Africa: The Elders Call on G7 Leaders to Seize the Moment on Vaccines and Climate Action

Rachel Mabala/ Daily Monitor, WFP, Alex Esagala/Daily Monitor, P. Musvanhiri/Deutsche Welle, IITA/Flickr, UN Photo/Stuart Price, Christopher Black/WHO, WHO Africa Region, GCIS/Flickr, Sila Kiplagat/Nation Media Group, Tetiana Gaviuk, Google

(file photo).

7 JUNE 2021

The Elders (London)


The Elders call on G7 leaders to take urgent action on vaccine distribution and pledge new climate finance at their summit in Cornwall from 11-13 June, or risk further weakening the multilateral system on which future progress and prosperity depends.

In letters to the seven heads of government – UK Prime Minister and host Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga – the Elders outlined three critical outcomes the summit should deliver:

Achieving the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment target of one billion vaccine doses to the world's poorest countries no later than 1 September 2021 and more than two billion doses by mid-2022;

Supporting the WHO and WTO call for voluntary licensing and technology transfer arrangements for COVID-19 vaccines and, failing that, an immediate waiver of TRIPS intellectual property rights, as President Biden has already advocated;

Delivering the long-promised $100bn per year climate finance to vulnerable nations by COP26, with 50 percent of funds allocated to climate adaptation.

In their letters to G7 leaders, the Elders warned:

"In this moment of global crisis, multilateralism is uniquely important and uniquely threatened.

The threat will increase if the multilateral system fails to deliver on the pressing concerns of the moment – climate change and pandemic recovery.

A failure in either regard risks further reducing trust in the multilateral system and may enable autocratic and populist leaders to do further damage to multilateral institutions, undermining the world's ability to collectively tackle its shared challenges."

The Elders commended the UK for its efforts to host a successful G7 summit and for placing vaccine equity at the heart of its agenda with a call to vaccinate the global population by the end of 2022.

The UK is also showing leadership ahead of the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow in November. However, the Elders warned Prime Minister Johnson that these efforts risked being undermined by his government's decision to suspend the UK's legislated commitment to spend 0.7 percent of GNI on overseas development aid.

Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said:

"The G7 summit is a critical opportunity for bold leadership in the face of shared global challenges. We have already seen encouraging signs of progress from the recent outcome of the G7 finance ministers' meeting, but leaders must go even further when they meet in Cornwall. As host, the UK has a particular responsibility to match rhetoric with actions; a reversal of the planned suspension of its 0.7 percent aid target would send a clear signal and spur other G7 states to similar ambition."

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