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Official speeches and statements - November 23, 2020

Published on November 23, 2020

1. G20 - Riyadh - Summit Leaders - Final statement (Videoconference - November 22, 2020)

  1. We, the G20 Leaders, meeting for the second time under the Saudi Presidency, stand united in our conviction that coordinated global action, solidarity, and multilateral cooperation are more necessary today than ever to overcome the current challenges and realize opportunities of the 21st century for all by empowering people, safeguarding the planet, and shaping new frontiers. We are committed to leading the world in shaping a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive post-COVID-19 era.

A. Rising to the Challenge Together

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact in terms of lives lost, livelihoods and economies affected, is an unparalleled shock that has revealed vulnerabilities in our preparedness and response and underscored our common challenges. We reiterate the commitments of our Extraordinary Summit on March 26, welcome the progress achieved since, and will continue to spare no effort to protect lives, provide support with a special focus on the most vulnerable, and put our economies back on a path to restoring growth, and protecting and creating jobs for all. We express our gratitude to and support for health and other frontline workers as we continue to fight this pandemic. We remain determined to support all developing and least developed countries as they face the intertwined health, economic, and social effects of COVID-19, recognizing the specific challenges in Africa and small island developing states.
  2. We have mobilized resources to address the immediate financing needs in global health to support the research, development, manufacturing, and distribution of safe and effective COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people, consistent with members’ commitments to incentivize innovation. In this regard, we fully support all collaborative efforts, especially the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative and its COVAX facility, and the voluntary licensing of intellectual property. We commit to addressing the remaining global financing needs, welcome the efforts made by the multilateral development banks to strengthen the financial support for countries’ access to COVID-19 tools, in line with existing multilateral efforts, and encourage them to do more. We recognize the role of extensive immunization as a global public good.
  3. While the global economy experienced a sharp contraction in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global economic activity has partially picked up as our economies gradually reopened and the positive impact of our significant policy actions started to materialize. However, the recovery is uneven, highly uncertain and subject to elevated downside risks, including those arising from renewed virus outbreaks in some economies, with some countries reintroducing restrictive health measures. We underscore the urgent need to bring the spread of the virus under control, which is key to supporting global economic recovery. We are determined to continue to use all available policy tools as long as required to safeguard people’s lives, jobs and incomes, support the global economic recovery, and enhance the resilience of the financial system, while safeguarding against downside risks. We also reaffirm the exchange rate commitments made by our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in March 2018.
  4. We are taking immediate and exceptional measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its intertwined health, social and economic impacts, including through the implementation of unprecedented fiscal, monetary and financial stability actions, consistent with governments’ and central banks’ respective mandates, while ensuring that the international financial institutions and relevant international organizations continue to provide critical support to emerging, developing and low-income countries. Based on the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates, our efforts to temporarily extend social protection measures have supported the livelihoods of nearly 645 million people.
  5. The G20 Action Plan sets out key principles and commitments to drive forward international economic cooperation as we navigate this crisis and take steps to support the recovery and achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. Recognizing that members are in different stages of responding to the crisis and that the global economic outlook continues to evolve, we endorse the October 2020 updates to the G20 Action Plan, which will ensure that we continue to promptly respond to the evolving health and economic situation and make the most of ongoing economic, social, environmental, technological and demographic changes. We also endorse the second G20 Action Plan Progress Report, which provides up to date information on progress made against Action Plan commitments. The G20 Action Plan is a living document, and we ask our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to continue to regularly review, update, track implementation of, and report on it.
  6. We are committed to implementing the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) including its extension through June 2021, allowing DSSI-eligible countries to suspend official bilateral debt service payments. We welcome the progress achieved thus far. The preliminary reporting from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) highlighted that, together with exceptional financing, the DSSI is significantly facilitating higher pandemic-related spending. The IMF and WBG will continue to work on their proposal of a process to strengthen the quality and consistency of debt data and improve debt disclosure. We reiterate the importance of joint efforts by both borrowers and creditors, official and private, to improve debt transparency. Our Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors will examine by the time of the 2021 IMF/WBG Spring Meetings if the economic and financial situation requires further extension of the DSSI by another 6 months, which is also agreed by the Paris Club. All official bilateral creditors should implement this initiative fully and in a transparent manner. We will continue to closely coordinate its ongoing implementation to provide maximum support to DSSI-eligible countries. There is a lack of participation from private creditors, and we strongly encourage them to participate on comparable terms when requested by eligible countries. While protecting their current rating and low cost of funding, multilateral development banks (MDBs) are encouraged to go further on their collective efforts in supporting the DSSI, including through providing net-positive flows to DSSI-eligible countries during the suspension period, including the extension period. As of 13 November 2020, 46 countries have requested to benefit from the DSSI, amounting to an estimated USD 5.7 billion of 2020 debt service deferral.
  7. Given the scale of the COVID-19 crisis, the significant debt vulnerabilities and deteriorating outlook in many low-income countries, we recognize that debt treatments beyond the DSSI may be required on a case-by-case basis. In this context, we endorse the “Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI", which is also endorsed by the Paris Club.
  8. Our ongoing response to the crisis caused by COVID-19 marks a defining moment in our history. Building on the benefits of our interconnectedness, we will address the vulnerabilities revealed by this crisis, take the necessary steps to recover stronger, and work to ensure that future generations are safer than we have been.

