Remarks at the T20 Summit Keynote Panel Reshaping from the Ground Up in the New Normal - The Role of International Institutions

Distinguished Speakers
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to join you at this most important T20 Summit.

The world is standing at a crossroads. As many countries are seeking to quash a second wave of the pandemic, the outlook for economic growth, wellbeing and sustainable development has significantly worsened. 

Across the globe, there has been a decline in economic indicators. Global growth is expected to decrease by 4.4 percent this year. Global trade volumes are set to fall by around 5 trillion Dollars by year end. 

The wellbeing of our society is also under threat. Poverty is rising both in the developing world and in the most advanced economies. According to projections, around 90 million people will fall below the extreme poverty threshold in 2020. Inequality is also skyrocketing, with serious consequences for social cohesion, stability and peace.

At this critical juncture, we need to look to our greatest common strength: our resilience, ingenuity, and importantly, ideas. Indeed, ideas are a central currency of the T20 – and of all of you who have gathered for this Summit.

I will share with you a few ideas on the role of international institutions – which I believe are critical to our multilateral efforts to respond and recover from the current crisis. 

The very essence of international institutions – multilateralism – was born out of the daunting challenges that humanity faced in rebuilding a world order, following the Second World War. It was central to establishing a new paradigm for global and human prosperity.
It oversaw a period of unprecedented growth in development – guided by the United Nations, which commemorates its 75th anniversary this year, as do the Bretton Woods Institutions and the multilateral development banks. As we face the pandemic and its devastating effects on societies, the system of international institutions established in the last century is playing a critical role. 

By supporting countries in their efforts to tackle the current crisis and adapting to fast changing realities, international institutions are demonstrating their continued relevance.

Let me give you two examples: 

First, the World Health Organization is leading coordinated effort towards an effective health response to deliver therapeutics, treatments and vaccines to all countries and people that need them. To this end, the groundbreaking Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) coalition brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, philanthropists and global organizations – to produce concrete results at a speed never seen before.

Second, the UN Secretary-General, in partnership with the Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica, has rallied government leaders, the UN system, major international financial institutions, private sector and civil society – towards an effective economic response to restart the global economy, promote jobs and sustainable growth. Discussions that focused around issues of financing for a sustainable recovery have culminated in a menu of policy options presented to Finance Ministers and Heads of Government, last September. These offer an essential policy toolbox for governments to adopt. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The challenges we face now must serve as a wake-up call. 

We must redouble our efforts towards the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These are the guiding framework we need to achieve a resilient, sustainable and inclusive recovery. 

The 2030 Agenda will enable us to make strides on four key priorities:

First, the health response. Strengthening health systems and providing access to health services for all, will be vital to stem the continued spread of the virus. 

Second, the economic response. The 2030 Agenda can act as the universal roadmap to build a post-COVID economy that is inclusive and green. It embodies a new economic paradigm that channels investment to sustainable sectors and generates green jobs.

Third, the social and humanitarian response. We must advance actions to boost investment in human capital, and institute social protection measures to ensure that no one is left behind.  

Lastly, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement can guide our actions to tackle climate change and avert future crises from ravaging our world. 

Global challenges such as the pandemic and climate change, which do not respect borders, cannot be tackled through isolated national actions. That is why we must work together inspired by global solidarity. 

As the world’s top thought leaders, we look to all of you for innovative ideas and research-based policy recommendations to tackle COVID-19 and beyond.

I look forward to your discussions on how to recover better and get back on track to advance sustainable development for all. 

I thank you. 

File date: 
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Mr. Liu