G7 leaders target one billion jabs and climate drive
Published : Friday, 11 June, 2021 at 11:11 PM Count : 453
G7 leaders meet on Friday for their first in-person talks in nearly two years, with an expected pledge to donate one billion Covid vaccine doses to the world’s poorest countries, as part of a show of Western democratic unity against the planet’s most pressing issues.
The club of leading economies — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and United States — say a joint approach is the world’s best chance for recovering from the global health crisis, and tackling climate change.
President Joe Biden set the tone on Wednesday, ditching Donald Trump’s isolationist stance on global affairs to ram home a message of resolve by the G7 and NATO against both Beijing and Moscow as he heads on to his first sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week in Geneva.
“The driving animating purpose of this G7 summit is to show that democracy can deliver against the biggest challenges we’re facing in the world,” a senior US administration official said.
Campaigners say the G7’s inoculations pledge for this year and next — including 500 million US doses — is far too little, too late to end a pandemic that has claimed over 3.7 million lives worldwide.
“If the best G7 leaders can manage is to donate one billion vaccine doses then this summit will have been a failure,” Oxfam said, insisting the world needs 11 billion doses instead.
But the G7 has recognised it needs to mobilise against the “vaccine diplomacy” launched by the rollout of Chinese and Russian jabs, with the Biden administration stressing it expects nothing in return.
The leaders, meeting at the seaside resort of Carbis Bay in Cornwall, southwest England, are also expected to outline more help for developing nations to build up infrastructure, as a counterpoint to the debt-fuelled spending by China in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The initiative “will embrace a high standards, transparent, climate friendly, non-corrupt mechanism” for infrastructure investment in the developing world, the US official said.
“It will be an alternative to that which other countries, including China, are offering.”