WASHINGTON – G7 presidents and prime ministers, hosted by the United Kingdom, met virtually on coronavirus recovery plans. The G7 Summit focused on vaccine access, debt relief, curbing tax avoidance and climate change. President Biden pledged $4 billion to bring vaccines to poor countries at his first international summit.
“G7 vaccine commitments are essential. Without global access to vaccines, we don’t have a path out of the health or economic crisis,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. Jubilee USA Network tracked G7 meetings for the last 20 years. “Developing countries will need more aid and significant debt relief to be able to fully combat the health and economic shocks caused by the pandemic.”
The G7 leaders picked up from last week’s G7 finance ministers discussion on a process to reduce debts of poor countries and using global reserve funds or Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The leaders endorsed the full and transparent implementation of a G20 process to reduce debt for poor countries, the “Common Framework for Debt Treatment beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative.”
“For countries to get through this crisis, they need to have debts cancelled,” noted LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert. “Debt reduction processes must include the private sector and be expanded to more developing countries who need relief.”
The current G20 debt relief process, authorized last year, is available to the 77 poorest countries. However, development groups argue many developing countries cannot access the current process. Further on the economic front, the summit agreed to move forward stronger international tax plans later in the year.
Climate was another priority focus during the G7 meeting. The US recently rejoined the Paris Agreement, a global agreement on climate, and the UK hosts a climate summit at the end of the year.
“Given the influence of the G7, strong G7 commitments on combating climate change can translate into stronger global climate policies,” stated LeCompte.
President Biden committed to come in person to Great Britain in June for the G7 Summit, planned to take place in the seaside town of Cornwall. In addition to the US and UK, the G7 includes Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan.
Read about the Feb. 19th G7 finance ministers meeting and agenda here.
Read the G7 Summit communiqué here.