G20 and COP26
Ursula von der Leyen

The European Commission President addresses the goals set for the G20 and COP26 summits, targeting ending the pandemic, economic recovery, and confronting climate change

In a statement ahead of the G20 summit in Rome and COP26 summit in Glasgow, President Ursula von der Leyen outlines the targets and achievements she has pledged with the European Commission.

In three main themes, she advocates for ending COVID-19 and being prepared for future pandemics, global economic recovery, and lessening the impacts of climate e through increased funding and international leadership.

President von der Leyen highlighted the efforts the European Commission and G20 nations have already made and will make, announcing that Europe is on track to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050.

She further recommends the increased participation and financing from the G20 nations towards distributing vaccines, given the G20 nation’s stances as the largest, most advanced economies in the world.

Proposing greater G20 climate change resilience strategies, von der Leyen considers the imbalanced output of carbon emissions the G20 produce, which accounts for over 80% of emissions worldwide.

Suggesting the G20 could cut emissions and prosper economically by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, countries can produce in a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable way while growing their economies also.

She conveys the three “pillars” on which COP26 rests upon, advocating that the climate targets of the summit are achievable when each pillar is given equal focus and participation.

COP26’s main pillars

  1. Ambition: In the ambition of cutting more emissions promptly, President von der Leyen addresses the significant commitments made to cut emissions, aiming to stay below 2 degrees Celsius of global warming. She acknowledges the NDCs do not currently meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  2. Climate finance: von der Leyen further proposes increased climate financing for the least developed and most vulnerable countries, predominantly from nations with more advanced economies.
  3. Completing the ‘rulebook’ on international carbon market: finalising the Paris Agreement and ensuring all nations do their part in the global warming reduction strategy

The statement’s main topics

Ending the pandemic

Commencing with methods to lessen COVID 19, the EU wants to have 70% of the global population fully vaccinated by 2022. Having so far exported over 1.2 billion doses of vaccines to 150 countries in the last 11 months, the European Union have further delivered close to 880 million doses to the European population.

Now aiming to ship their vaccine successes abroad, the EU expects more than 3.5 billion doses of vaccines to be produced locally. Along with Team Europe – the European Commission and the Member States – they will donate more than 500 million doses of vaccines by 2022.

President von der Leyen calls for the G20 leaders to increase manufacturing capacities in developing countries, focusing on mRNA technology, as Europe continues to invest more than 1 billion euros in Africa. While working on the conducive regulatory environment with the African CDC, the EU is building up an African Medicines Agency with other financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank.

So far, good progress has been made in Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa, having additional agreements signed with BioNTech.

Looking at the vaccines that have been administered in Africa – not only for COVID-19 – but also for other diseases, only 1% is actually produced in Africa, and the other 99% are imported. Therefore, another goal emphasised in the statement is for Africa itself to have at least 60% of the vaccines administered in Africa, also produced in Africa by 2040.

Pandemic preparedness

The European Commission President calls for a stronger WHO, improving preparation for the next potential pandemic. Aiming to move away from the current make-shift responses currently administered, the EU calls for more structural responses that are more permanent to establish.

Highlighting the need for improved leader’s collaboration, an important aspect emphasised is to bridge the gap between finance and health. Calling for the G20 to bring together Finance Ministers and Health Ministers with the necessary funding, the EU aspires to better prepare the world, and the existing healthcare systems, for future international health threats.

Global economic recovery

The statement continued to emphasise on financial setbacks of the pandemic, discussing how supply chains in the global economy have been struggling to keep up with the rapidly rising demand, suggesting that high energy prices, if sustained, could pose a threat to the global economic recovery.

The G20, being the primary place to discuss the global minimum tax, requires a global tax agreement that focuses on fairness. Therefore, the G20 will need to agree on a global tax reform to make a proposal for quick implementation on the minimum effective tax rate, preferably before the end of this year. The EU expects the system to be globally in place by 2022.

“The longer we wait, the more expensive it will become”

Climate change

Finally, the main themes end on the climate crisis and the necessary precautions required to attain the 1.5 degrees celcius global warming mark and aspiring net zero-emission targets.

President von der Leyen calls for credible leadership commitments for decarbonisation to reach the goal of net-zero by mid-century, requesting sufficient commitments to really cut the emissions within the next eight years.

Emphasising the necessary climate financing, she suggests increasing the yearly funding to the least developed and most vulnerable countries concerning climate change, adaptation and mitigation, from USD 100 billion yearly. According to the latest report by the German and the Canadian governments, they will exceed this USD 100 billion targets in 2023. This, she states, entails sufficient progress.

The European Union and its Member States are already the largest contributors to climate finance, with more than USD 25 billion per year. President von der Leyen expects this number to go up during the COP26 summit. She further pledges, on top of this number, a top-up of USD 5 billion until 2027, expecting others also to increase their ambition.

“Climate change is man-made, so because it is man-made, we can do something”

Finally, the EC President unveiled her own strategies working towards the aims of the summits mentioned, which are as follows:

  1. Together with President Biden, von der Leyen will launch the Global Methane Pledge. Under this Pledge, the EC will commit to reducing methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030. 60 countries have joined this initiative so far.
  2. A financial contribution of 1 billion euros to the Global Forest Pledge, including a further 250 million euros to the Congo Basin. Highlighting the European Union’s priority for protecting forests worldwide.

“Forests are the green lungs of the earth. We need to protect and restore them. I gladly announce that we are pledging €1 billion to protect world forests. This is a clear sign of the EU’s commitment to lead global change to protect our planet, in line with our EU Green Deal.”

  1. Launching the ‘Breakthrough Energy Catalyst’ programme in partnership with Bill Gates to drive innovation in clean hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuels, carbon storage, carbon capture and energy storage.
  2. Launching the Just Energy Transition Partnership with the US, the UK, Germany, France and the European Union with South Africa, aiming for South Africa to phase out of coal faster, and to go earlier and faster into developing renewables


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