G20 Leaders’ Summit: Session 1 - Overcoming the Pandemic and Restoring Growth and Jobs

Bern, 21.11.2020 - Address by the President of the Swiss Confederation H.E. Mrs Simonetta Sommaruga


Dear colleagues and friends,

I would like to thank Saudi Arabia for including Switzerland in the G20 this year. The G20 partners have shown great determination to overcome the pandemic.

But it is not over yet. COVID-19 will continue to dominate our lives in the months to come. This requires even more solidarity. An efficient and universal multilateral system is paramount.

The WHO must stay the leading organization for global pandemic response. We must ensure a sustainable and predictable financing for the WHO.

Switzerland welcomes the G20 Action Plan. I welcome in particular its emphasis on the disproportionate impact of the crisis on women, young people and the most vulnerable segments of society.

In our response to the pandemic, it is our duty:

  • to care for the young, providing the proper skills and perspectives for a future in dignity and;
  • to make sure that women play an important part in defining the answers to the challenges.

In addition, since freedom of expression and information has been under increasing pressure since the outbreak of the pandemic, we must make sure that our populations have access to free and reliable information to be in a position to protect themselves.

In many countries, the pandemic has not only had a severe social impact, but has also led to high financial costs. There are countries where the disease has pushed debt to unsustainable levels. In these cases, we must find solutions together. The «Debt Service Suspension Initiative» creates important breathing space for the poorest countries, so that they can use these resources to address the urgent health and social issues.

But the G20, together with the IMF, the World Bank and the Paris Club, must find longer-term solutions, to re-establish functioning markets, and the private sector will have to contribute as well in the process. In some cases, debt restructuring may be necessary.

The recovery calls for actions that are also well-aligned with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. Short-term actions must reinforce longer-term policies to build a more sustainable, inclusive and prosperous future. I look forward to tomorrow’s statements.

Thank you.

Address for enquiries

Communication DETEC, +41 58 462 55 11


General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications; General Secretariat DETEC

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