G20 leaders back ‘equitable’ global access to COVID-19 vaccines

Leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies will pledge on Sunday to ensure a fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests around the world, according to a draft communique and do what is needed to support poorer countries struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people, consistent with members’ commitments to incentivise innovation,” the G20 leaders said in the draft document seen by the Reuters news agency.

“We recognise the role of extensive immunisation as a global public good,” it said.

The twin crises of the pandemic and an uneven, uncertain global recovery dominated the first day of a two-day summit under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia, which hands off the rotating presidency of the G20 to Italy next month.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has thrown the global economy into a deep recession this year and efforts needed to underpin an economic rebound in 2021, were at the top of the agenda.

“We are optimistic about the progress made in developing vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics tools for COVID-19, but we must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all people,” Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz said in his opening remarks.“We have a duty to rise to the challenge together during this summit and give a strong message of hope and reassurance to our people by adopting policies to mitigate this crisis,” he told world leaders.“We have a duty to rise to the challenge together during this summit and give a strong message of hope and reassurance to our people by adopting policies to mitigate this crisis,” he told world leaders.

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