On 26 March the leaders of the world’s largest economies (G20) met in an Extraordinary Leaders Summit on COVID-19. They issued a statement  which said:
“The G20 is committed to do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic, along with the World Health Organization (WHO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group (WBG), United Nations (UN), and other international organizations, working within their existing mandates.” They went on to say “We are injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic.” They added that “We will work swiftly and decisively with the front-line international organizations, notably the WHO, IMF, WBG, and multilateral and regional development banks to deploy a robust, coherent, coordinated, and rapid financial package and to address any gaps in their toolkit…We stand ready to react promptly and take any further action that may be required.”
However they did not make any specific plans to find out what action was required.
On 1 April the The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB)  issued a Statement on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19  which said, among other things:
“The Board is pleased to see the commitment of G20 leaders to develop a concrete and collective plan of action that places the health and wellbeing of people and communities at the center, but recognizes that there is still an urgent need for more collective action. On 9 March the GPMB called for G7 and G20 leaders to immediately inject US$ 8 billion of new funding to bolster action at the global level in the response to COVID-19 . While some countries have made significant contributions since then, the world is still far short of this immediate funding need and it is important that others step up urgently. The Board hopes that the strong commitments made during the G20 Extraordinary Summit will lead to equally strong action by leaders.”
On 7 April 2020 a group of over 200 world leaders sent an Open Letter  to G20 leaders demanding that “within days” they commit:
- $8 billion to rapidly hasten the global effort for vaccines, cure and treatment.
- $35 billion to support health systems, from ventilators to test kits and protective equipment for health workers.
- And $150 billion for developing countries to fight the medical and economic crisis, prevent a second wave of the disease flowing back into countries as they come out of the first wave. This means waiving debt interest payments for the poorest countries, including $44 billion due this year from Africa. A $500-$600 billion issue of additional resources by the IMF in the form of special drawing rights is proposed.
The letter proposed convening a global pledging conference – its purpose supported by a G20 Executive Task Force – to commit resources to meeting these emergency global health needs.
On 15 April, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak held a virtual meeting  with G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to discuss the details of a coordinated fiscal, monetary and regulatory response to the pandemic. Led by the UK and India, Finance Ministers agreed decisive action was needed to reduce the global economic damage of the virus, setting out an action plan that includes a call for the swift implementation of a $200 billion package of global support from the World Bank Group and Regional Development Banks. The money will be invested in health programmes, emergency fiscal support to the poorest countries and a number of other global initiatives.
On the same day the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting issued a Communiqué  which said “As
mandated by the extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit, we endorse the G20 Action Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which sets out the key principles guiding our response, and our commitments to specific actions to drive forward international economic cooperation as we navigate this crisis and look ahead to a robust, sustained and inclusive global economic recovery.”
This G20 Action Plan  did not include any of the injections of funds set out in the the GPMB Statement  or the Open Letter . Instead it:
- supported the IMF’s crisis response package and welcome its readiness to mobilize its US$1 trillion lending capacity
- called for a swift implementation of the emergency response packages adopted by the World Bank and Regional Development Banks. This amounts to more than US$ 200 billion for emerging and low-income countries.
On April 17 the World Bank Group and IMF convened African leaders, bilateral partners, and multilateral institutions to spur faster action on COVID-19 response in African countries . This amounted to a commitment to a debt standstill beginning May 1, 2020 and a summary that stated:
“Together, official creditors have mobilized up to $57 billion for Africa in 2020 alone—including upwards of $18 billion from the IMF and the World Bank each—to provide front-line health services, support the poor and vulnerable, and keep economies afloat in the face of the worst global economic downturn since the 1930s. Private creditor support this year could amount to an estimated $13 billion. This is an important start, but the continent needs an estimated $114 billion in 2020 in its fight against COVID-19, leaving a financing gap of around $44 billion.”
So instead of donating any funds, the G20 wants banks to lend money, thereby adding a burden of debt in addition to the burden of fighting the disease.
This failure, coming on top of the Trump administration’s suspension of funding from the World Health Organisation , gives us little confidence that any of our leaders are responding in an appropriate manner to the global pandemic.
So much for the G20’s commitment to “do whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic”.
 G20 Leaders’ Statement 26 March 2020. https://g20.org/en/media/Documents/G20_Extraordinary%20G20%20Leaders%E2%80%99%20Summit_Statement_EN%20(3).pdf
 The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board is an independent monitoring and accountability body to ensure preparedness for global health crises. Comprised of political leaders, agency principals and world-class experts, the Board provides an independent and comprehensive appraisal for policy makers and the world about progress towards increased preparedness and response capacity for disease outbreaks and other emergencies with health consequences. In short, the work of the GPMB will be to chart a roadmap for a safer world. https://apps.who.int/gpmb/index.html
 Statement on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19.
 Letter to Governments of G20 Nations coordinated by Professor Erik Berglof, Director of LSE’s Institute of Global Affairs, Gordon Brown, the former UK Prime Minister, and Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust.
 Chancellor leads on G20 Finance Ministers’ Action Plan to fight Covid-19 global outbreak. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-leads-on-g20-finance-ministers-action-plan-to-fight-covid-19-global-outbreak
 G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting 15 April 2020
 G20 Action Plan – Supporting the Global Economy Through the COVID-19 was Annex I to 
 Trump Halts Funding to WHO https://unacov.uk/trump-halts-funding-to-who/
 World Bank Group and IMF mobilize partners in the fight against COVID-19 in Africa