COVID – Multilateral Action

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COVID – Multilateral Action

Global leaders adopt agenda to overcome COVID-19 crisis and avoid future pandemics
Press release 21 May 2021
Leaders of the G20 committed today to a series of actions to accelerate the end of the COVID-19 crisis everywhere and better prepare for future pandemics, at a summit co-hosted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, as G20 chair.

President Ursula von der Leyen said: “This very first G20 summit on health marks the beginning of a new chapter in global health policy. World leaders strongly committed to multilateralism and global cooperation in health. This means, no export bans, keeping global supply chains open and working to extend production capacity everywhere. If we live up to these principles, the world will be better prepared for pandemics.”

The G20 underlined the importance of increased and diversified manufacturing and recognised the role of intellectual property in ensuring equity, both through voluntary licensing and knowledge transfer, as well as in the context of the flexibilities provided by the TRIPS agreement. In that respect, the EU intends to facilitate the implementation of those flexibilities, in particular the use of compulsory licenses including for exports to all countries that lack manufacturing capacity.*

The EU will come forward with a proposal in the WTO focusing on:
:: clarifying and facilitating the use of compulsory licences in crisis times like this pandemic;
:: supporting the expansion of production;
:: trade facilitation and limiting export restrictions.

All G20 members also acknowledged the need to address the funding gap of the ACT-Accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, and launched by the WHO, the European Commission, France and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And agreed to extend its mandate to the end of 2022.

The leaders further agreed on the need for early warning information, surveillance and trigger systems, which will be interoperable. These will cover new viruses, but also variants. They will enable countries to detect much quicker and to act to nip in the bud outbreaks, before they become pandemics.

G20 clearly stressed the need to ensure equitable access to vaccines and to support low and middle-income countries…