B. Building a Resilient and Long-Lasting Recovery

  1. Health: We commit to advancing global pandemic preparedness, prevention, detection, and response. We reaffirm our commitment to full compliance with the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), to improving their implementation, including through supporting capacities of countries in need, and to the continued sharing of timely, transparent, and standardized data and information. We emphasize the important mandates of the United Nations’ system and agencies, primarily the WHO, while considering the ongoing evaluations, its stated commitment to transparency, and the need to strengthen its overall effectiveness, in coordinating and supporting the global response to the pandemic and the central efforts of Member States. We take note of the assessments of gaps in pandemic preparedness undertaken by relevant international organizations and we look forward to the work of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response and the IHR Review Committee on evaluating the global health response to the pandemic as outlined in the World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolution on COVID-19. We commend the Saudi Presidency for initiating discussions on the need for long-term solutions to address gaps in global pandemic preparedness and response, including its proposal towards establishing access to pandemic tools, and we look forward to furthering this discussion during the Italian Presidency.
  2. Well-functioning, value-based, inclusive, and resilient health systems are critical to move towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). We reconfirm the importance of UHC financing in developing countries. We welcome the establishment of the Global Innovation Hub for Improving Value in Health, with which countries can engage on a voluntary basis. We will continue tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and zoonotic diseases based on the One-Health approach; supporting and accelerating research and development (R&D) of new antimicrobials; ensuring access to existing antimicrobials, while enhancing their prudent stewardship; and maintaining our efforts in tackling infectious and non-communicable diseases.
  3. Trade and Investment: Supporting the multilateral trading system is now as important as ever. We strive to realize the goal of a free, fair, inclusive, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable, and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open. We will continue to work to ensure a level playing field to foster an enabling business environment. We endorse the G20 Actions to Support World Trade and Investment in Response to COVID-19. We recognize the contribution that the Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has made by providing an additional opportunity to discuss and reaffirm the objectives and foundational principles of the multilateral trading system as well as to demonstrate our ongoing political support for the necessary reform of the WTO, including in the lead up to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. We recognize the need to increase the sustainability and resilience of national, regional, and global supply chains that foster the sustainable integration of developing and least developed countries into the trading system, and share the objective of promoting inclusive economic growth including through increased participation of micro-, small-, medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in international trade and investment. We note that structural problems in some sectors, such as excess capacities, can cause a negative impact.
  4. Transportation and Travel: We commit to ensuring that global transportation routes and supply chains remain open, safe, and secure, and that any restrictive measures related to COVID-19, including for air and sea crews, are targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary, and in accordance with obligations under international agreements. We will continue to explore concrete ways to facilitate the movement of people in a way that does not impede our efforts to protect public health.
  5. International Financial Architecture: We reiterate our commitment to ensure a stronger global financial safety net with a strong, quota-based, and adequately resourced IMF at its center. We remain committed to revisiting the adequacy of quotas and will continue the process of IMF governance reform under the 16th general review of quotas, including a new quota formula as a guide, by 15 December 2023. We call on the IMF to continue exploring additional tools that could serve its members’ needs as the crisis evolves, drawing on relevant experiences from previous crises. We also support the IMF’s enhanced assistance to help address particular challenges faced by small developing states. Beyond the crisis response, we call on the IMF to prepare an analysis of the external financing needs in low income developing countries in the coming years and sustainable financing options, and on the WBG, to scale up its work and deploy instruments in new ways to mobilize private financing to these countries. We welcome the G20 Reference Framework for Effective Country Platforms and the country-owned pilot platforms that have been deployed and look forward to further updates by MDBs on progress in this area. We will strengthen long-term financial resilience and support growth, including through promoting sustainable capital flows and developing domestic capital markets.
  6. Infrastructure Investment: Infrastructure is a driver of growth and prosperity and is critical to promoting economic recovery and resilience. We endorse the G20 Riyadh InfraTech Agenda, which promotes the use of technology in infrastructure, with the aim of improving investment decisions, enhancing value for money, and promoting quality infrastructure investments for the delivery of better social, economic and environmental outcomes. In line with the G20 Roadmap for Infrastructure as an Asset Class, we welcome the G20/OECD Report on the Collaboration with Institutional Investors and Asset Managers on Infrastructure Investment, which reflects investors’ view on issues and challenges affecting private investment in infrastructure and presents policy options to address them. We look forward to exploring options to continue this work in a flexible manner and without duplications with other initiatives, with the participation of interested MDBs and international organizations. We will advance the work related to the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment.
