By Susy Hodges
U.S. President Jo Biden is among those being hosted by Johnson at the summit as well as the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada plus the European Union. It is the first face-to-face summit of the G7 nations since the pandemic began in early 2020. On Saturday the G7 leaders were also joined by their counterparts from Australia, South Africa and South Korea as well as the UN Secretary General.
In his opening remarks to the G-7 leaders, Johnson said as the world recovered from the pandemic it was important to “level up across our societies” and build back better.
Brexit & Covid-19 vaccines
Before the main talks on Saturday, Johnson met with the leaders of Germany, France and the EU representatives. They told the British premier that he must implement the Brexit trade deal that he signed to protect the delicate peace in Northern Ireland. They said the EU was completely unified on that position.
On the eve of the summit, Johnson said the G7 nations are expected to commit to sharing at least one billion coronavirus vaccines. Britain has pledged to donate more than 100 million Covid vaccines to poorer countries in stages before the end of 2022 while the U.S. has promised 500 million doses of vaccines to low and middle income countries and the African Union. However, a number of charities and campaigners have criticised the speed of Britain’s vaccine sharing plan, saying it must happen must faster with the vaccine doses being shared straight away.
Environmental campaigners are also hoping for a firm commitment from the G7 leaders on climate change. The summit comes just months before a major global conference on climate change being held in Glasgow, Scotland. Campaigners said rich nations had to deliver on a pledge of 100 billion dollars a year in financing to help poor countries overhaul their economies and adapt to the impact of climate change.
These concerns about poorer nations and the effects of climate change were raised by the local Catholic Bishop at an Inter-faith meeting held in Truro Cathedral on the eve of the summit. Bishop Mark O’Toole of Plymouth urged the G7 leaders “to work more diligently for the care of our common home and for the dignity of the poorest.”