The G20 will discuss the post-pandemic world, debt relief and the fight for the climate

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A virtual G20 summit opens on Saturday under the presidency of Saudi Arabia, amid international calls for funding for this forum, necessary to curb the novel coronavirus pandemic and its devastating economic consequences.

Even if it is gathered in a virtual format, pandemic obliges, it is the first time that an Arab country has hosted a summit of representatives of the main rich and emerging countries.

The two-day meeting also comes as the G20 comes under fire for its response to the global recession and as US President Donald Trump continues to challenge his defeat in the November 3 presidential election.

No opening ceremony with great fanfare or opportunity to conclude bilateral engagements, the summit is reduced this year to brief online sessions, described by observers as digital diplomacy.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 55 million people and killed more than 1.3 million around the world, will be the main topic discussed at the summit chaired by Saudi King Salman.

Several calls addressed to the G20 to help in particular the World Health Organization (WHO) were launched after the multiplication of promising announcements for the commercialization of the long awaited vaccines.

In a letter, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on G20 countries to help bridge a gap lack of $ 4.5 billion in the WHO fund to distribute vaccines, in particular.

Public good, accessible to all

UN boss Antonio Guterres vaccines should be treated like a public good, accessible to all.

It's the only way to stop the pandemic, he insists.

For the past seven months, $ 10 billion has been invested to develop vaccines, diagnostics, therapies, added Mr. Guterres. <q data-attributes = "{" lang ": {" value ":" fr "," label ":" Français "}," value ": {" html ":" But 28 is missingbillion, including 4.2 before the end of the year. These funds are fundamental for the industrialization, the routing and the supply of vaccines "," text ":" But 28 billion are missing, including 4.2 before the end of the year. These funds are fundamental for the industrialization, delivery and supply of vaccines "}}" lang = "fr”>But 28 billion are missing, including 4.2 before the end of the year. These funds are fundamental for the industrialization, transport and supply of vaccines., and the G20 countries have the means funding.

G20 countries have spent more than $ 21 billion to fight the coronavirus. They have also released some 11 trillion dollars to save the world economy, according to the organizers.

Speeches by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping and even his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are notably expected, according to sources close to the organization.

President Trump participate in at the online summit, a senior US official told AFP on Friday. Its Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, will be in Saudi Arabia for the summit.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will also speak. If we harness the ingenuity and collective resources of the G20, we can chart a course out of the pandemic and build a better, greener future, he said in a statement released by his services.

G20 summit will seek to strengthen international cooperation to support global economic recoverySaid Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan.

The G20, which notably brings together the United States, China, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, India, Brazil, South Korea, Russia, Australia, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia, make up two-thirds of the earth's population, 80% of world trade, and over 85% of the wealth produced.

Will there be a commitment for poor countries?

The G20 summit must also tackle the debt of poor countries, faced with a collapse in their external financing. Last week, the group's finance ministers agreed to a common frame, involving for the first time China and private creditors, to ease the debt burden.

Progress deemed insufficient by NGOs and by Mr. Guterres, who called for bolder measures, arguing that a further debt relief will be needed.

The G20 adopted a moratorium on six-month debt service payments in April, extended in October until June 2021.

Mr Guterres is calling for the debt suspension to be extended until the end of 2021. In the draft (G20 communiqué) there is a reference to this possibility, of course we would like it to turn into a firm commitment.

The shadow of human rights abuses in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia will hang over the summit. Relatives of jailed activists have urged world leaders to pressure Saudi leaders to release political prisoners.

Glimmer of hope against global warming

Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential election – which Donald Trump still disputes – also revives hopes for a joint effort by the G20 countries in the fight against global warming.

"We expect new momentum from the new US administration on this issue, after the president-elect's statement that the US will re-accede to the Paris Agreement," said the President of the European Commission , Ursula von der Leyen.

In accordance with Donald Trump's directives, the United States, among the main greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting countries along with China, formally left the Paris climate agreement concluded in 2015 on November 4 in 2015 in the outcome of the COP-21, thus becoming the only country among the 197 signatories to have withdrawn.

But Joe Biden has promised sweeping measures to make the US economy carbon neutral by 2050 and notably plans to return to the framework of this agreement.

To finance the fight against global warming, the European Union will insist that the G20 adopt common global standards on what will constitute an investment green.

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With information from TOP NEWS TODAY, and Reuters

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