  7. Financial Sector Issues: We commit to the Financial Stability Board (FSB)’s principles underpinning the national and international responses to COVID-19, including the need to act consistently with international standards, and ask the FSB to continue monitoring financial sector vulnerabilities, working on procyclicality and credit worthiness, and coordinating on regulatory and supervisory measures. We welcome the FSB’s holistic review of the March 2020 turmoil, and its forward work plan to improve the resilience of the non-bank financial sector. The pandemic has reaffirmed the need to enhance global cross-border payment arrangements to facilitate cheaper, faster, more inclusive and more transparent payment transactions, including for remittances. We endorse the G20 Roadmap to Enhance Cross-Border Payments. We ask the FSB, in coordination with international organizations and standard-setting bodies, to monitor the progress, review the roadmap and annually report to the G20. We look forward to the FSB completing the evaluation of the effects of the too-big-to-fail reforms in 2021. Moreover, we reaffirm the importance of orderly transition away from LIBOR to alternative reference rates before end-2021. Mobilizing sustainable finance and strengthening financial inclusion are important for global growth and stability. The FSB is continuing to examine the financial stability implications of climate change. We welcome growing private sector participation and transparency in these areas.
  8. While responsible technological innovations can deliver significant benefits to the financial system and the broader economy, we are closely monitoring developments and remain vigilant to existing and emerging risks. No so-called ‘global stablecoins’ should commence operation until all relevant legal, regulatory and oversight requirements are adequately addressed through appropriate design and by adhering to applicable standards. We welcome the reports on the so-called ‘global stablecoins’ and other similar arrangements submitted by the FSB, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the IMF. We look forward to the standard setting bodies engaging in the review of existing standards in light of these reports and making adjustments as needed. We look forward to the IMF’s further work on macro-financial implications of digital currencies and so-called ‘global stablecoins’.
  9. We support the Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Counter-Terrorist Financing (CFT) policy responses detailed in FATF’s paper on COVID-19, and reaffirm our support for the FATF, as the global standard-setting body for preventing and combating money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing. We reiterate our strong commitment to tackle all sources, techniques and channels of these threats. We reaffirm our commitment to strengthening the FATF’s Global Network of regional bodies, including by supporting their expertise in mutual evaluations, and call for the full, effective and swift implementation of the FATF standards worldwide. We welcome the strengthening of the FATF standards to enhance global efforts to counter proliferation financing.
  10. Digital Economy: Connectivity, digital technologies, and policies have played a key role in strengthening our response to the pandemic and facilitating the continuation of economic activity. We take note of the Policy Options to Support Digitalization of Business Models during COVID19. We acknowledge that universal, secure, and affordable connectivity, is a fundamental enabler for the digital economy as well as a catalyst for inclusive growth, innovation and sustainable development. We acknowledge the importance of data free flow with trust and cross-border data flows. We reaffirm the role of data for development. We support fostering an open, fair, and non-discriminatory environment, and protecting and empowering consumers, while addressing the challenges related to privacy, data protection, intellectual property rights, and security. By continuing to address these challenges, in accordance with relevant applicable legal frameworks, we can further facilitate data free flow and strengthen consumer and business trust. We recognize the importance of working with stakeholders to connect humanity by accelerating global internet penetration and bridging digital divides. We recognize the importance of promoting security in the digital economy and welcome the G20 Examples of Practices Related to Security in the Digital Economy. We will continue to promote multi-stakeholder discussions to advance innovation and a human-centered approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI), taking note of the Examples of National Policies to Advance the G20 AI Principles. We welcome both the G20 Smart Mobility Practices, as a contribution to the well-being and resilience of smart cities and communities, and the G20 Roadmap toward a Common Framework for Measuring the Digital Economy.
  11. International Taxation: We will continue our cooperation for a globally fair, sustainable, and modern international tax system. We welcome the Reports on the Blueprints for Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 approved for public release by the G20/OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). Building on this solid basis, we remain committed to further progress on both pillars and urge the G20/OECD Inclusive Framework on BEPS to address the remaining issues with a view to reaching a global and consensus-based solution by mid-2021. We welcome the report approved by the G20/OECD Inclusive Framework on BEPS on the tax policy implications of virtual currencies. We welcome the progress made on implementing the internationally agreed tax transparency standards and on the established automatic exchange of information. We will continue our support to developing countries in strengthening their tax capacity to build sustainable tax revenue bases.
  12. Anti-corruption: We will continue to lead by example in the global fight against corruption. In this regard, we welcome the first G20 Anti-Corruption Ministerial Meeting. We will continue to promote global integrity in response to the pandemic, and we endorse the G20 Call to Action on Corruption and COVID-19. We commit to taking and promoting a multi-stakeholder approach, including with international organizations, the civil society, the media, and the private sector, to preventing and combating corruption. We welcome the Riyadh Initiative for Enhancing International Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Cooperation. We endorse the G20 Action on International Cooperation on Corruption and Economic Crimes, Offenders and the Recovery of Stolen Assets. We welcome the reformed approach to the G20 Anti-corruption Accountability Report, and endorse G20 High-Level Principles for: the Development and Implementation of National Anti-Corruption Strategies; Promoting Public Sector Integrity Through the Use of Information and Communications Technologies; and Promoting Integrity in Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships. We will demonstrate concrete efforts by 2021 towards criminalizing foreign bribery and enforcing foreign bribery legislation in line with article 16 of UNCAC, and with a view to possible adherence by all G20 countries to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention. We welcome Saudi Arabia joining the OECD Working Group on Bribery.

