G7 to unveil global anti-pandemic action plan

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The G7 leaders are expected to agree to the ‘Carbis Bay Declaration’, in which they commit to a 100 day response window to develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics and how governments can quickly respond to any future outbreaks, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) will commit to using all their resources in an effort to ensure the devastation caused by a pandemic like Covid-19 is never repeated.

On the second day of their summit in Cornwall, they are expected to agree the ‘Carbis Bay Declaration’, an historic statement setting out a series of concrete commitments to prevent any repeat of the human and economic devastation wreaked by coronavirus.

The G7 opened a three-day summit in an English seaside village on Friday, focused on pandemic recovery, including plans for equitable access to vaccines and financial support to build vaccine production sites around the world.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson chairs the G7 Leaders Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. (Picture Andrew Parsons No 10 Downing Street)

The much-anticipated Summit marks the first in-person meeting of the member heads of state since the Covid-19 outbreak last year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie welcomed the G7 leaders at the beach of Carbis Bay in Cornwall, where the group posed for the traditional “family photo” as talks kicked off.

In his opening remarks, Johnson said the leaders of the world’s wealthiest democracies would learn from the lessons of the “wretched pandemic,” Britain’s Press Association (PA) reported.

“We need to make sure that we learn the lessons from the pandemic, we need to make sure that we don’t repeat some of the errors that we doubtless made in the course of the last 18 months or so,” Johnson said.

Queen Elizabeth II, sits for a group photograph with all the G7 leaders at the Eden Project. (Andrew Parsons No 10 Downing Street)

He also said that the G7 wanted to be sure that “we are building back better together and building back greener and building back fairer and building back more equal.”

US President Joe Biden, who is on his first trip abroad since taking office, jokingly said at one point while on the beach: “Everybody in the water.”

“I’m looking forward to reinforcing our commitment to multilateralism and working with our allies and partners to build a more fair and inclusive global economy,” he said, according to PA.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also stressed the importance for multilateralism.

She said especially Biden “presents and represents the commitment to multilateralism, which after all we have lacked in recent years,” referencing Biden’s predecessor, former US president Donald Trump.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson speak with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Eden Project during the G7 leaders Summit. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

On Thursday, the G7 pledged to donate 1 billion vaccine doses to poorer nations, by sharing jabs directly and through financial aid, the British government announced.

Leaders are also to come up with a plan to extend vaccine manufacturing.

Ahead of the summit, Biden said the US would donate another 500 million vaccine doses to 92 poorer countries and the African Union by June next year.

Johnson, who is hosting the summit, announced that his country would provide 100 million surplus doses, most of them to be distributed through the COVAX vaccine-sharing programme.

COVAX co-chair Jane Halton told Times Radio she was “delighted and excited” about Johnson’s announcement.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street.

“We’ve been calling to target the vulnerable around the world. So let’s assume we get to 1 billion by the end, that will be extraordinarily welcome.”

However, about 11 to 12 billion vaccine doses were necessary to immunize the entire global population, Halton warned, adding that so far only about 2.2 billion doses had been administered, about 77 per cent of which had gone to just 10 countries.

The G7 group remains divided over the issue of lifting patent protection for coronavirus vaccines, as proposed by the US and several other nations.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that France and South Africa would present a proposal during the summit on an exemption for a limited period of time and applying to particular places.

The group is also looking to discuss plans to better prepare the world for future outbreaks. “Global solutions are needed,” according to a draft of a “Carbis Bay Health Declaration” seen by dpa.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses for a family photograph with US President Joe Biden, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel during the G7 Leaders summit in Carbis Bay. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

In the evening, the leaders are scheduled to attend a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II and her son, Prince Charles, during which environmental protection and fighting climate change are on the agenda.

In the afternoon, hundreds of Extinction Rebellion environmental activists staged a protest march targeting the G7 summit, PA reported.

Extinction Rebellion says the protests are in response to G7 nations’ “failure to respect the global climate commitments they made in Paris in 2015” and “to urge the leaders meeting at Carbis Bay in Cornwall to act immediately to address the climate and ecological emergency.”

A group of 457 global investors published a letter on Friday, calling on leaders worldwide to ramp up national plans to combat climate change to meet the goals set in the Paris climate agreement.