Leaders of the major industrial nations have pledged one billion Covid vaccine doses to poor countries as a “big step towards vaccinating the world”, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.
At the end of the Group of 7 (G7) summit in Cornwall, UK, Johnson said the leaders were rejecting “nationalistic approaches”.
He said vaccinating the world would show the benefits of the G7’s democratic values.
After the first meeting of world leaders in two years, Johnson said “the world was looking to us to reject some of the selfish, nationalistic approaches that marred the initial global response to the pandemic and to channel all our diplomatic, economic and scientific might to defeating Covid for good”.
He said the G7 leaders had pledged to supply the vaccines to poor countries either directly or through the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Covax scheme.
The group’s final communique pledges to “end the pandemic and prepare for the future by driving an intensified international effort, starting immediately, to vaccinate the world by getting as many safe vaccines to as many people as possible as fast as possible”.
It also includes steps to tackle climate change, with leaders re-committing to the target of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest and pledging to eliminate most coal power.
Johnson rejected suggestions the vaccines pledge was a moral failure by the G7 as one billion doses will not be enough to cover the needs of poorer countries.
The Covax facility, backed by WHO and Gavi, aims to secure two billion vaccine doses for lower-income countries by the end of 2021.
The group also made a commitment to build the frameworks to prevent and fight future pandemics.
Elsewhere in the communique, there were several references to China, which US President Joe Biden said was a change from previous meetings of the world’s advanced economies.
Pledges made this time included working together to respond to China’s impact on world trade.
Two sources told Reuters there were few disagreements over the communique, though Japan had pushed for a tougher line on China.