Today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a virtual leaders meeting as part of the UK’s G7 presidency. Whilst the meeting represented a step in the right direction, it didn’t go far enough to achieve the real impact that the world needs to beat the Covid-19 pandemic. ONE has issued a global and UK statement:
Gayle Smith, CEO and President of the ONE Campaign, said:
“Good news out of today’s G7 leaders meeting – world leaders are finally waking up to the scale of this crisis. It’s astonishing that it took a year for this meeting to happen, but the commitments made today are significant, vitally important, and collectively signal a strong step in the right direction.
“It beggars belief that in the midst of a global pandemic a handful of countries have accumulated over a billion vaccines more than they will need, while 130 countries have no vaccines at all. This imbalance isn’t just wrong, it’s inefficient and means that we are extending the lifespan of the pandemic – so long as the virus has ample room to spread and mutate anywhere we are unsafe everywhere. And timing is critical – the new commitments made today to support COVAX and share vaccines get us closer to the volume and distribution we need, but we must also accelerate the speed at which we get vaccines to every corner of the planet, for if the virus is moving faster than we are, it’s winning.”
“Make no mistake – this pandemic is as brutal as any war we have fought – it’s time we fought back with the same intensity.”
And regarding the UK specifically:
Responding to the G7 leaders’ meeting, Romilly Greenhill, UK Director of ONE, said: “This meeting sets the positive tone needed if Britain is going to use its G7 presidency to take the fight to the virus and lead the way in the ending the pandemic”
“Today we’re finally seeing leaders wake up to the scale of the crisis, but having arrived at the track they now need to do everything possible to win the race. We won’t end this pandemic unless we throw everything at it.
“New commitments to share vaccines are welcome but we need to urgently accelerate the speed at which we get them to every corner of the planet, and we still need to do more to limit the economic aftershocks and secure a genuinely global and sustainable recovery.”
“This is the biggest threat any of our countries have faced in many of our lifetimes. It demands a global response on an equal scale.”