Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, sits for a group photograph with all the G7 leaders at the Eden Project before the G7 leaders’ evening dinner and reception
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, sits for a group photograph with all the G7 leaders at the Eden Project before the G7 leaders’ evening dinner and reception. Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

G7 falls short on climate crisis, Covid-19 and open societies

This year’s highly-anticipated G7 Summit in Cornwall over the weekend ended up falling short on the climate crisis, Covid-19 and open societies.

Over 20 representatives from Bond and the Civil Society 7 (C7) attended the G7 to promote the C7 communique and hold a well-attended press briefing to ensure civil society’s voice was heard

Key announcements from the G7

  • “Landmark” global health declaration: Leaders signed onto the “landmark” Carbis Bay Declaration on global health, which aims to prevent global devastation from any future pandemics. The UK will establish a new centre to develop vaccines to prevent zoonotic diseases, such as Covid-19, spreading from animals to humans.
  • Finance for climate and nature: G7 leaders announced plans to “transform” how infrastructure projects are funded in lower-middle income countries, including an increase international climate finance. The UK also launched a £500m Blue Planet Fund to support marine biodiversity.
  • 1 billion coronavirus vaccine doses globally: G7 leaders committed to providing 1 billion doses to end the pandemic in 2022, through funding and dose sharing. The UK has pledged at least 100 million surplus vaccine doses within the next year.
  • An open societies compact: G7 leaders outlined their shared values as democracies, with some language on support for civic space and human rights defenders.

C7 calls out G7 for bold statements lacking in substance

The Civil Society 7 have criticised the G7 for falling short to deliver health, economic and climate justice for people on the frontline of the global pandemic and climate crisis.

The G7’s vaccine commitments are not enough to “build back better” from the pandemic. We cannot recover from the pandemic without 10 billion vaccines, the removal of patents and investment in healthcare systems. Joanna Rea, director of advocacy at UNICEF UK, calls for “a clear plan to address the shortfall in vaccine supply that includes a rapid acceleration of dose sharing in the next three months to ensure millions of vaccines get to the people in countries who need them the most.”

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Multiple commitments for climate action have been made and remade by the G7. Yet even after this summit, we are still short of the significant climate finance needed to deliver a successful COP26 with trust from other nations. Climate finance remains woefully inadequate, particularly for adaptation for climate-vulnerable communities and countries. This G7 was the moment to show the world we are serious about tackling climate change and environmental degradation, and ready to live up to the promises of the Paris Agreement.

The open societies statement is a clear and welcome declaration of intent from leading democracies. But the question remains whether they have the will or resources to deliver lasting change. Read our blog on the open societies statement here.

While some progress has been made on these areas, the G7’s words have not been backed by finance and actions. The G7 has failed to take the opportunity to build back better.

We urgently need a G7 that leads in driving a sustainable, just and resilient economic recovery. A G7 that puts solidarity with lower income countries and the commitment to leave no one behind at the heart of multilateralism. Meeting Official Development Assistant (ODA) commitments to 0.7% and taking concrete steps to address global inequalities by investing money and resources to protect people from future pandemics is the baseline.

We need a G7 that will speak out and hold governments that attempt to restrict human rights, silence journalists, and undermine civic space to account, and one that puts timelines in place to back up the rhetoric and meet existing and new commitments.