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G20 meet: Nations divided on international agenda

The two-day virtual G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia was a subdued affair due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The summit showed that global leaders had different priorities towards global issues even at the time of a distressful global pandemic which has disrupted economies and shows no signs of slowing down.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and the UN chief focused on the climate crisis; India and Russia spoke about the crisis in multilateral institutions and how to pull the economic out of the coronavirus-driven recession while the Saudis spoke about reopening economies.

<img class="wp-image-17402 aligncenter" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/G20-300×240.jpg" alt="G20 extends debt relief for poor countries" width="590" height="472" />The summit was dedicated to topics such as the covid crisis, vaccine, global economy, trade and investment, innovation, development, environment and energy. Among other issues, the G20 summit also discussed efforts to safeguard the planet by conserving coral ridges, ocean ecosystems, and taking concrete actions to tackle land degradation and habitat loss.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, speaking at the summit said that he supports the global economy, reopening economies and borders to facilitate trade and mobility of people. On the Covid-19 pandemic, the King stressed the role of international cooperation to overcome the crisis, which "has been an unprecedented shock that affected the entire world within a short period of time."

UN Chief Antonio Guterres, who also attended the summit, said that leadership by G20 is critical in "halting the further spread of the pandemic." The UN chief believed that the third important role of the G20 leadership is aligning their recovery efforts with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

"The IMF will continue to count on the G20's support to have all the necessary resources to best serve our member countries, and especially those who need our assistance the most," said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech underscored that for inclusive, resilient and sustainable recovery in a post-Covid world, effective global governance is required and reformed multilateralism through improvement in character, governance and processes of multilateral institutions is the need of the hour.

Xi Jinping, Chinese President, said the G20 countries should take the lead in tackling climate change, follow the guidance of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and push for the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke against protectionism and unilateralism at the G20 summit. Putin said, "We have to tackle the urgent problems that have accumulated in international trade.”

The summit concluded on a note to offer debt relief to developing nations and an obligation to ensure equitable access to coronavirus treatment. At the end of the summit, a G20 Leaders’ Declaration was issued which called for coordinated global action, solidarity, and multilateral cooperation to overcome the current challenges and realize opportunities of the 21st century for all by empowering people, safeguarding the planet, and shaping new frontiers..