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G20 Rome Summit

Volume 702: debated on Tuesday 26 October 2021

The G20 Rome summit is an opportunity to rally the most powerful nations to tackle the ongoing covid-19 crisis and to secure a sustainable, inclusive recovery. The summit this weekend is immediately before the UK hosts COP26. We will work to build a consensus on climate objectives and to drive forward priorities on health, girls’ education and the economic recovery to build back better.

The Minister mentioned in her answer tackling the covid-19 pandemic. Last week, WHO’s ambassador for global health financing, Gordon Brown, shared that 240 million doses of covid-19 vaccine are lying unused. Will the Minister set out what will be prioritised at the G20 to ensure that the poorest nations around the world can gain access to those unused vaccines? As has been said many times, we are not all vaccinated until everyone is vaccinated.

This is a global pandemic and we need to get the global population vaccinated. That is why we led the way at the G7 summit earlier in the year, where the Prime Minister committed to sharing 100 million doses by June 2022, 80% of which will go to COVAX. We need to ensure that the global population gets vaccinated.

One of the best ways to ensure a global recovery from the covid pandemic is to enable northern businesses to trade freely across the world. One of the biggest challenges is the non-tariff barriers that they face in advance of any trade deal. Will my right hon. Friend the Minister confirm to the House what support is available through our embassy network and how do businesses access it?

My right hon. Friend is a real campaigner for the north of England. Having lived there for 15 years, I know that it is very important. I have just come back from a visit to the Philippines, Singapore and Japan, and one of the things I saw was posts doing everything they can to promote British business on the ground to ensure trade links in exports and in foreign direct investment.

I welcome the Minister to her place. She mentioned her visit to the Pacific, but the G20 also includes one African representative, and it usually invites the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. I hope that the specific economic health climate and the humanitarian crises affecting some countries in Africa will be discussed, not least because we heard yesterday about the terrible events in Sudan. I also hope that the UK will raise the worsening situation in Ethiopia, which is a past G20 invitee, given the resumption of attacks on Mekelle, human rights atrocities, and the humanitarian crisis affecting people in Tigray and beyond. What will the Government be doing specifically on that issue at the G20, other than cutting our assistance to Africa?

As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, there was an urgent question yesterday about the situation in Sudan. The situation in northern Ethiopia is dire, and the UK condemns the ongoing violence and the spread of the conflict into Afar and Amhara, as well as the airstrikes impacting civilians and the ongoing human rights abuses and violations. We call on both sides urgently to implement a ceasefire and for the Eritrean forces to depart, and to seek a solution.