The leaders of the G20 countries – the world’s most powerful economies – joined hands to pledge $5 trillion to mitigate the social economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic during an extraordinary virtual summit on March 26. This was the first virtual summit of the G20 countries which together account for the maximum number of coronavirus cases as well as the virus-linked fatalities.
The virtual summit, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated, focused on forging a coordinated response to the global health crisis. They also agreed to contribute to the WHO-led Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund voluntarily.
Reform WHO: Modi
Underlining the imperative for a new kind of humane globalization, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the need to develop adaptive, responsive and humane health care systems, and promote new crisis management protocols and procedures for an interconnected global village. He also called for strengthening and reforming the World Health Organization (WHO) and working together to reduce economic hardships resulting from Covid-19, particularly for poor people.
Mr Modi, who had proposed the virtual summit to the Saudi presidency of the G20 grouping, underscored that human beings should be at the center of the collective vision for global prosperity and cooperation, and ensure they can freely and openly share the benefits of medical research and development. Mr Modi called on the G20 leaders to help usher in new globalization, for the collective well-being of humankind and have a multilateral focus on promoting the shared interests of humanity. Government sources said that PM Modi’s vision of globalisation was meant to place the humane aspects of globalisation that has been subsumed by economic and financial calculations.
The G20 Leaders, on their part, agreed to take all necessary measures to contain the pandemic and protect people. They also supported the strengthening of the WHO’s mandate in the fight against pandemics, including the delivery of medical supplies, diagnostic tools, treatments, medicines, and vaccines. Leaders also committed to using all available policy tools to minimize the socio-economic cost of the pandemic and restore global growth, market stability and strengthening resilience, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
Praise for Modi
The Indian leader thanked the King of Saudi Arabia for convening this extraordinary session of G20. In his remarks, PM noted the alarming social and economic cost of the pandemic. He added that 90% of the Covid-19 cases and 88% of deaths were in G20 countries even as they share 80% of world GDP and 60% of the world population. He called on the G20 to come out with a concrete action plan to fight the global pandemic. The leaders of the G20 countries lauded PM Modi for his timely initiatives to curb the spread of the deadly pandemic in the world’s second most populous country. To prevent community transmission of COVID-19, PM Modi this week ordered a nation-wide lockout in India for 21 days from March 24-April 14.
The Summit was preceded by a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting and G20 Sherpas Meeting on the Covid-19 pandemic last week. At the end of the Summit, a joint statement called for a coordinated global response to fight the pandemic, adopting measures to safeguard the global economy, minimizing trade disruption and steps to enhance global cooperation.
According to the World Health Organization, there were over 400,000 confirmed cases, including nearly 18,000 deaths, worldwide due to coronavirus pandemic.
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