Starting June 11, President Joe Biden will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Summit in Cornwall, England. For the first time in two years, the leaders of the world's seven largest so-called advanced economies — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States — will meet in person to discuss a coordinated response to three global crises – the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery from the collapse triggered by COVID-19, and environmental catastrophe brought on by climate change.
Ask Pres. Biden to champion bold, decisive action at the G7 Summit on the three issues that underpin a just COVID-19 recovery and a more just, peaceful world:
• Equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines
• Climate action
• Debt relief and Special Drawing Rights
Pres. Biden heads to the G7 Summit with a strong record of action on the domestic and global response to these crises so far. But on the global level, much more needs to be done and the G7 Summit is the place to do it.
We need to expand global access to COVID-19 vaccines: Fewer than 1 percent of people in low-income countries have been vaccinated. Pres. Biden recognized the seriousness of the global situation by rejoining the World Health Organization and committing the United States to the COVAX global vaccine sharing program. “It's the right thing to do, he said when he announced a new wave of the U.S. sharing vaccines globally in May. Also, he has backed a temporary waiver on intellectual property rights for coronavirus vaccines, which major Catholic groups support and will increase urgently needed production – if the European Union, and Germany in particular, allows it to happen. The G7 Summit is the place to make this happen.
We need to expand climate action: The International Energy Agency confirmed in its new report what civil society has been saying for decades — the currently planned production and expansion of fossil fuels globally is not compatible with global climate targets. Northern countries must pay their fair share for a global transition and move first and fastest in phasing out fossil fuels, but all countries globally must stop the expansion of fossil fuels to protect health and livelihoods. The G7 Summit is the place to make this happen.
We need to offer debt relief and Special Drawing Rights: The World Bank’s new Global Economic Prospects Report predicts the global wealth gap will widen as major economies recover thanks to domestic stimulus packages while many poorer countries struggle to return to pre-pandemic income levels. COVID-19 has stretched the health care systems and economies of many poor countries to the breaking point, left millions of people without jobs and livelihoods, and decimated their present reality and the futures of their children. The fastest way for economic relief to reach the most people around the world is by activating the IMF’s emergency relief fund known as Special Drawing Rights and offering relief to countries choking on debt payments. The G7 Summit is the place to make this happen.
We are grateful for the president’s commitment to the common good and decisive action – but more still needs to be done and the meeting of the G7 leaders is the right place to do it.