As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world approaches 500,000, the leaders of the G20 economies adopted a joint statement on Mar. 26 in which they promised to quickly release a financial package and to shore up international financial safety nets.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who had suggested holding the G20 videoconference in the first place, urged the participating countries to permit the movement of essential personnel, including businesspeople, scientists, and doctors, to maintain crucial economic exchange between countries.
Following the special summit, held by videoconference, on Thursday evening, the G20 leaders, including Moon, US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, adopted a joint statement.
“We will work swiftly and decisively [. . .] to deploy a [. . .] rapid financial package. [. . .] We stand ready to strengthen the global financial safety nets,” the statement said.
“We call upon all these [front-line international] organizations to further step up coordination of their actions, including with the private sector, to support emerging and developing countries facing the health, economic and social shocks of COVID-19,” the leaders said in the statement.
The statement also promised to “strengthen capacity building and technical assistance, especially to at-risk communities” such as Africa. “Consolidating Africa’s health defense is a key for the resilience of global health,” the statement said.
Cooperation on repatriation of respective nations’ citizens
The leaders also agreed to help each other repatriate their citizens as they work to stem the global pandemic.
“We will expand manufacturing capacity to meet the increasing needs for medical supplies and ensure these are made widely available, at an affordable price, on an equitable basis, where they are most needed and as quickly as possible,” the statement said.
Moon proposed allowing the travel of figures in the business and medical communities to facilitate joint action by the international community. “Over the past two months, South Korea’s response has been based on the three principles of openness, transparency, and democracy. We have identified cases of the disease through an overwhelming volume of tests and are tracking the routes of infection for those individuals,” he said.
“Going forward, our government intends to keep improving and upgrading our disease control measures and sharing a successful action model with the international community,” he said.
“In order to minimize COVID-19’s negative impact on the global economy, it’s important to maintain essential economic exchange between countries. I propose that we look for ways to permit the movement of essential people, including scientists, doctors, and businesspeople, on a scale that doesn’t hinder each country’s disease control measures.”
“We must use all available measures to implement an expansionary macro policy, and we also need to strengthen the global financial safety net and to work to stabilize the economies of underdeveloped and poor countries,” Moon emphasized.
The meeting was attended by the leaders of the G20 countries, including the US, China, Germany, France, the UK, and Russia, and the heads of international bodies such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Health Organization.