G-7 must go beyond modest summit goals, ST Editorial News & Top Stories

Given the undeniable urgency for a convergence of action to address the grave and imminent threats the world is facing, the outcomes from a three-day meeting of the world’s seven largest advanced market economies were relatively modest. Larger, more ambitious goals would have been expected from the first G-7 summit to involve United States President Joe Biden, who was making his first overseas visit since taking office. But Mr Biden and fellow leaders from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada came up short – although the resumption of collective and multilateral action is welcome.

On the most pressing priority, the need to support the largest vaccination campaign in history, they pledged to provide over one billion doses for poorer countries over the next year. This appears helpful but is critically short of the 11 billion doses the World Health Organisation says is needed to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of the world’s population. Among G-7 populations, nearly 45 per cent have had at least one jab. The gap with the rest of the world is stark: only 0.3 per cent of total doses worldwide have been given in low-income countries. International Monetary Fund experts recommend vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the world’s population by the first half of next year, at a cost of US$50 billion (S$66 billion), to reap economic benefits of US$9 trillion, on top of lives saved. Only an effort at that scale can deliver a quick and sustained recovery from the pandemic.

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