C. Ensuring an Inclusive Recovery that Tackles Inequalities

  1. Sustainable Development: The social and economic impact of the pandemic makes it even more urgent to accelerate efforts to end poverty and tackle inequalities and work to ensure that no-one is left behind. We endorse the G20 Support to COVID-19 Response and Recovery in Developing Countries, the G20 Guidelines on Quality Infrastructure for Regional Connectivity, and the Financing for Sustainable Development Framework. We remain resolved to play a leading role in contributing to the timely implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Building on the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Riyadh Update, with its new Accountability Framework, underscores the collective and concrete actions of the G20 contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. We are determined to support African countries in overcoming the crisis, including by exploring more sustainable financing options for growth in Africa. We reiterate our continued support for the G20 Initiative on Supporting the Industrialization in Africa and LDCs, G20 Africa Partnership and the Compact with Africa, and other relevant initiatives. We remain committed to addressing illicit financial flows.
  2. Access to Opportunities: This crisis continues to have disproportionate economic and social impact on the most vulnerable segments of society, reinforcing the need to enhance access to opportunities for all. We will continue our efforts to reduce inequalities, reaffirming our previous commitments to promote inclusive growth. We endorse the G20 Menu of Policy Options to Enhance Access to Opportunities for All that can be leveraged to support the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic and move towards a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive recovery. We also endorse the G20 High-level Policy Guidelines on Digital Financial Inclusion for Youth, Women, and SMEs prepared by the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI). We welcome the 2020 G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan, which will guide the work of the GPFI for the next three years.
  3. Employment: Tackling the devastating impact of the pandemic on labor markets remains our priority as millions of workers continue to face job and income loss. We recognize the importance of protecting and promoting decent jobs for all, especially for women and youth. We support access to comprehensive, robust, and adaptive social protection for all, including those in the informal economy, and endorse the use of the Policy Options for Adapting Social Protection to Reflect the Changing Patterns of Work. We recognize the importance of employment policies and programs in supporting job creation, and promote the use of social dialogue. We will continue to support workers through training and reskilling policies. We acknowledge the report from the ILO and the OECD on the Impact of COVID-19 on Global Labor Markets. We endorse the G20 Youth Roadmap 2025 in support of achieving the G20 Antalya Youth Goal to reduce the share of young people who are at most risk of being permanently left behind in the labor market by 15 percent by 2025. We call upon the ILO and the OECD to continue monitoring these matters. We will continue our efforts to eradicate child labor, forced labor, human trafficking, and modern slavery in the world of work.
  4. Women’s Empowerment: As many women have been disproportionately affected by the crisis, we will work to ensure that the pandemic does not widen gender inequalities and undermine the progress made in recent decades. Recalling relevant UN declarations, processes, and calls to action to empower women and girls, we reaffirm the importance of women’s and girls’ empowerment as a cross-cutting issue in all aspects of our policies and recognize that women are a key driver of economic growth. We will continue to promote gender equality, as well as combat stereotypes, reduce pay gaps, and address the unequal distribution of unpaid work and care responsibilities between men and women. We will step up our efforts towards achieving the Brisbane Goal to reduce the gap in labor force participation between men and women by 25 percent by 2025 along with improving the quality of women’s employment; we call on ILO and OECD to continue providing input to support our progress; and look forward to a roadmap under the next Presidency. We will take steps to remove the barriers to women’s economic participation and entrepreneurship. We welcome the commencement, under the Saudi Presidency, of the Private Sector Alliance for the Empowerment and Progression of Women’s Economic Representation (EMPOWER) for women’s advancement in leadership positions.
  5. Education: We have taken actions to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education. We stress the importance of continuity of education in times of crisis through the implementation of measures to ensure safe in-person learning, effective quality distance and blended teaching and learning, as appropriate. Inclusive, equitable and quality education for all, especially for girls, remains key to unlocking a brighter future and fighting inequalities. It is the foundation of personal development as it provides children, youth, and adults with the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes necessary to reach their full potential. We affirm the importance of improving the accessibility and affordability of the quality early childhood education, and building and retaining a qualified workforce. We recognize the value of fostering internationalization in education, while respecting national and sub-national laws, rules and policies.
  6. Tourism: We will continue our efforts in collaboration with stakeholders, including the private sector, to facilitate the travel and tourism sector’s recovery from the pandemic. We welcome the Tourism Community Initiative as a catalyst of sector recovery, including the creative economy. We endorse the G20 Guidelines for Inclusive Community Development through Tourism and encourage the use of the AlUla Framework for Inclusive Community Development Through Tourism that aim to create jobs, empower local communities, especially rural, safeguard the planet, and preserve cultural heritage. We also endorse the G20 Guidelines for Action on Safe and Seamless Travel and welcome the establishment of the G20 Tourism Working Group.
  7. Migration and Forced Displacement: We emphasize the importance of shared actions to: mitigate the impact of the pandemic on those in vulnerable situations, which may include refugees, migrants and forcibly displaced people; respond to growing humanitarian needs; and address the root causes of displacement. We note the 2020 Annual International Migration and Forced Displacement Trends and Policies Report to the G20 prepared by the OECD in cooperation with ILO, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We will continue the dialogue on the various dimensions of these issues in the G20.

