This weekend, the “G7”, the leaders of several of the world’s richest and most powerful countries, met in the United Kingdom (UK). The meeting led to agreements to help poorer countries by offering coronavirus vaccines and money for climate action.
The leaders of the G7 countries usually get together once a year to work on problems that affect the whole world. Often they focus on the economy (how businesses are doing and how things are bought and sold between different countries).
This year’s meeting was held by the seaside in Cornwall, UK, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson was the host. It was the group’s first in-person meeting since 2019. The 2020 meeting was held over the internet.
The coronavirus pandemic was one of the most important subjects discussed. The group’s members agreed that they would provide 1 billion vaccine doses to countries that need them. They also agreed that there should be a more complete investigation into how the coronavirus started.
Climate action was another important subject. The G7 countries agreed to cut emissions in half by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050. The group promised up to $100 billion a year to help developing countries take climate action. Some people pointed out that this promise is an old one that the group has not yet met.
The G7 also promised up to $2 billion to help less-developed countries move away from coal use. Still, many people were upset that the group didn’t set a date for ending the use of coal – one of the worst-polluting fuels.
One important area for the G7 is how to deal with other powerful nations which seem to oppose it, such as China and Russia. The group couldn’t completely agree on how to handle China. Some countries want to work with China; others want to take a tougher position.
In recent years, China has tried to become allies with many poorer countries by loaning them money for projects. The G7 is now planning on taking similar action, and could wind up loaning countries billions of dollars.
The group agreed that China should do a better job of respecting human rights. It also called on China to keep the peace with Taiwan and in the South China Sea. In response, China said that a small group of countries can’t make the rules for the rest of the world.
Russia was part of the G7 before, but was kicked out after it took land from another country. In recent years, Russia has taken steps to cause trouble in other countries – for example, by interfering in elections. Several serious computer attacks have come from Russia recently.
The G7 countries called on Russia to catch and punish computer criminals inside Russia. They also want the government to end its crackdown on people who disagree with President Vladimir Putin’s government.
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US President Joe Biden will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, and the two are expected to talk more about these ideas.
Did You Know…?
German leader Angela Merkel has been an important part of G7 meetings since 2007. This was her last G7 meeting, since she plans to step down as Germany’s leader in September.
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