UN Chief ahead of G20 summit: Making vaccine accessible to everyone stops pandemic

UN Chief Antonio Guterres during his press briefing ahead of his participation in the virtual G20 Leaders' Summit under the Saudi Arabia Presidency. (Screengrab)

UN Chief Antonio Guterres said that making the vaccine accessible to everyone everywhere is the only way to stop the pandemic dead in its tracks during his press briefing ahead of his participation in the virtual G20 Leaders' Summit under the Saudi Arabia Presidency.

"My main message is simple. We need solidarity and cooperation. And we need concrete action now, especially for the most vulnerable," he added.

Read more: G20 Riyadh summit taking place under exceptional circumstances: Saudi Arabia's FM

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he considered the recent breakthroughs on COVID-19 vaccines as offering a ray of hope. However, he mentioned that this ray of hope needs to reach everyone. That means ensuring that vaccines are treated as a global public good —a people's vaccine.

"Making the vaccine accessible to everyone everywhere is It the only way to stop the pandemic dead in its tracks. Solidarity is survival," he added.

The UN Secretary-General said he will be issuing an SOS for the needs of developing countries.

He called on G20 leaders to increase the financial resources available to the IMF including through a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights and a voluntary reallocation of unused Special Drawing Rights.

He explained that as of September, G20 countries' rescue packages had committed 50 percent more in funding to support fossil fuels than on low-carbon energy.

"It is madness to borrow money to heat a planet living on borrowed time. I firmly believe that 2021 can be a new kind of leap year — the year of a quantum leap towards carbon neutrality. We must all make that leap together," he explained.

"The trillions of dollars being spent for #COVID19 recovery is money that we are borrowing from future generations. We cannot use those resources to lock-in policies that burden them with a mountain of debt on a broken and dangerous planet," Guterres concluded.

G20 Riyadh Summit

Saudi Arabia holds the 2020 presidency of the G20, which rotates among members, and will be hosting the G20 summit across Saturday November 21 and Sunday November 22.

Due to the coronavirus, this year’s Riyadh summit is being held virtually, with leaders and ministers attending via webcam.

The build-up events, ranging from Women 20 to Business 20, have also taken place virtually.

Addressing the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic is top of the agenda this year, as countries try to rebuild from the devastating economic impact of the virus.

The environment has also featured, with the looming threat of climate change everpresent on the agenda.

This year’s agenda also has a sharper focus on culture than previous years, with culture ministers pledging to support the $2.3 trillion cultural economy in a meeting on November 4.

Read more:

Al-Jubeir: G20 countries have taken great steps to combat the coronavirus pandemic

G20 Riyadh summit taking place under exceptional circumstances: Saudi Arabia's FM

GCC Secretary General praises Saudi presidency of the G20 Summit

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Last Update: Saturday, 21 November 2020 KSA 15:35 - GMT 12:35
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