G20 opens with call for more vaccines for poor countries
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ROME – Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has made an urgent appeal to step up the pace of vaccine delivery to poor countries as he opens a conference of the world’s most powerful economies, calling the world’s yawning COVID-19 vaccine divide a “Morally unacceptable”.
Draghi, host of the two-day Group of 20 summit in Rome, said on Saturday that only 3% of people in the world’s poorest countries are vaccinated, while 70% in rich countries have had at least one injection.
Climate change, vaccines, recovery, international taxation are all topics that occupy the leaders who hold their first summit in person since the pandemic took hold. The call for more collective vaccine support for low-income countries has resonated as a recurring theme of the G20 summit, which opposes a two-track global recovery in which rich countries bounce back faster.
Draghi hosted the leaders of the Group of 20 at Rome’s cloud-like Nuvola convention center in the fascist-era EUR district, which was isolated from the rest of the capital.
Saturday’s opening session focused on global health and the economy. Rich countries have used vaccines and stimulus spending to jumpstart economic activity, leaving the risk that developing countries that account for a large chunk of global growth will lag behind due to low immunization rates and hardship. funding.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has pointed out that rich countries have devoted 28% of their annual economic output to recovery from a pandemic, while the figure is 2% for the poorest countries.
European Union leaders will meet off-site with African leaders in a bid to further support the continent’s poorest economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters on Friday that he expects the G20 to confirm an additional $ 100 billion to support African economies.
The money would be provided via the reallocation of a portion of $ 650 billion in Special Drawing Rights, a foreign exchange tool used to help finance imports issued by the International Monetary Fund. The idea is that countries that do not need help reallocate their Special Drawing Rights to those that need it. Participants were to include African Union President Felix Tshisekedi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame. The South African and Senegalese heads of state, Cyril Ramaphosa and Macky Sall, will participate by videoconference, announced the French presidency.
Italy hopes the G20 will secure key pledges from countries representing 80% of the global economy – and responsible for about the same amount of global carbon emissions – ahead of the UN climate conference that begins in Sunday. Glasgow, Scotland.
Most of the heads of state and government present in Rome will travel to Glasgow as soon as the G20 ends. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping participate from a distance.
On the eve of the meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the Glasgow meeting risked failing in the face of still lukewarm commitments from big polluters and challenged G20 leaders to overcome ” dangerous levels of mistrust “among themselves and with developing countries.
“Let’s be clear, there is a serious risk that Glasgow will not bear fruit,” Guterres told reporters in Rome.
A recent UN report on the environment concluded that announcements by dozens of countries to target “net-zero” emissions by 2050 could, if fully implemented, limit an increase in emissions. global temperature to 2.2 degrees Celsius (4 F). This is closer but still above the less stringent target agreed in the Paris climate agreement of keeping the temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) from pre-industrial times.
The UN chief also blamed geopolitical divisions for hampering a global vaccination plan to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the action “has taken precedence over vaccine hoarding and nationalism by vaccines “.
The G20, however, will likely be celebrating a deal, on a global minimum corporate tax. G20 leaders are expected to formally affirm their commitment to establish a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15% by 2023, a move aimed at preventing multinational companies from hiding their profits in countries where they pay little or no taxes.
The move has been hailed by White House officials as a “game changer” that would create at least $ 60 billion in new revenue a year in the United States – a flow of money that could help partially pay for a a set of social services and infrastructure of nearly $ 3 trillion. that President Joe Biden is looking for. Adoption by the United States is essential as there are many multinational corporations headquartered there.
But Biden is struggling to agree with members of his own party on what will be included in the massive spending plan, let alone how he will be paid. The president’s difficulties in coming to terms with U.S. law were not to be a central feature of Biden’s conversations with his fellow leaders, White House officials said.
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