07:35 GMT28 February 2021
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    For the first time in history, the G20 summit was held via teleconference amid the COVID-19 pandemic. G20 leaders discussed international cooperation in combating the rapidly spreading disease, as well as identifying social and economic measures that will be necessary to mitigate the pain of aftermath.

    The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic forced G20 leaders to hold their summit via teleconference for the first time. The current chair, Saudi Arabia's King Salman, stressed the importance of being ready to confront dangerous diseases in the future.

    The EU suggested organizing international contributions to developing a vaccine against COVID-19.

    US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on the need to "eliminate the pandemic quickly and minimize its economic impact". 

    Joint G20 research could help develop coronavirus vaccines and medications faster, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the summit. The Russian president remarked that the COVID-19 crisis would impact global development, possibly for a long time.

    "So, we definitely cannot afford to act in an 'every man for himself' fashion," Putin said.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called upon G20 leaders to refrain from pursuing protectionist and unilateral policies in responding to the pandemic. 

    The meeting resulted in a joint pledge to inject over $5 trillion into global economy to tackle the aftermath of the global crisis. Members of the G20 expressed commitment to finance and implement all necessary health measures, while minimising the damage.

    Global economic measures

    The G20 leaders committed to "use all available policy tools to minimize the economic and social damage from the pandemic, restore global growth, maintain market stability, and strengthen resilience".

    "We are injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic."

    Finance ministers and central bank governors were asked by leaders to design action plans in response to COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders praised the assistance of the IMF and the WBG in supporting countries during the coronavirus outbreak and were asked to "regularly update the G20 on the impacts of the pandemic, their response, and policy recommendations". 

    The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) were asked to monitor how the pandemic is impacting global employment. 

    The impact of COVID-19 on the global economy is profound, as businesses fail due to strict quarantine measures. Countries have been implement economic relief packages and airlines have cut flights worldwide as major companies like Boeing ask for federal aid to survive the crisis. 

    International trade stimulus 

    In order to resist the negative impact of the virus outbreak, G20 leaders committed to ensure the flow of all necessary medical supplies, agricultural products and other essential goods and services so that global trade chains are not disrupted. 

    "We reiterate our goal to realize a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open", the G20 statement reads. 

    The G20 committed to continue working together to facilitate international trade and coordinate responses in ways that avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.

    Amid the outbreak, stocks experienced great shocks, with the Dow free falling, and the New York stock exchange temporarily closing. Notwithstanding the promises of G20 leaders, the pandemic has resulted in major disruption of global supply chains.

    Global cooperation amid the pandemic 

    The G20 leaders promised to work "with the front-line international organizations, notably the WHO, IMF, WBG" to enhance global cooperation. Leaders expressed concern for less developed countries, including in Africa and small island states. 

    "We consider that consolidating Africa’s health defence is a key for the resilience of global health. We will strengthen capacity building and technical assistance, especially to at-risk communities", the statement said. 

    The G20 commended the cooperation in postponing major public events, especially putting off the Olympic Games to 2021. Leaders characterized "Japan’s determination to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 in their complete form as a symbol of human resilience".

    Finalizing the statement, G20 leaders stressed they "stand ready to react promptly and take any further action that may be required".

    Globally, the number of infected is claimed to have topped 460,000 with more than 21,000 fatalities, according to World Health Organization data

    Related:

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