SINGAPORE - An international group of 30 smaller countries has spoken out on the need for the world's largest economies to back vaccine equity.
It is particularly important to ensure that low- and middle-income countries have "timely, equitable and universal access" to vaccines and other medical necessities, said the Global Governance Group (3G) in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 30).
The group was responding to outcomes from the recent Group of 20 (G-20) Leaders' Summit in Rome.
At the summit, G-20 health and finance ministers pledged to boost vaccine supplies in developing countries and remove financing constraints, in order to achieve the global goal of vaccinating at least 40 per cent of the population in all countries by the end of this year, and 70 per cent by mid-2022.
They also announced the creation of a global task force to coordinate government responses to the next pandemic.
The group said it welcomed the G-20's commitments to refrain from export restrictions that are not consistent with World Trade Organisation rules, as well as to increase transparency and predictability in vaccine delivery.
It also highlighted the problem of an unequal economic recovery, brought about by the spread of new Covid-19 variants and uneven vaccination rates.
The group welcomes the G-20's determination to use all available tools for as long as required to help address the adverse consequences of the pandemic, especially on those most impacted, it said.
It expressed its support for the consensus that maintaining an open, fair, equitable, sustainable, non-discriminatory and inclusive rules-based multilateral trade system will help restore growth and create jobs.
The Global Governance Group was formed in 2009 to influence the G-20 countries to take into account the interests of smaller countries affected by its decisions, and is regularly represented at its summits.
Its members include Bahrain, Finland, Malaysia, Singapore and Uruguay.
The group's statement also touched on sustainable development and climate change.
The G-20's commitment to tackle climate change through the full and effective implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Paris Agreement is appreciated, it said.
"As impacts of climate change are experienced more acutely by small- and medium-sized nations, the 3G reiterates the importance of accelerating international cooperation and stands ready to work with the G-20 to address this pressing challenge."
It also expressed its appreciation to this year's G-20 host nation, Italy, for its active outreach to the group's members and added its hope that this will continue under next year's host, Indonesia.