D. Ensuring a Sustainable Future

  1. Environment, Energy, Climate: Preventing environmental degradation, conserving, sustainably using and restoring biodiversity, preserving our oceans, promoting clean air and clean water, responding to natural disasters and extreme weather events, and tackling climate change are among the most pressing challenges of our time. As we recover from the pandemic, we are committed to safeguarding our planet and building a more environmentally sustainable and inclusive future for all people.
  2. We strengthen our resolve to conserve our marine and terrestrial environment in advance of the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). We launch the Global Coral Reef R&D Accelerator Platform to conserve coral reefs and the Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats to prevent, halt, and reverse land degradation. Building on existing initiatives, we share the ambition to achieve a 50 percent reduction of degraded land by 2040, on a voluntary basis. We reaffirm our commitment to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter, as articulated by the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision, and to end illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
  3. We stress our continued resolve to ensure a stable and uninterrupted supply of energy to achieve economic growth as we respond to the challenges brought about by the pandemic. We recognize the importance of expediting universal access, relying on innovation across fuels and technology options, to affordable and reliable energy for all, in accordance with national circumstances, including ensuring access to clean cooking and electricity. In this regard, we recognize the importance of utilizing the widest variety of fuels and technology options, according to national context, and leading energy transitions to realize the "3E+S" (Energy Security, Economic Efficiency, and Environment + Safety). We acknowledge the importance of maintaining undisrupted flows of energy and exploring paths to enhanced energy security and markets stability, while promoting open, competitive, and free international energy markets. We endorse the G20 Initiative on Clean Cooking and Energy Access and G20 Energy Security and Markets Stability Cooperation. We welcome the measures and recommendations of the Energy Focus Group (EFG), as endorsed by the Energy Ministers party to the EFG, to rebalance the energy markets and continue short and long-term investments. We reaffirm our joint commitment on medium term rationalization and phasing-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while providing targeted support for the poorest.
  4. We endorse the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) Platform, with its 4Rs framework (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Remove), recognizing the key importance and ambition of reducing emissions, taking into account system efficiency and national circumstances. The CCE is a voluntary, holistic, integrated, inclusive, pragmatic, and complementary approach to promote economic growth while enhancing environmental stewardship through managing emissions in all sectors including, but not limited to, energy, industry, mobility, and food. We acknowledge, in this context, the various voluntary opportunities and their acceleration highlighted by the CCE Guide. We acknowledge the Presidency Reports of the Climate Stewardship Working Group that can be utilized as a toolbox in addressing sustainability including climate change in the context of national circumstances. We also acknowledge the importance of fostering synergies between adaptation and mitigation, including through nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches.
  5. In advance of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP26 in Glasgow and the UNCBD COP15 in Kunming, we reiterate our support for tackling pressing environmental challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, as we promote economic growth, energy security and access for all, and environmental protection. Signatories to the Paris Agreement who confirmed at Osaka their determination to implement it, once again, reaffirm their commitment to its full implementation, reflecting common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances. These signatories recall the request by COP21 to communicate or update their nationally determined contributions reflecting their highest possible ambition, in accordance with their obligations under the Paris Agreement, taking into account means of implementation; and emphasize the importance of providing and mobilizing a wide variety of financial resources, to assist developing countries in their adaptation and mitigation efforts, in accordance with the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, reaffirming the importance of international cooperation. In addition, these signatories reiterate the invitation to communicate by 2020 long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies. These signatories recall the commitment made by developed countries to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. All G20 members also continue to support efforts and utilize all available approaches aimed at advancing environmental stewardship for future generations, and emphasize that further global efforts are needed to address these challenges, while maintaining healthy economies conducive to growth, decent jobs, and innovation.
