G-20 opens with a call for more vaccines to be available for the poor

As the Italian Premier Mario Draghi opened a conference with the world's most powerful economies, he called the global COVID-19 vaccine shortage "morally unacceptable" and demanded that vaccines be distributed faster to the poorer countries.

G-20 opens with a call for more vaccines to be available for the poor

Draghi, who hosted the Group of 20 summit in Rome on Saturday, stated that only 3% of the population in the poorest countries of the world are currently vaccinated while 70% of those in rich countries have at least one shot.

"These differences are morally inacceptable and undermine the global recovery," Draghi, an economist who was once chief of the European Central Bank, stated.

Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has promised to use the summit as an opportunity to push fellow European Union leaders for more generous vaccine donations to low-income countries.

However, civil society advocates who met with G-20 officials prior to the summit were skeptical about the donation approach.

The U.N. World Health Organization supports a global vaccine goal of 40% this year and 70% by 2022. Stefania Burbo of Civil 20 said that without the suspension of patents by (vaccine manufacturers), it would not be possible to achieve" this target. She spoke to reporters while world leaders were huddled in a Rome convention centre a few blocks away discussing strategies to end the pandemic.

According to Italian sources, many of the leaders who spoke at Saturday's meeting stressed the importance of technology transfer in Africa in order to be prepared for future medical emergencies.

Leaders were also challenged by climate change, international taxation and pandemic recovery at the first summit in person since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.

This summit confronts what amounts to what has been played out as a two-track global recovery in rich countries bouncing back quicker.

Rich countries have used stimulus spending and vaccines to restart their economic activity. This leaves the possibility that countries in developing countries, which account for a large portion of global growth, will be left behind by low vaccination rates and financial difficulties.

Antonio Guterres, U.N. Secretary-General, has highlighted that the rich have spent 28% of their annual economic output on pandemic relief, while it is 2% for the least developed countries.

Macron told reporters that he expected the G-20 to confirm $100 billion more to support Africa's economy.

The money would come from the reallocation of part $650 billion in special drawing rights. This is a foreign currency tool that helps finance imports by the International Monetary Fund. This is a way for countries who don't require the assistance to reallocate their special drawing rights to those who do. Participants included President Felix Tshisekedi of the African Union and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda. According to the French presidency, Cyril Ramaphosa, Macky Sall and Macky Salal, will be participating via videoconference.

Italy hopes that the G-20 will secure important commitments from countries representing around 80% of the world's economy and responsible for roughly the same amount global carbon emissions, ahead of the U.N. Climate Conference which begins Sunday in Glasgow.

Many of the G-20 leaders present in Rome will travel to Glasgow once the G-20 ends Sunday afternoon. The summit in Rome was attended remotely by Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader whose efforts to reduce carbon emissions are crucial to combatting climate change.

According to a U.N. report, announcements made by many countries that they would aim to have "net-zero" emission levels by 2050 could limit global temperature rises to 2.2 degrees Celsius (4 F) if they are fully implemented. This is closer than the Paris climate agreement's less strict target of keeping temperature rise to well below 2° Celsius (3.6 F) in comparison with pre-industrial times.

However, the G-20 will be a celebration of participants to one agreement on a global corporate minimum tax. G-20 leaders will be formally reaffirming their commitment to establish a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15% by 2023. This measure is intended to prevent multinational companies from hiding profits in countries that pay little or none taxes.

Officials at the White House hailed this move as a "game-changer" that would generate at least $60 Billion in new revenue annually in the U.S., a stream that could partially pay for President Joe Biden's nearly $3 Trillion infrastructure and social services package. Because so many multinational corporations are headquartered in the United States, U.S. adoption has a key role.

France, Brazil, and South Korea were all described as big boosters for the 15% rate.

Civil 20, which represents 560 organizations representing more than 100 countries around the world, was not a fan of their praise. Riccardo Moro said that the 15% rate was "a little higher than those (rates), we'd consider fiscal paradisas".

The official summit was being held in conjunction with Joe Biden, the U.S. president, who met with leaders from France, Britain, and Germany to discuss strategy regarding Iran's nuclear program. Biden wants to revive 2015's nuclear deal and get Iran back in compliance with the agreement that would have prevented the Islamic republic from possessing a nuclear weapon for at least one year.

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