President Xi Jinping.
President Xi Jinping.

G20 Summit in Rome: China’s President Xi Jinping calls for greater global cooperation to fight Covid-19

By Xinhua Time of article published Nov 11, 2021

Share this article:

On the 30th and 31st of October 2021, world leaders converged at the G20 summit in Rome under the theme “People, Planet a Prosperity”.

The Summit convened with a backdrop of a protracted Covid-19 pandemic, fragile economic recovery, acute challenges of climate change, and frequent flare-ups of regional hotspot issues.

The Summit put to sharp focus the interconnections of “People, Planet and Prosperity” and rigorously engaged the need for collective efforts to address all challenges that pose a threat to the people, our planet and our prosperity.

It seemed fitting that this sitting would be convened in Rome, which was a bastion of resilience and cooperation during the darkest times of the Covid 19 pandemic.

When Italy’s Prime Minister gave his opening remarks at the summit he spoke firmly about the need to look at the challenges that best the world even before the pandemic and to stay true to the founding principles of the G20.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi highlighted protectionism, unilateralism and narrow nationalism as challenges that still persist and needs the attention of the international community.

The Prime Minister emphasised that multilateralism is the best answer to the problems we face today; from the pandemic, to climate change, to fair and equitable taxations.

President Xi Jinping address the summit and highlighted that we are faced with changes and a pandemic that are both unseen in a century, the G20, the premier forum for international economic cooperation, needs to shoulder its due responsibilities, bear in mind the future of humanity and the welfare of the people, uphold openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, practice true multilateralism, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

President Xi’s presentation at the summit set a tone and touched on the core values and aspirations of the Summit.

President Xi went on to suggest five areas to focus on and to collaborate.

The first areas of focus President proposed, is to work in solidarity to combat Covid-19.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected each and every country the world over and as such presents the best opportunity to practically showcase solidarity and cooperation.

This first area of cooperation proposed by President Xi is in line with previous calls by him to make the vaccines a global public good so as to safe guard such a vital instrument of public health from the perilous clutches of unscrupulous profiteers.

To bolster his previous calls President Xi made a call for a Global Vaccine Cooperation Action Initiative which would serve to strengthen vaccine Research & Development cooperation and support vaccine companies in conducting joint Research & Development and production with developing countries.

The initiative would also uphold equity and justice, and provide more vaccines to developing countries to meet the global vaccination target for 2022 as set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The third step is to support the World Trade Organization (WTO) in making an early decision on waiving intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines, and encourage vaccine companies to transfer technology to developing countries.

Fourth, is the up scaling of cross-border trade cooperation to ensure smooth trade of vaccines and related raw and auxiliary materials.

Fifth, is the treatment of different vaccines equally and to advance mutual recognition of vaccines in accordance with the WHO’s Emergency Use Listing.

Lastly, the provision of much needed financial support for global vaccine cooperation, especially for developing countries to access vaccines.

The second area of focus and collaboration, is to strengthen coordination to promote recovery, economic recovery to be exact.

President Xi was emphatic about it being, “imperative to apply the right prescriptions to address both symptoms and root causes of the problems we face’’.

Once done right, this will step up macroeconomic policy coordination and ensure the continuity, consistency and sustainability of policies.

Bigger economies should adopt responsible macroeconomic policies and present measures geared at rising inflation, exchange rate fluctuations or mounting debts, avoid negative spill overs on developing countries, and ensure sound operation of the international economic and financial system.

China affirmed its supports for the early launch of negotiations on the 20th replenishment process of the International Development Association, and maintains that the relevant Voting Rights Review should faithfully reflect the changes in the international economic landscape and raise the voice of developing countries.

China welcomed the IMF’s decision on the new allocation of Special Drawing Rights totalling 650 billion US dollars, and stands ready to lend the new allocation to low-income countries that are seriously affected by Covid-19.

The kind of economic development necessary to ensure that People, Planet and Prosperity stay on course need us to safeguard the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its core and build an open world economy.

The G20 should continue to provide political guidance on the reform of the WTO, uphold its core values and basic principles, and protect developing countries’ rights, interests and development space.

China has also proposed to hold an international forum on resilient and stable industrial and supply chains, and invited the active participation of G20 members and relevant international organizations.

All of the above initiatives cannot happen without a concerted drive and effort towards Infrastructure development which will play an important role in propelling shared global economic growth and exchange.

China has made unremitting efforts in this regard through Belt and Road Initiative.

It remains critical to uphold the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, stay committed to the vision of open, green and clean cooperation, and pursue the goal of high-standard, people-centered and sustainable development.

The third focus area is to embrace inclusiveness to achieve common development.

The G20 should prioritize development in macro policy coordination, ensure sound implementation of the Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, move forward with the Initiative on Supporting Industrialization in Africa and Least Developed Countries, and promote synergy among the existing mechanisms for development cooperation.

Advanced economies should fulfil their pledges on official development assistance (ODA) and provide more resources for developing countries.

President Xi had proposed a Global Development Initiative at the United Nations and called on the international community to strengthen cooperation in areas of poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines, development financing, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy and connectivity, so as to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieve more robust, greener and more balanced global development.

The fourth focus area is to pursue innovation to tap growth potential.

Innovation is a decisive factor in promoting economic and social development and in addressing the common challenges to humanity.

The G20 should join forces to unleash the potential for innovation-driven growth and draw up rules based on extensive participation and broad-based consensus to foster an enabling environment for innovation-driven development

Digital economy is an important frontier of scientific and technological innovation.

The G20 should shoulder responsibilities in the digital era, quicken the development of new types of digital infrastructure, promote deeper integration of digital technologies with the real economy, and help developing countries eliminate the digital divide.

China has put forth the Global Initiative on Data Security. In line with the above mentioned China decided to apply to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement.

The fifth focus area is to promote harmonious co-existence to achieve green and sustainable development.

The G20 needs to uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, push for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and support a successful COP26 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Developed countries need to lead by example on emissions reduction, fully accommodate the special difficulties and concerns of developing countries, deliver on their commitments of climate financing, and provide technology, capacity-building and other support for developing countries. This is critically important for the success of the upcoming COP26.

In Roman history we get the story of Commodus, who was a Roman Emperor with a debaucherous reputation and had negligently delegated his responsibility as Emperor to his trusted advisor Cleander.

Cleander in a plot to gain acclaim and stature concocted a plot which resulted in a famine and plague over Rome.

Cleander was ultimately killed and in response to the growing frustrations of the people Commodus hosted the gladiator games and participated as a Gladiator.

We all sincerely hope that the G20 summit wasn’t similar to Commodus hosting the gladiator games while the people died of famine and plague.

May all the discussions tabled at the summit be taken seriously and taken forward for the benefit of the People, the Planet and our collective Prosperity.

Xinhua

Share this article: