to a debt suspension initiative launched in March for the least-developed countries

Leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies on Sunday pledged “affordable and equitable access” to vaccines against the coronavirus as the global pandemic overshadowed their annual summit.

“We have mobilised 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,” they said in a final declaration concluding their two-day summit held online.

Several leaders in the group had voiced their countries’ willingness to cooperate on research, production and distribution of vaccines to help fight the pandemic, a crucial towards global economic recovery.

The bloc’s leaders said on Sunday they were committed to a debt suspension initiative launched in March for the least-developed countries that would allow the beneficiaries to defer 14 billion dollars in debt payments due this year and its extension through June 2021.

The summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, focused on addressing health, economic and social impacts of the global pandemic.

The group’s leaders said they were determined to support developing and least developed countries in grappling with the intertwined health, economic, and social effects of Covid-19.

“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.”

In March, the G20 vowed to coordinate their response to the pandemic. Since then, the G20 has collectively injected 11 trillion dollars to mitigate the impact on the global economy.

The summit marked Saudi Arabia’s first time managing the presidency of the G20, which brings together 19 countries and the European Union.

In closing remarks at the videoconference before handing over the presidency to Italy, Saudi King Salman said the summit had imparted a “message of hope and reassurance” to people around the world.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte put the date for next year’s summit at October 30-31. The goal of the Italian presidency was to be worldwide post-pandemic reconstruction.

The G20 encompasses two thirds of the world’s population, 85 per cent of global economic output and 75 per cent of world trade.

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