NEW DELHI: As the world grapples with the Covid-19 threat, PM
Thursday called for measures to strengthen and reform WHO to allow it to adapt to new challenges in a special
video conference. G20 countries committed to injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy to counter the social and economic impact of Covid-19, said the Indian government in a statement.
Even as the US and China continue to quarrel over the origin of the novel
, sources here said the conference was held in the most cooperative manner and that there was no reference to the origin of the crisis. “It was the best illustration of global cooperation. The focus was purely on efforts to deal with the challenge and there was no attempt to ascribe motives,” said a source.
While doubts have also been raised about WHO’s role, PM made the point that the UN agency responsible for international public health did not have the mandate to deal with pandemic of this sort, which is why empowering of WHO was necessary, be it in terms of its “capacity of early warning or development of effective vaccines, or capacity building”.
More on Covid-19Coronavirus pandemic: Complete Coverage21-day lockdown: What will stay open and what won’tHow to quarantine yourself at homeTrust the newspaper for your daily verified newsThe G20 leaders supported strengthening of the WHO’s mandate in the fight against pandemics, including delivery of medical supplies, diagnostic tools, treatments, medicines and vaccines, said the Indian government.
While G20 has in the past focused primarily on financial and economic issues, Modi said in in his intervention that it was time for the group to focus more on humanitarian issues and share benefits of medical research with all, official sources said after the conference.
“PM spoke for the entire world and not just G20. He made the point that too often human aspects had been subsumed by focus on economic and financial issues,” said a source.
The 4 key areas which the summit focused on were identified as fighting the pandemic, safeguarding global economy, addressing international trade disruptions and enhancing global cooperation.
While calling for a concrete action plan to dea with Covid-19, Modi said this was the time for G20 to unveil a new concept of globalization with focus on humanitarian issus and on addressing challenges like climate change and terrorism.
At the meeting, G20 Leaders agreed to take all necessary measures to contain the pandemic and protect people.
“Leaders also committed to use all available policy tools to minimize the economic and social cost of the pandemic and to restore global growth, market stability and strengthening resilience. Leaders also agreed to contribute to the WHO led Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund on a voluntary basis,” said the government in a statement.
In his remarks, said the government, PM noted the alarming social and economic cost of the pandemic. He added that 90% of the Covid-19 cases and 88% of deaths were in G20 countries even as they share 80% of world GDP and 60% of world population.
Modi also underscored the need to put human beings at the centre of G20 vision of global prosperity and cooperation, freely and openly share the benefits of medical research and development, develop adaptive, responsive and humane health care systems and promote new crisis management protocols and procedures for an interconnected global village.
PM called on the leaders to help usher in a new globalization, for the “collective well-being of humankind and have multilateral fora focus on promoting the shared interests of humanity”.
At the end of the Summit, Indian officials said, a G20 Leaders’ Statement was issued which called for a coordinated global response to fight the pandemic, adopting measures to safeguard the global economy, minimising trade disruption and steps to enhance global cooperation.