The Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, spoke this Friday at the Joint G20 Finance and Health Ministers’ Meeting in Rome, where he referred to the measures that this forum can implement to help face current and future challenges in matters of global public health.
Virtually joined by his counterpart from Health, Carla Vizzotti, the Minister highlighted the main proposals expressed in the forum, such as the possibility of making the intellectual property rights of vaccines more flexible. In addition, Guzmán highlighted the need to release over-orders by advanced countries that have bought more than they need, noting that this situation has created “shortages for billions of people in low- and middle-income countries.”
In his speech, Guzmán also stressed the need to increase transfers of technology to scale up the capacity of production and define rules that ensure that the new allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) is used to tackle the challenges of the pandemic. In many countries the new SDR are owned and held by central banks and the treasuries cannot use them to finance the expenses that are necessary to deal with the pandemic. A mechanism to fix this situation must be found”, he added.
During his speech, Guzmán also presented the vaccination figures in Argentina, highlighting the excellent level of the campaign carried out. “We’ve been vaccinating at a large scale—almost 75% of the population has already received at least one dose, more than 55% has received two doses, and we are already vaccinating children over 3 years old. The vaccination campaign has been critical for the rapid economic recovery the country is now experiencing”, said the Minister.
Finally, the head of the Ministry of Economy considered the importance of promoting international cooperation at crucial moments such as the pandemic and highlighted that “the cost of inaction is large compared with the benefits of action. So one wonders: if we don’t manage to improve global cooperation when the benefit/cost ratio is so high in the short term, how are we going to achieve cooperation on issues in which the benefits will be seen in longer terms, as climate change?” concluded Guzmán.
The Joint G20 Finance and Health Ministers’ Meeting is the last meeting of the forum during the Italian Presidency before the Leaders’ Summit. Its objective was to complete the joint work at the multilateral level that is carried out between both ministerial portfolios during this year. Within this framework, the G20 created a new working group that will strengthen joint work on health and finance issues.
Remarks at the Joint G20 Finance and Health Ministers’ Meeting (pdf)