Concern Worldwide (UK) Executive Director gives statement in response to G7 summit
Read Executive Director Danny Harvey's statement in response to the G7.
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Last weekend the UK hosted the G7. World leaders congregated in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, to discuss critical global challenges, ranging from climate change to vaccines to economic recovery. But how did the G7 measure up to our hopes and expectations?
This year, the G7 had more attention than most - and for good reason.
We saw thousands join the #WaveOfHope campaign, demanding that this G7 addresses the biggest crises of today: Covid-19, inequality, climate change and nature loss. The Crack the Crises Coalition delivered this message to MPs, the PM and G7 country embassies.
Concern was also busy in the run up to the G7. We attended the civil society summit (the C7) and helped shape the C7 recommendations on both global food security and nutrition, and climate change. Our aim was to ensure the G7 addressed the most pressing needs of the vulnerable people we work with in the world’s poorest places.
These recommendations were formally issued to G7 leaders, after which we met with UK civil servants working on the G7 to discuss how they could be put into practice.
Key announcements during this year’s G7 included:
But while this is progress, the G7 fell short of expectations - particularly on vaccines, where it is estimated that 10 billion vaccines will be needed globally to get the pandemic under control.
Here we look in more detail at how the G7 performed against our C7 recommendations on food security and nutrition and building resilience to climate change.
Growing food insecurity and malnutrition is a critical issue right now. Over 34 million people currently face emergency levels of food insecurity, the last warning before famine. Without serious international action, we could see catastrophic loss of life. But we must also tackle the long-term issue of malnutrition, which persists at unacceptably high levels. 149 million children were stunted last year, leaving a lasting impact on their health and futures.
Climate impacts are rising rapidly. Climate change is a key driver of the rising levels of global hunger and is undermining efforts to address extreme poverty. Climate change affects everyone, but it’s the poorest and most vulnerable countries that are affected most severely; devastatingly, it is the people that have contributed least to climate change who are currently paying the price. By 2050, an additional 200 million people each year might need humanitarian aid due to climate change - an increase of 85 per cent compared with 2019.
We welcome the G7 announcements on famine prevention and climate change adaptation, which are two critical issues facing people living in extreme poverty. However, too often these announcements were lacking in detail, transparency, and concrete commitments, which are important so that governments can be held to account.
In the UK, these important initiatives are also undermined by cuts to the UK aid budget. At Concern, we have already seen two of our programmes on health provision and building resilience to climate change forced to close at extremely short notice due to the cuts. These will have devastating consequences for some of the poorest communities, which bear a disproportionate burden of ill-health, vulnerability, and threat from climate shocks.
In response to the G7, Executive Director of Concern Worldwide UK, Danny Harvey, said:
“Building back better will be impossible unless accompanied by the necessary investments, and placing the needs of the poorest and those most vulnerable to these crises at the heart of all efforts. The G7 has the power to change the world, but only if these world leaders lead by example, starting with a reversal of catastrophic UK aid cuts that are derailing these efforts on the ground."
We will continue to push for a reversal of the aid cuts and for the G7 pledges to result in meaningful action for those living in extreme poverty.