Finance Minister discusses vaccine equity, calls on countries to meet climate finance goals at G20

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the investors roundtable meeting hosted by FICCI and U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), in Boston, October 12, 2021   | Photo Credit: PTI

At the start of her Washington visit, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors (FMCBGs) from the Group of Twenty (G20) countries on the side lines of the World Bank IMF Annual Meetings in Washington DC on October 13, where she called on countries to meet their climate finance obligations and highlighted the challenge of equitable vaccine distribution.

Ms. Sitharman told the G20 that ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines is a significant challenge, as per the Finance Ministry twitter account. She also said that continuing supportive measures, building resilience, enhancing productivity and structural reforms should be the group’s policy goals, according to the Finance Ministry’s summary of that meeting.

On climate, the Finance Minister called for rich countries to meet international climate finance commitments ($100 billion annually by 2020) and commitments on technology.

She emphasized that “considering the varied policy spaces and different starting points of countries, the centrality of climate justice based on United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change and principles of Paris Agreement would be critical for taking forward discussions towards successful outcomes,” according to the Finance Ministry sources. India has been under pressure to provide a deadline for achieving ‘net zero’ emissions and to commit to deeper emissions cuts in the run up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow starting October 31.

G20 delegates endorsed a recently concluded agreement on a global minimum tax and the redistribution of profits of multinational entities, a statement from the G20 said. The Finance Minister thanked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a group of wealthy countries, for the agreement, the Finance Ministry said, adding that the agreement helped with tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy.

The G20 also discussed support for recovery from the pandemic, debt restructuring for poor countries and climate action, according to the description of the meeting on its website.

The delegates noted that while recovery from the pandemic was continuing, it was highly even and agreed not to prematurely withdraw support measures— especially those designed to support low skilled workers, women, and others most impacted by the pandemic, according to the G20 . They also reaffirmed their support for the equitable distribution and access to vaccines and therapeutics with more concrete outcomes, including coordination between finance and health policy makers, expected at the end of the month in Rome, where G20 Health Ministers are scheduled to meet. Italy currently holds the presidency of the group. India is set to take over the presidency of the group in December 2022.

Ms. Sitharaman had a meeting with OECD Director General Mathias Cormann.

Ms. Sitharaman meets industry heads

Also on October 13, Ms. Sitharaman participated in a roundtable with industry organised by the U.S. India Business Council (USIBC) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with representatives from the insurance, private equity, technology, energy and pharma sectors, the USIBC said.

She also had meetings with business heads from investment company Carlyle Group (CFO Curtis Buser), home care and beauty products company Amway (CEO Milind Pant), aircraft and defence manufacturer Boeing (Chief Strategy Officer B. Marc Allen) and vaccine manufacturer Novavax (CEO Stanly Erck). Ms. Sitharaman also attended a dinner with members of the Board of U.S. India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).

On October 14 her agenda includes attending the International Monetary and Financial Committee Plenary and bilateral meetings, including with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 10:13:04 AM |

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