G7 live news: Boris Johnson chairs summit’s opening meeting, saying world should ‘level up’ after pandemic
Latest updates: Boris Johnson says G7 must stop inequalities being ‘entrenched’ after Covid
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There is a sense of foreboding and expectation about the pace at which the G7 is addressing the issue of the distribution of vaccines to Africa, with many concerned that the G7 leaders are not going to get the urgency of this right.
Here is one example that captures the flavour from the filmmaker Richard Curtis, a UN advocate for the sustainable development goals. He told the Guardian:
This weekend world leaders have the opportunity to show they are serious about achieving the UN global goals for sustainable development – a historic plan they all signed up to in 2015. That plan included a commitment to deliver good health and wellbeing for everyone – which Covid has made the central challenge facing the world. We need to see a real historic deal on vaccines at this summit. It’s a unique moment for brave global leadership, it isn’t about nice half measures, it’s about making sure one billion doses are delivered worldwide by September, sharing knowledge and getting a global financing deal to help vaccinate the world.
This G7 summit is an opportunity to help make Covid history. Seven people in a room doing the extraordinary thing, by being brave, of saving countless lives and all our economies. I hope and pray that Prime Minister Johnson will lead the way.
It is ultimately the agreement or not of a global financing plan to vaccinate the world on which this summit – held as the pandemic still rages – will be judged. The education and dose sharing announcements provide some foundations, but the jury is still out on whether the prime minister will lead the G7 or merely host them.
We are winning the race between vaccines and variants in the rich world and losing the race in the poor world. There is a danger that victory is declared in the rich world before the battle has even been engaged in the poor world. We are taking a massive risk.
Boris Johnson crammed quite a lot into the statement he delivered as he opened the first formal meeting of the G7. It was creative and audacious, potentially inspiring, but not always tactful, and perhaps not plausible. Here are the four key points he made, with analysis of their credibility.
What’s gone wrong with this pandemic, or what risks being a lasting scar, is that inequalities may be entrenched. And we need to make sure that, as we recover, we level up across our societies and we rebuild back better.
It is vital that we don’t repeat the mistake of the last great crisis, the last great economic recession in 2008, when the recovery was not uniform across all parts of society.
And I actually think that we have a huge opportunity to [build back better] because, as G7, we are united in our vision for a cleaner, greener world, a solution to the problems of climate change. And in those ideas, in those technologies, which we’re all addressing together, I think there is the potential to generate many, many millions of high-wage, high-skill jobs.
Given 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.