G7 Foreign and Development Ministers
G7 leaders met in Liverpool on 11-12 December 2021 to discuss climate, the pandemic, foreign affairs, and plans for international development. Equitable vaccination was especially high on the agenda made more urgent because of the emergent Omicron variant. Leaders endorsed the WHO’s Global Vaccination Strategy, noting that 657 million doses have been shared by G7 Member States since June, and looking forward to expanding vaccination efforts with the UK’s hosting the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) financing summit in March 2022. CEPI, a leading coalition in support of vaccine science, aims to bring the timeline for future vaccine development down to a 100-days, a third of the time it took to develop the Covid vaccine.
Foreign ministers were also joined by counterparts in Australia and South Korea, ASEAN and several development ministers to discuss the importance of political stability and innovation in the Indo Pacific region. They stressed the urgency of investing in sustainable, quality infrastructure both there and in Africa, pledging to invest a total of $80 billion in the private sector in Africa over the following five years. The ministers also turned their attention to recent developments in Africa and the Middle East, strongly condemning the military take-over in Sudan in October this year, and calling upon Libya and Somalia to ensure that their elections are free, peaceful, and credible. The ministers also noted the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and stressed the need for support to its peoples through non-state channels such as the UN and NGOs. They laid a particular emphasis on the importance of safe passage for women and girls in the region, as part of the G7 leader’s wider commitment to advancing gender equality, which also included a call to address conflict related sexual violence.
Staying in Liverpool was an opportunity to explore the city’s rich cultural and culinary history. The conference itself was held in the Museum of Liverpool. Leaders were welcomed in by the Salvation Army playing Christmas carols. The Sally Army own Strawberry Fields, formally a children’s home and now a place of homage for John Lennon fans. Discussions continued at the Beatles Story Museum and finally at Anfield, home to Liverpool Football Club.
Sarah Beeching, Oshun Partnership’s Executive Director supported the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office on production and protocol for the events. Sarah said ‘This was no ordinary G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, the decision to hold it outside of London certainly added logistical challenges, but also offered the opportunity to showcase a vibrant city and welcoming hospitality. As Germany takes over the G7 Presidency this will be a hard act to follow.’
© Photo credits: Sarah Beeching, Oshun Partnership