by Xinhua writer Tu Yifan

RIYADH, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) — The 15th Group of 20 Leaders’ Summit virtually held over the weekend comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled health, social and economic systems across the world.

This exceptional year has demonstrated that only cross-border coordinated action can tackle global challenges.

Each member of the G20 has faced its own unique challenges with the virus. Yet the leaders of the 20 leading economies need to address the pandemic with the vision of building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for all — beyond the bloc.

The global pandemic is pushing the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people toward greater insecurity. The G20 bears the responsibility to support developing countries and the disadvantaged, and help them overcome the immediate challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Responsibility goes with the weight of the bloc. As one of the world’s most prominent economic platforms, the G20 brings together some of the largest economies, amounting to around 85 percent of global GDP. What the bloc decides has global ramifications.

The G20 leaders along with global organizations emphasised during the summit the need for a continued coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic, especially to support the most vulnerable, whilst increasing pandemic preparedness spending to create tools and vaccines. There was a sense of the need for inclusive development.

The issue of vaccines is one priority for the international platform.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud stressed in his opening speech at Saturday’s summit that although people are optimistic about the progress made in developing vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics tools for COVID-19, “we must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all peoples.”

The issue of debt — a resource used by many countries to get through the crisis, is another urgent topic.

Chinese President highlighted in his remarks at the summit the importance of a more inclusive development and stressed that China supports an extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and will strengthen measures to suspend debt and offer relief for countries facing real difficulties.

G20 leaders at the Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19 held back in March agreed to “spare no efforts” to overcome the pandemic, and to work alongside the international community to safeguard lives.

As a result, billions and trillions of U.S. dollars were injected to support health systems and the hunt for a vaccine, and billions of dollars in debts were relieved through the DSSI.

The Riyadh Summit concluded on Sunday, but the G20’s role in fighting the pandemic is far from over. The more the bloc acts in coordination on a global level, the earlier the pandemic’s demise.

In a recent statement, the G20 set the bar high for the Riyadh Summit, hoping it would “set the foundations for a more inclusive, more resilient, and more sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, resulting in a stronger and better world, where we can realize the opportunities of the 21st century for all by empowering people, safeguarding the planet, and shaping new frontiers.”

The time is ripe for the G20 to prioritize humanity’s common future and turn commitment into action. Enditem

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