TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has called on G20 Leaders to support low and middle income countries struggling to recover from coronavirus pandemic as they met virtually this weekend at the 2020 Riyadh Summit, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at a virtual press briefing, on late Saturday.
President Jokowi said that without the bloc's help and solidarity to the low and middle income countries, those nations would need longer time to recover from both health crisis and economic recession, the minister added.
Debt relief and emergency fund for COVID-19 pandemic were Jokowi's two main proposals to the bloc at the two-day summit chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The meeting's results to be announced later today is expected to deliver significant and clear messages to the world community that the Leaders of the two third economies will stand united on resolving global issues post COVID-19, mainly in term of restoring jobs and building an inclusive, sustainable, and resilience future, said Marsudi.
"The President said UNCTAD has announced it needs at least 2.5 trillion US dollar contribution from major countries to help low and middle income countries returning to normal after being hit by the economic and health crises. These countries need more flexible fiscal space for rapid economic recovery," the Indonesia's foreign minister stated.
At the meeting on late Saturday, attending virtually at Bogor Presidential Palace, President Jokowi said more flexible fiscal space will allow countries to allocate more funds to social safety net programs, boost domestic consumption, and support small and medium enterprises.
He also said the Leaders' financial supports will also help countries to procure COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, in term of providing emergency fund for COVID-19, the president said it needs strong political will from G20 Leaders to mobilize their financial resources for coronavirus vaccines, tests, and treatments.
Jokowi's calls for debt relief and emergency COVID-19 funding were also echoed by other Leaders, including European Union who urged G20 to put more money into Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and its COVAX Facility, a joint programme led by WHO, GAVI, and CEPI to procure vaccine equally at more affordable price.
Head of European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, in her post on Twitter, said she called for 4,5 billion US dollar to be invested in ACT Accelerator by the end of 2020, "for procurement and delivery of COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines everywhere," she reiterated.
EU, as stated by the European Council President Charles Michel, also proposed G20 should set up a treaty on pandemic. "An international treaty would help us respond more quickly and in more coordinated manner," Michel told G20 as quoted by Reuters.
G20 in its statement last month said the bloc has contributed over 21 billion US dollar "to support the production, distribution, and access to diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines; injected 11 trillion US dollar to safeguard the global economy and launched a debt suspension initiative for the least developed countries that would allow beneficiary countries to defer 14 billion US dollar in debt payments due this year and use these amounts instead for financing their health systems and social programs".