  6. Agriculture: We reaffirm our commitment to tackling the challenges in food security and nutrition, as well as reinforcing the efficiency, resilience, and sustainability of food and agriculture supply-chains, especially in light of the effects of the pandemic. A significant increase in responsible investment in agriculture and food systems is needed to meet the challenge of feeding the global population and we endorse the G20 Riyadh Statement to Enhance Implementation of Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems. We acknowledge the goal of voluntarily establishing intermediate country-specific targets to strengthen efforts towards halving global per capita food loss and waste by 2030.
  7. Water: We acknowledge that affordable, reliable, and safe water, sanitation, and hygiene services are essential for human life and that access to clean water is critical to overcome the pandemic. We welcome the G20 Dialogue on Water as a basis to share best practices and promote innovation, and new technologies, on a voluntary basis, that will foster sustainable, resilient, and integrated water management.
  8. We value the efforts to safeguard people’s health through the postponement of major public events. As a symbol of humanity’s resilience and global unity in overcoming COVID-19, we commend Japan’s determination to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 next year. We further commend the United Arab Emirates’ resolve to host World Expo 2020 next year. We look forward to the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.
  9. We thank the international organizations for their valuable input through their reports and technical advice. We commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. We express our appreciation for the valuable work undertaken by the G20 Engagement Groups.
  10. We thank Saudi Arabia for hosting a successful Riyadh Summit and its contribution to the G20 process. We look forward to our next meetings in Italy in 2021, Indonesia in 2022, India in 2023 and Brazil in 2024.

[Source: Press department of the presidency of the Republic]


2. European Union - COVID-19 - Interview given by Mr. Clément Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to LCI (excerpts) (Paris - November 18, 2020)

Q. - Could there be delays in the delivery of France’s vaccines because Europe hasn’t signed contracts?

No, first of all, as you said, it’s a collective job that we’re doing with the Industry Minister and the Health Minister. I want to be very clear: we made a decision, which is a new decision: we’re saying there was no Health Europe, we’re trying to build it directly and concretely. In other words, we decided, rather than everyone retreating into their own corner, to negotiate with one pharmaceutical company or another, in France, Germany or Spain, and - ultimately what would have happened? One country might have scooped up every dose or every contract, maybe not France, maybe another; we would have had a sort of health nationalism which would, I think, have been disastrous for French people, for Europe’s image and for Europeans in general. So we decided it should be the European Union that negotiates contracts, on behalf of the 27 member countries, with all the major companies that currently have vaccine candidates at a very advanced stage.

But does that prevent countries, nationally, from placing orders elsewhere or not?

It doesn’t prevent them, it guarantees them, and I want to make it clear: it’s the European Union that negotiates on our behalf, the contracts are verified, it’s the European Union which to a large extent funds the purchase of these vaccines, which is also an advantage and is also important; furthermore, as everyone understands, when you’re negotiating for 450 million you’re stronger than when you’re negotiating for 65 million. So it’s also a financial advantage.

So that’s the Commission. So you’re saying it negotiates with you, sorry, with Europe, you represent Europe in the Government, and it says: “it’s taking a long time, there are 27 countries after all, it’s cumbersome administratively and so it’s not signed. It’s not signed?

