Virtual G20 meet leads to new virus plan

1 / 3
The G20 ministers and central bank governors tasked relevant working groups to deliver on the roadmap by their next virtual meeting on April 15. (SPA)
2 / 3
The G20 ministers and central bank governors tasked relevant working groups to deliver on the roadmap by their next virtual meeting on April 15. (SPA)
3 / 3
The G20 ministers and central bank governors tasked relevant working groups to deliver on the roadmap by their next virtual meeting on April 15. (SPA)
Short Url
Updated 01 April 2020

Virtual G20 meet leads to new virus plan

  • The World Bank has said it is ready to deploy as much as $160 billion over the next 15 months to support its member countries to respond to the pandemic

LONDON: G20 finance ministers and central bank governors met virtually on Tuesday to coordinate their efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They agreed on a roadmap to implement commitments made at an earlier leader’s summit last week under the Saudi G20 presidency.
These included delivering a joint G20 Action Plan which will outline the individual and collective actions that the world’s most powerful economies  have taken and will be taking to respond to the pandemic. It will also address the risk of debt vulnerabilities in low-income countries, allowing them to focus their efforts on fighting the virus.
“The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors also discussed the role of the IMF, the World Bank Group and other International Financial Institutions to deploy all available resources and explore additional measures needed to support emerging markets and developing economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including by supporting financial stability and alleviating liquidity constraints,” the G20 said.
The World Bank has said it is ready to deploy as much as $160 billion over the next 15 months to support its member countries to respond to the pandemic.
The G20 ministers and central bank governors tasked relevant working groups to deliver on the roadmap by their next virtual meeting on April 15.


EU pledges to stay green in virus recovery

Updated 29 May 2020

EU pledges to stay green in virus recovery

  • To help economies from the 27-nation bloc bounce back as quick as possible

BRUSSELS: The European Commission pledged on Thursday to stay away from fossil-fueled projects in its coronavirus recovery strategy, and to stick to its target of making Europe the first climate neutral continent by the middle of the century, but environmental groups said they were unimpressed.

To weather the deep recession triggered by the pandemic, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed a €1.85 trillion ($2 trillion) package consisting of a revised long-term budget and a recovery fund, with 25 percent of the funding set aside for climate action.

To help economies from the 27-nation bloc bounce back as quick as possible, the EU’s executive arm wants to increase a €7.5-billion ($8.25 billion) fund presented earlier this year that was part of an investment plan aiming at making the continent more environmentally friendly.

Under the commission’s new plan, which requires the approval of member states, the mechanism will be expanded to €40 billion ($44 billion) and is expected to generate another €150 billion in public and private investment. The money is designed to help coal-dependent countries weather the costs of moving away from fossil fuels.

Environmental group WWF acknowledged the commission’s efforts but expressed fears the money could go to “harmful activities such as fossil fuels or building new airports and motorways.”

“It can’t be used to move from coal to coal,” Frans Timmermans, the commission executive vice president in charge the European Green Deal, responded on Thursday. “It is unthinkable that support will be given to go from coal to coal. That is how we are going to approach the issue. That’s the only way you can ensure you actually do not harm.”

Timmermans conceded, however, that projects involving fossil fuels could sometimes be necessary, especially the use of natural gas to help move away from coal.

The commission also wants to dedicate an extra €15 billion ($16.5 billion) to an agricultural fund supporting rural areas in their transition toward a greener model.

Von der Leyen, who took office last year, has made the fight against climate change the priority of her term. Timmermans insisted that her goal to make Europe the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050 remained unchanged, confirming that upgraded targets for the 2030 horizon would be presented by September.

Reacting to the executive arm’s recovery plans, Greenpeace lashed out at a project it described as “contradictory at best and damaging at worst,” accusing the commission of sticking to a growth-driven mentality detrimental to the environment.

“The plan includes several eye-catching green `options,’ including home renovation schemes, taxes on single-use plastic waste and the revenues of digital giants like Google and Facebook. But it does not solve the problem of existing support for gas, oil, coal, and industrial farming — some of the main drivers of a mounting climate and environmental emergency,” Greenpeace said.

“The plan also fails to set strict social or green conditions on access to funding for polluters like airlines or carmakers.”

Timmermans said the EU would keep investing in the development of emission-free public transportation, and promoting clean private transport through the EU budget.