US Secretary of State to meet with UK counterpart Dominic Raab as UK lags behind plans to set new global goals to help girls’ education as London shrinks aid to the sector considerably.
Antony Blinken’s trip to London for the G7 meeting will include discussions with other foreign and development ministers on Tuesday and Wednesday. This is the first face-to-face meeting at the G7 level in two years and foreign ministers from South Korea, Australia, India and South Africa will also be attending some of the talks.
The Foreign Ministry has chosen to highlight plans on a new goal to send 40 million girls from low- and middle-income countries to school within five years. Ministers will use the London summit to collectively agree to help women in developing countries with a support package of $ 15 billion (£ 10.8 billion) over two years.
Average UK aid spending since 2016 on girls’ education was £ 672million per year, but the commitment for 2021 has been set at £ 400million.
Andrew Mitchell, former secretary for international development, said the UK’s reputation as a world leader in this area had been severely weakened “by allowing cuts not only to education, but also to family planning and care. maternal health – all of which are integral to each other. ”
During G7 talks, US and EU leaders will also be under pressure to speed up the export of vaccines to the world’s poorest countries and to relax patent laws on some vaccines, a proposal backed by India. and South Africa. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with US President Joe Biden last weekend in a call to have vaccine patents lifted.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said over the weekend that the United States would have more to say in the coming days on “how to make this vaccine more widely shared and licensed.” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai would hold talks at the World Trade Organization on the issue, he added.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is due to take advantage of a press conference at the WHO to call on the G7 to provide the necessary funds to protect the world’s poor. Brown lamented last month that wealthy countries representing 18% of the world’s population were responsible for the bulk of vaccine orders.
“Immunizing the West, but only a fraction of the developing world, is already fueling claims of ‘vaccine apartheid’ and will allow Covid-19 to spread, mutate and threaten our lives and livelihoods for years to come” , did he declare.
Raab hopes part of the talks will focus on how the West can form stronger alliances to fight authoritarianism in Russia and China. All Western countries are struggling to find the balance between taking on China and wanting China to open up its booming markets, as well as doing more to cooperate on climate change.
In UK bilateral talks, the UK will put pressure on Blinken on the prospects for a bilateral trade deal, which has been put aside following Donald Trump’s defeat in the presidential election.