Baie de Carbis (United Kingdom) (AFP)
G7 leaders are expected to agree on a joint statement to prevent another pandemic on Saturday, as they resume high-profile talks at their first in-person summit in nearly two years.
The group of major economies – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – will also attempt to show Western democratic cohesion against a resurgent China and recalcitrant Russia.
They will be joined by leaders from Australia, South Africa and South Korea, as well as India participating remotely, as the agenda expands to foreign policy issues and to climate change.
The G7 meet face-to-face for the first time since 2019, at a seaside venue in Cornwall, south-west England, after coronavirus caused last year’s summit to be canceled .
Leaders opened the three-day summit on Friday with hopes of pledging to donate 1 billion doses of vaccine to poor countries this year and next – far too slow to end the crisis now , said the activists.
US President Joe Biden arrived with a message of solidarity and determination in stark contrast to the isolationist stance of his predecessor Donald Trump.
Following the traditional family photo and opening session on Covid-19’s ‘build back better’, leaders spent the evening at a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Cornwall’s Eden Project.
A renowned attraction showcasing the world’s ecological riches, the site also hosted a G7 meeting with Prince Charles and 10 international business leaders to discuss the rise of sustainable growth.
The G7 this weekend will also tackle climate change and safeguarding global biodiversity, to lay the groundwork for the crucial UN COP26 environmental summit in Scotland in November.
Leaders are debating a commitment to protect at least 30% of the world’s land and oceans by 2030.
– Shared threats –
On Saturday’s foreign policy agenda, this year’s coup in Myanmar and the crackdown on democracy supporters in Belarus are expected to feature, along with tensions with Russia and China.
Most leaders will meet again in Brussels on Monday for a NATO meeting, before Biden heads to his first summit with President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, promising to deliver a direct message on Russian behavior.
# photo1 ″ I’ll talk to you (about that) after I deliver it, ”Biden told reporters on Friday.
The G7 is expected to finalize the “Carbis Bay Declaration” comprising a series of commitments to prevent a repeat of the devastation caused by the coronavirus.
“For the first time today, the world’s leading democracies have come together to ensure that we are never caught off guard again,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in remarks released ahead of the second day of the summit .
“It means learning from the last 18 months and doing it differently next time. “
– ‘Pandemic radar’ –
The statement will be released on Sunday along with the final G7 communiqué, after a beach barbecue on Saturday night.
Collective actions include reducing the time it takes to develop and authorize vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for any future disease to less than 100 days, while strengthening global surveillance networks.
The leaders will pledge to build genome sequencing capacity and support reforms to strengthen the World Health Organization (WHO), according to the Johnson government, which like the United States wants China to allow a new access to WHO experts to determine how Covid-19 first emerged.
# photo2WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, criticized by some for being too accommodating with China, praised the health pact.
And he said the UN agency would consider a British proposal to create a “global pandemic radar” to send early warnings of future outbreaks.
“The world needs a stronger global surveillance system to detect new epidemic and pandemic risks,” Tedros said.
G7 leaders are also expected to offer more aid to developing countries to develop their infrastructure, as a counterpoint to China’s debt-fueled spending in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
© 2021 AFP