Health International

G7 leaders promise 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses for poor countries

G7 leaders have pledged more than 1 billion coronavirus vaccine doses to poorer nations, vowed to help developing countries tackle climate change and agreed to call out Beijing for rights abuses.

Speaking at the end of the summit in south-west England, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the “fantastic degree of harmony” among the re-energised group, which met in person for the first time in two years.

The leaders wanted to show that international cooperation is back after the upheavals caused by the pandemic and the unpredictability of former US president Donald Trump.

They wanted to convey that the club of wealthy democracies — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — is a better friend to poorer nations than authoritarian rivals such as China.

Mr Johnson said the G7 would demonstrate the value of democracy and human rights to the rest of the world and help “the world’s poorest countries to develop themselves in a way that is clean and green and sustainable”.

“It’s not good enough for us to just rest on our laurels and talk about how important those values are,” he told reporters after the three-day meeting on the Cornwall coast.

“And this isn’t about imposing our values on the rest of the world. What we as the G7 need to do is demonstrate the benefits of democracy and freedom and human rights to the rest of the world.”

World leaders sit around the table at the top of the G7 meeting in Carbis Bay, England.
World leaders said they will help poor countries reduce their emissions.(AP: Leon Neal)
But health and environmental campaigners were distinctly unimpressed by the details in the leaders’ final meeting communique.

“This G7 summit will live on in infamy,” said Max Lawson, the head of inequality policy at the international aid group Oxfam.

“Faced with the biggest health emergency in a century and a climate catastrophe that is destroying our planet, they have completely failed to meet the challenges of our times.”

Despite Mr Johnson’s call to “vaccinate the world” by the end of 2022, the promise of 1 billion doses for vaccine-hungry countries falls far short of the 11 billion doses the World Health Organization said is needed to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of the world’s population and truly end the pandemic.

U.S. President Joe Biden laughs while speaking with Britain’s Prime Minister at G7 summit.
G7 leaders are pledging to donate 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries, but how will that work? Here’s what we know so far.

Half of the billion-dose pledge is coming from the United States and 100 million from Britain.

The G7 also backed a minimum tax of at least 15 per cent on large multinational companies to stop corporations from using tax havens to avoid taxes.

The minimum rate was championed by the United States and dovetails with the aim of President Joe Biden to focus the summit on ways the democracies can support a fairer global economy by working together.

Mr Biden also wanted to persuade fellow democratic leaders to present a more unified front to compete economically with Beijing and strongly call out China’s “nonmarket policies and human rights abuses”.

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