The change we need
Vaccines have dominated this G7, unsurprisingly given the glaring inequality in vaccine deployment around the world. While G7 countries vaccinate their citizens at the rate of 4.6 million people per day, low income countries can only handle 63,000. The G7 will have vaccinated almost all of its citizens by the end of it. of the year while at the current rate, low-income countries would wait 57 years. This is why the countries of the South demand that the rich countries support a waiver of intellectual property rules to allow countries around the world to increase their production as quickly as possible. But with the very important exception of US President Biden and the sometimes promising rumors of French President Macron, the G7 has largely sided with the big pharmaceutical companies to protect the right to profit, regardless of the cost in lives.
These leaders wanted to use the G7 summit to prove that they could help the countries of the South while leaving the benefits of Big Pharma intact. On Friday, a billion doses were put on the table. This would only have been enough to immunize about 10 percent of the world’s unvaccinated population. By Sunday, that number had fallen to 870 million, of which only around 600 million were genuinely “new,” most of which would only be offered next year, and some of which appear closer to exports (they will have to be paid for) rather than donations.
When one keeps in mind that a single factory in Bangladesh could produce between 600 and 800 million doses per year if patents were dropped, it becomes clear that this G7 commitment does not even serve as a fig leaf. .
Beyond vaccines, the pandemic has triggered a debt crisis in many countries, which could increase poverty and inequality for a generation. Yet the G7 has offered nothing new to change this situation, including taking no action against the banks and hedge funds that continue to drain billions of dollars a year from countries that should spend on health and protection. economic. And on the major problem of our time, stopping climate change, the summit contented itself with reaffirming a ten-year goal of giving developing countries $ 100 billion a year to adapt to climate change. – a promise that they have already not honored a commitment to phase out coal, but without real details.
Perhaps none of this should surprise us. After all, the precursor of the G7 was created in the mid-1970s as a sort of coup against a more democratic and egalitarian world order. The first summit – then only the six most powerful governments in the world – took place in 1975 at the gates of Paris. These leaders gathered to discuss the threat to their control of global energy markets by Middle Eastern suppliers who turned off the oil taps, and how to deal with their former colonies that demanded liberation. economics of the international economy controlled by the West. Working as part of the non-aligned movement, these southern countries used the UN to demand a more democratic world economy in which big business and big finance would be constrained, commodity producers would get a fairer share of the world. Global income and important technologies would be shared for the good of all.
Extract: “The change we need will never come from the G7”