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G7 leaders say hunger and poverty are rising, refugees are increasing and they will provide $7 billion in humanitarian assistance, but, but, will they follow through?

The leaders of the Group of Seven who began meeting in Cornwall, United Kingdom, on Friday, June 11, ended their summit on Sunday, June 13, with a commitment to provide $7 billion in humanitarian assistance and take other actions to protect and help internally displaced persons and refugees, as well as fight hunger and poverty around the world, including in Africa.

G7 
G7 leaders during their summit in the United Kingdom

“We note with grave concern that the world faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis as the UN reports that over 34 million people are already facing emergency levels of food insecurity and are one step from catastrophe or famine,” they said in their final communique. “In this light, we endorse the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Crises Compact committed to by G7 Foreign and Development Ministers. We reaffirm our commitment to provide $7 billion in humanitarian assistance, take diplomatic action to promote humanitarian access and the protection of civilians, including women and girls, and strengthen anticipatory and early action in partnership with the UN and World Bank Group.”

G7 leaders also acknowledged “the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 on the poorest countries who already were grappling with the effects of conflict, climate change, socio-economic shocks and a chronic lack of resources and infrastructure,” and pledged that as they advance recovery plans to support economies and build back better, “in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including through innovative measures and massive budgetary support, developing partner countries, especially in Africa, cannot be left behind.”

“We are deeply concerned that the pandemic has set back progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and continues to exacerbate global inequalities, and therefore recommit to enhance our efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030, including by supporting the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) and aligning financial flows with the SDGs,” they said. “We take note of the policy options developed through the Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond Initiative.”

The G7 leaders in their communique also called attention to the rise in poverty, hunger and malnutrition globally, noting the exacerbating role of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, economic shocks, biodiversity loss and increased conflict, and agreed further action is needed to reverse these trends and strengthen global food systems.

“We reaffirm our commitment to the Broad Food Security and Nutrition Development Approach made at Elmau in 2015, and note that responsible investments in food security, food systems, and nutrition are essential to support SDG2 and World Health Assembly nutrition targets,” they said. “We further encourage strong commitments in these areas to be announced at the G20, the UN Food Systems Summit, COP26 and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit later this year.”

The IMF estimates that, between now and 2025, low income countries will need around $200 billion to respond to the pandemic and $250 billion in investment spending for convergence with advanced economies, and the G7 leaders reiterated their commitment to implement the G20 and Paris Club Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative.

“We support fair and open lending practices, and call on all creditors to adhere to these. We underline the importance of information sharing, and reiterate the need for comparability of treatment for private and other official bilateral creditors in debt treatments,” they said. “We urge the MDBs to explore all options to unlock additional financing for developing countries, including more efficient and effective use of their resources, further work on balance sheet optimisation and further analysis of their capital adequacy frameworks.”

The leaders welcomed the agreement by G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to support a new $650 billion allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights, and urged implementation by the end of August 2021 accompanied by transparency and accountability measures.

“We encourage the IMF to work quickly with all relevant stakeholders to explore a menu of options for channelling SDRs to further support health needs, including vaccinations, and to help enable greener, more robust recoveries in the most affected countries, supporting the poorest and most vulnerable countries in tackling these urgent challenges,” they said.

They added that G7 countries are actively considering options that we can take as part of a global effort to magnify the impact of this general allocation for countries most in need, especially in Africa, including through voluntarily channelling SDRs and/or budget loans, in line with national circumstances and legal requirements.

“This includes scaling up financing to the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust and the IMF’s review of concessional financing and policies to strengthen its capacity to support low income countries. To support our aim to reach a total global ambition of $100 billion, we call for contributions from other countries able to do so, alongside the G7. We task G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to urgently consider the detail of this, including by working with the G20 and other stakeholders,” the G7 leaders said.

The question is, will the G7 leaders follow through?

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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