Some 50 world leaders call for post-pandemic development cooperation

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, addresses the “High-level event on financing for development in the era of Covid-19 and beyond”. [Europe by Satellite]

World leaders on Thursday (29 May) called for resilience and cooperation after the pandemic recedes, during a UN videoconference in which the United States, China and Russia did not participate.

About 50 leaders took part in the “High-level event on financing for development in the era of Covid-19 and beyond”, with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte saying in a recorded message that the goal must be to “leave no one behind.”

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said “we need to be innovative, think outside the box,” echoing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Canada and Jamaica organized the conference.

Sustainable development goals for 2030 “are more crucial than ever,” said European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. “We have to work and fight together.”

Several leaders, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, said the crisis could be an opportunity to grow a “more resilient” economy to aid the fight against global warming.

Deploring a “deep questioning of multilateralism,” Macron stressed “cooperation is essential” as well as “support for the most fragile countries,” especially in Africa.

Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani called for the “systematic and immediate cancellation of debt.”

UN Secretary General António Guterres asked leaders to “go further” than they already have on debt relief for vulnerable countries, in a spirit of “needs-based solidarity and transparency.”

Guterres applauded the meeting, playing down the absence of the three missing world powers.

He told reporters that the United States, China and Russia would participate in six working groups created at Thursday’s session, for which meetings are scheduled for July, September and December.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped the world would “build back better,” adding “we must work together across borders” to avoid a new pandemic and to help global recovery.

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada said the world after COVID-19 should be dominated by “solidarity, not profit.”

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