No, in fact it’s less cumbersome than if we had 27 procedures that are different, contradictory etc. Moreover, as Mr. Bancel said - we had contacts with him again only yesterday -, there’s a preliminary agreement; I don’t want to be too technical but it’s important, so the essential parameters of the contract have been there since 24 August, to be very precise. There are some final details, I checked this again with my Government colleagues and the European Commission yesterday, there was also a contact at the highest level only yesterday between Mr. Bancel and the European Commission presidency, to ensure that it’s genuinely a matter of days; that’s very important.

So the contract will exist, it’s a matter of days, and let me be clear that five other contracts have already been signed with other major companies; we’ve talked about the solution from Pfizer and BioNTech, which incidentally is a German, European start-up whose research is funded by the European Union. So I want to say that Europe won’t be late, Europe is ensuring this protection, Europe is guaranteeing that we all have access to vaccines at the best price, as quickly as possible.

Let me also emphasize this - sorry, because it’s important, people are wondering about it: there will be no discrepancy, no priority will be given, for example to the Americans compared to the Europeans, in the decisions the pharmaceutical companies take. That’s also why we’re signing very quickly, but it’s really a matter of days; it will be done.

Are you telling us Moderna will be signed in a few days, at the end of the week?

I can’t guarantee at the end of the week, but it’s really very fast and the contract is virtually ready, Brussels has assured us of that.

So there’s a first stage, anyway: the vaccine must be technically validated as safe; it’s then approved by a European agency. We’re told this will be done before the year ends. So if they’re safe, the approval, the technical validation, the authorization to launch on the market, before the end of this year. Can you confirm that?

There’s a European agency for centralization that is actually called the European Medicines Agency, whose chair has announced it is capable of it, but it depends what guarantees, what documents the laboratories provide between now and the end of the year. I think everyone understands - I’m not the Health Minister but everyone understands it’s in our interest as Europeans; we’re doing things as quickly as possible, ensuring the vaccines are genuine and provide protection, and ensuring the safety and health of Europeans.

What does a European strategy mean in terms of timescale? Will everyone have the vaccines at the same time? Or could we suddenly see the Germans, the Hungarians, the Belgians vaccinated before the French, or vice versa?

(...) There’s the vaccination strategy. We, France, under the President’s authority, have initiated European coordination to prevent each party setting out its parameters, its priorities in its own corner - for example, Germany saying it’s going to vaccinate such-and-such a category of the population first, France another and Italy yet another.

Wait, that’s important: does it mean there will be a kind of European harmony on the priority targets?

That’s what we’re working on.

Is that what you’d like?

That’s what we’d like.

Why?

Because I think - and you can also see it, fortunately - that everyone looks at what’s happening in Europe. We even saw it in the measures on lockdown, on curfew, on the opening or closing of shops: everyone looks at what’s happening next door, it’s natural. And so as you can imagine, if in France we said: our strategy has been ABC and the Germans’ is CAB...

So you’re saying that if, for example, the Germans vaccinate elderly people before people with certain illnesses etc., and that France does something else, it will be controversial and that’s something you want to avoid, is that right?

What I want to say is that our health minister, Olivier Véran, is looking at our vaccination strategy; he and the other members of the Government are talking to the Germans and other Europeans to see what they think and what their priorities are - I think this is good practice - and try - it isn’t a constraint, it’s an advantage - to adopt the same practices at the same time.

So the goals are to have that harmony and also the timetable. What would happen if one country in the European Union decided to vaccinate before [others], for example without waiting for approval?

First of all, in each of our countries, there’s a dual procedure: a European one, with the European Medicines Agency, so that we make a joint assessment. And then, secondly, we’ve got an agency in France called ANSM [National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety] - in other countries there’s another procedure - which issues national authorization. I don’t think there’s any question, for this vaccine or the others, of not being responsible, of not complying with a procedure, of going against authorization. That’s our guarantee in terms of health.

Is this something you fear, or not?

No, it isn’t something we fear, I’m simply explaining.

Because as we’ve clearly seen, everyone has done what they could, done their own thing, when it comes to health.

No, on the issue of vaccines, I think - again, I’m not the Health Minister, but I’m explaining - there’s a European framework. It’s very important and there are our health procedures, because we’re not going to rush into things without checking how the vaccine works.

According to Les Echos [French daily newspaper] at the beginning of the week, the first deliveries could take place sometime in January. Will this be workable?

That’s what the pharmaceutical companies are saying - if the vaccines are authorized - and our manufacturing processes are activated so that we indeed have availability as soon as possible. In a good scenario, it could be available from the beginning of the year. Secondly, vaccination has to be organized, and this presents a challenge in terms of public health, logistics and organization, and we’re preparing for it right now.

OK. When Les Echos talks about the first deliveries, it means deliveries at European level, not necessarily redistribution in every country?

