Richmond Times-Dispatch

G-20 summit ends with statement backing COVID-19 vaccines for all

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Leaders of the world’s most powerful nations wrapped up the Group of 20 summit on Sunday, vowing to spare no effort to protect lives and ensure affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all people.

The two-day summit of heads of state was held virtually due to the coronaviru­s pandemic, which has killed at least 1.38 million people globally, with the world’s highest death tolls recorded in seven of the G-20 countries. The virus has wiped out hundreds of millions of jobs globally and plunged millions into extreme poverty.

The virus “revealed vulnerabil­ities in our preparedne­ss and response and underscore­d our common challenges,” the G-20 said in a final statement that focused heavily on battling the coronaviru­s, enhancing environmen­tal protection­s and supporting the global economy.

The group vowed “to spare no effort to protect lives.”

The G-20, which includes the U.S., India, China, the U.K., France, Germany, Japan and others, also stressed the importance of global access to COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests.

“We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people, consistent with members’ commitment­s to incentiviz­e innovation,” the statement said.

The G-20 expressed support for efforts like COVAX, an internatio­nal initiative to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to countries worldwide. The U.S., however, has declined to join under President Donald Trump.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters Sunday in Berlin after the virtual summit that Germany had given financial support to the COVAX initiative, but that more money was needed.

The G-20 statement did not directly address an urgent appeal by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said

$28 billion in additional investment is needed for mass manufactur­ing, procuremen­t and delivery of new COVID-19 vaccines around the world, including $4 billion immediatel­y.

Trumpraile­d

against the Paris climate accord at Sunday’s summit, telling world leaders that the agreement was designed to cripple the U.S. economy, not save the planet.

“To protect American workers, I withdrew the United States from the unfair and one-sided Paris climate accord, a very unfair act for the United States,” Trump said in a video statement from the White House to the Group of 20 summit.

His comments came during a discussion among the world’s largest economies on safeguardi­ng the Earth.

President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office in January, has said he will rejoin the global pact that the U.S. helped forge five years ago.

Trump contended the internatio­nal accord was “not designed to save the environmen­t. It was designed to kill the American economy.”

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