G20 urged to redistribute surplus Covid vaccines

Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies are expected to take advantage of a meeting this weekend in Rome to agree on how to transfer surplus Covid-19 vaccines to low-income countries, said a group of former presidents and prime ministers.

In a letter to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, 100 former leaders and ministers around the world urged him to use the G20 summit to fight what they called an unfair vaccine distribution.

The group said the United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada would stockpile 240 million unused vaccines by the end of the month, which the military in those countries could immediately airlift to the provinces. countries that need it most.

By the end of February, a total of 1.1 billion surplus vaccines could be transferred, he said.

“It would be unethical for all these vaccines to be wasted when there are 10,000 deaths from Covid-19 worldwide every day, many of which could be prevented,” said the letter, the signatories of which include l former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The group said the World Health Organization’s target of vaccinating 40% of the world’s population by the end of the year could only be met if the G20 jointly make the decision to order a transfer. emergency vaccine stocks.

“Vaccine inequality is also a threat to all of us,” he said.

“We are not all safe until everyone is safe. Without urgent and widespread vaccination, variants will continue to appear in unvaccinated areas and may well spread from there to question vaccine protection achieved so far in more vaccinated countries. “

Italy, host of the G20, had hoped that the G20 summit would see all leaders meet face to face.

However, Chinese President Xi Jinping will participate via video link, while Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will also not be present in person.

US President Joe Biden arrived in Rome to attend.

The G20, whose countries account for 80% of global carbon emissions, is seen as an important stepping stone ahead of the United Nations COP26 climate summit in Scotland, which begins on Sunday.

Xi is also not expected to attend COP26 in person, which could indicate that the world’s largest producer of CO2 has already decided it has no more concessions to offer at the UN summit on climate COP26 after three major commitments since last year, climate observers said.

The G20 also aims to stress that rich countries should shell out $ 100 billion a year to help poorer countries adapt to climate change.

This target was to be reached by 2020, according to an agreement reached in 2009, but has not been reached.

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