That will happen at the same time. (...)


3. Nagorno-Karabakh - Armenia - France establishing a mechanism to assist Armenians affected by the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh - Statement issued by the Spokesperson of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris - November 22, 2020)

At the request of President Macron and the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, France is establishing a structured effort to assist Armenians affected by the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Coordinated by a steering committee at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’ Crisis and Support Center, this mechanism mobilizes the efforts of the government, associations promoting solidarity with Armenia, humanitarian organizations belonging to Coordination Sud, corporate foundations and hospitals. It focuses on three areas.

1/ After initial emergency actions in recent weeks involving the dispatch of surgeons and medical/surgical supplies to Armenia, several humanitarian flights have been organized. An initial cargo plane leased by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs arrived in Yerevan this afternoon. It was transporting items donated by French authorities: emergency medical equipment, and in particular a Mobile Medical Station allowing for the care of 500 people as well as blankets and hygiene kits to be distributed to people affected by the conflict.

A second flight has been scheduled for November 27. Its cargo will include State resources, donations collected from associations promoting solidarity with Armenia such as the Aznavour Foundation and the Union Générale Arménienne de Bienfaisance, and humanitarian cargo supplied by humanitarian organizations and corporate foundations.

2/ Following on from the medical missions conducted since October, the second area of focus involves stepping up cooperation between hospitals in both countries. This will be facilitated by financial support from the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. In France, the public hospitals of Paris, Marseille and Lyon have already been mobilized.

3/ The third area focuses on supporting projects instituted in Armenia by humanitarian organizations and UN agencies. France will provide direct financial support for these structures that are active on the ground.

Finally, local governments, some of which are already actively supporting projects in Armenia, have been invited to contribute to these three areas of focus.

This mechanism for providing humanitarian assistance comes in response to the emergency situation created by the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh in recent weeks.

In its capacity as co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group together with Russia and the United States, France also remains fully committed to achieving a lasting solution to this conflict.


4. United Nations - Afghanistan - Statement by Ms. Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council in Arria Formula (New York - November 20, 2020)

Thank you.

First of all, let me thank the co-organizers of this meeting as well as all the briefers.

The start of the inter-Afghan negotiations has created an opportunity for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, but the road to a lasting peace is still long. And while the international community will accompany Afghanistan in this process, this support will not be unconditional. This is the message that we will carry in a few days time at the donors’ conference that will open on November 23rd in Geneva.

This support will depend on the sincere engagement of all parties and on the respect of their commitments, particularly those made in the February agreements. In resolution 2513, the Security Council welcomed these agreements as a first step towards peace. Since then, confidence-building measures have made it possible to start negotiations, but they are not sufficient and they must continue. First of all, by the reduction of violence. This is a priority. We continue to call for the implementation of resolution 2532, with the immediate establishment of a cessation of hostilities and a humanitarian pause.

Civilians, and in particular children, continue to pay the heaviest toll in this conflict. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the recent attacks. The preservation of humanitarian space, the protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical personnel, as well as civilian infrastructure must be a top priority: it is imperative that all parties respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. Efforts to combat impunity must also be strengthened. The release of prisoners has made it possible to start negotiations, but peace must not be achieved at any price. Those who commit these attacks must be punished.

Another essential condition for sustainable peace, as well as support from the international community, will be the full participation of women. Women must be included in all spheres of public life and all relevant processes. Peace will not be achieved without them, nor at the expense of their rights. We will not compromise on this point and we deplore the fact that only one of the parties to the negotiations has included women in its negotiating team.

As I have said, the sustainability of peace will depend on the fulfillment of each party’s commitments. The Security Council will tailor its support by making full use of the tools at its disposal. That is on the sincere investment of all. Among its tools, the review of the 1988 Committee’s sanctions list is possible, but as the Council indicated in resolution 2513, it will only be done in the light of progress in peace. In particular, we expect the Taliban to meet their commitments under the February 29, 2020 agreement, in particular by severing their ties with international terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida and ISIS. We remain attentive to the progress of the discussions and to the pledges that each of the parties will make to preserve the gains made in terms of democracy, human rights for all, as well as the renunciation of violence.

Our collective objective must remain the establishment of a lasting peace, for which the resolute commitment of Afghanistan’s partners at its side is indispensable. France stands ready to facilitate the peace process at the request of the parties, and it intends to continue its commitment to support Afghanistan’s security as well as economic and social development. Finally, I would like to commend the work of UNAMA and of Deborah Lyons. Their engagement in Afghanistan is a key component of the peace process and the Security Council should remain mobilized in supporting them.

Thank you.