Boris Johnson – 2021 Statement at the G7 Summit

The statement made by Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, at the G7 Summit in Cornwall on 13 June 2021.

This Summit was the first gathering of G7 leaders – in fact the first gathering of pretty much any leaders – in almost two years.

And I know the world was looking to us to reject some of the selfishness and nationalist approaches that have marred the initial global response to the pandemic, and to channel all our diplomatic, economic and scientific might into defeating covid for good.

And I do hope we have lived up to some of the most optimistic of hopes and predictions

I should say I am sorry to hear that, owing to their pre-existing commitments, the England football team are not able to watch this press conference live in the way I’m sure they’d like to.

But I hope that, following their resounding victory, they will be able to catch up on the triumphs of the G7 later on.

A week ago I asked my fellow leaders to help in preparing and providing the doses we need to help vaccinate the whole world by the end of 2022.

I’m very pleased to announce that this weekend leaders have pledged over 1 billion doses – either directly or through funding to COVAX – that includes 100 million from the UK, to the world’s poorest countries – which is another big step towards vaccinating the world.

And that’s in addition to everything scientists and governments and the pharmaceutical industry have done so far to roll out one of the largest vaccination programmes in history.

And here I want to mention, in particular, the role the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – the world’s most popular vaccine, developed 250 miles from where I’m standing today- by scientists who have rightly been given honours by the Queen this weekend.

Today over half a billion people are safe because of the development and production of that vaccine, funded – I may add – by the UK Government. And that number is rising every day.

It is popular, of course, because it is being sold at cost to the world and it was designed for ease of use in mind.

And because of that act of generosity by AstraZeneca who, just to reiterate, are making zero profit on the production of that vaccine, millions more vaccines have been rolled out to the poorest countries in the world. In fact 96% of the vaccines delivered by the COVAX distribution scheme have been Oxford-AZ.

But this weekend our discussions went far beyond defeating the pandemic.

We looked towards the great global recovery our countries have committed to lead, and we were clear that we all need to build back better in a way that delivers for all our people and for the people of the world.

And that means preventing a pandemic like this from ever happening again, apart from anything else by establishing a global pandemic radar which will spot new diseases before they get the chance to spread.

It means ensuring that our future prosperity benefits all the citizens of our countries and indeed all the citizens of the world.

At the G7 Summit this weekend, my fellow leaders helped the Global Partnership for Education – an organisation working to make sure that every child in the world is given the chance of a proper education – reach half of its five-year fundraising goal, including a £430m donation from the UK.

It’s an international disgrace that some children in the world are denied the chance to learn and reach their full potential, and I’m very very pleased that the G7 came together to support that cause.

Because educating all children, particularly girls, is one of the easiest ways to lift countries out of poverty and help them rebound from the coronavirus crisis. With just one additional year of school a girl’s future earnings can increase by 20%.

I’m proud that G7 countries have agreed to get 40 million more girls into school and 20 million more reading by the end of primary school in the next five years, and the money we have raised this week is a fantastic start.

But of course the world cannot have a prosperous future if we don’t work together to tackle climate change.

Later this year the UK will host the COP26 Summit, which will galvanise global action on fighting climate change and create a healthy planet for our children and grandchildren.

G7 countries account for 20% of global carbon emissions, and we were clear this weekend that action has to start with us.

Carbis Bay is one of the most beautiful places in the world as you can see and it was a fitting setting for the first ever net zero G7 Summit.

And while it’s fantastic that every one of the G7 countries has pledged to wipe out our contributions to climate change, we need to make sure we’re achieving that as fast as we can and helping developing countries at the same time.

And what unites the countries gathered here this weekend – not just the G7 but Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea who have joined us (I should say in India’s case joined us virtually) not just our resolve to tackle climate change, but also our democratic values.

It’s not good enough for us to just rest on our laurels and talk about how important those values are. And this isn’t about imposing our values on the rest of the world. What we as the G7 need to do is demonstrate the benefits of democracy and freedom and human rights to rest of the world.

And we can partly achieve that by the greatest feat in medical history – vaccinating the world.

We can do that by working together to stop the devastation that coronavirus has produced from ever occurring again.

And we can do that by showing the value of giving every girl in the world access to 12 years of quality education.

And we can also do that by coming together as the G7 and helping the world’s poorest countries to develop themselves in a way that is clean and green and sustainable

I want to thank finally, the police, everyone who helped organised this summit and all the people not just of Carbis bay (who certainly helped us put the carbs into Carbis Bay), but all the wonderful people of Cornwall for their hospitality. It’s been a fantastic summit and I know that all the other delegations would want to express their thanks as well.