The latest summit was held online but an in-person one is expected to be hosted by the UK in June
by: Isti Miskolczy
On the 19th of February, the leaders of the G7 met online to discuss the most important global economic and health issues of not just their countries but also that of the whole world. Moving the discussion online, however, brought its peculiarities.
Including Boris Johnson telling Angela Merkel “I think you need to mute”
upon the German Chancellor forgetting to turn off her microphone while the Prime Minister was speaking.
Not so surprisingly, the main point on the agenda was COVID-19 — concerning which the leaders of the G7 countries promised not only intensified cooperation and a recovery with prosperity but also 2021 to be a turning point for multilateralism.
Then-leaders of the G7 at the last live summit in Biarritz, France (2019). Photo courtesy of The White House via Creative Commons. Licensed under CC PDM 1.0.
This is said to be including “working with, and together to strengthen the World Health Organisation” — which, from Joe Biden’s point of view, is a total reversal of his predecessor’s policies. During the summer of 2020, Donald Trump signed a bill with the intent to fully withdraw the United States from the UN agency by summer 2021. This move came after Mr Trump had accused the WHO of being controlled by China, but it was reversed immediately after Biden was sworn into office.
Together with the WHO, the G7 will “accelerate global vaccine development and deployment”, “increase manufacturing capacity” and “promote transparent and responsible practices and vaccine confidence”.
Although the exact means of how the board of the countries controlling almost half of the world’s economy altogether will work on these promises is not detailed, except for the enhancement of the financial contributions to ACT-A (Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator) and the COVAX initiative.
The G7 will support these with 7.5 million USD in total, the press release also contains.
“If we, Europeans and Americans can deliver these 13 million doses as soon as possible it is hugely worth it and it is worth for our credibility”, French President Emmanuel Macron told in regards to the COVAX initiative. These 13 million doses are said to be needed to vaccinate all of Africa’s healthcare workers.
The leaders of Canada, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, the UK, and the US (usually and this time as well) joined by the European Commission and the European Council presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel also discussed environmental issues.
“We will make progress on mitigation, adaption, and finance in accordance with the Paris Agreement and deliver a green transformation and clean energy transitions that cut emissions and create good jobs on a path to net zero no later than 2050”, the press release also said.
The leaders also agreed on putting climate change at the centre of their plans.
This is again a reversal of Trump’s policies, who previously withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement.
All other concrete action was promised to be agreed on during the live G7 summit — hosted by Boris Johnson in Cornwall in June — which is also going to be Joe Biden’s first official visit to the United Kingdom since he became president of the US. Whether the meeting is going to be permitted by the British coronavirus restrictions is still to be confirmed.