Global Economic Recovery, Debt, Climate, Vaccines Top G7 Finance Agenda

WASHINGTON – G7 finance ministers met virtually to discuss economic recovery in the face of the coronavirus. The G7 agenda included global debt problems, vaccine distribution for developing countries and accessing global reserve funds or Special Drawing Rights. The United Kingdom, hosting this year’s G7 process, prioritized climate as a key issue of the UK’s G7 presidency.

“The G7 is looking at the most crucial issues for a global recovery that includes everyone,” said Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert. “Debt, vaccine distribution, protecting our planet and getting enough aid to vulnerable populations are the critical issues.”

Japan’s Finance Minister Tarō Asō noted that accessing Special Drawing Rights, a type of currency that could be generated to support all countries, was an important G7 discussion point.

“While no decisions on Special Drawing Rights have been made yet, we continue to see progress,” stated LeCompte. “We are seeing more movement on debt relief for developing countries.”

The G7 sees debt relief as a critical global response tool for developing countries. Last year the G20 adopted a debt reduction process that allows up to 73 of the world’s poorest countries to seek support. Since the beginning of the year, three African countries already sought support under the mechanism.

Climate issues were raised as an important focus for finance ministers.

“The UK and the US believe now is the time to focus on climate and ensuring our planet can emerge with resilience from the current crisis,” noted LeCompte.

President Biden, as one of his first acts in office, rejoined the Paris Agreement on climate and signed an executive order putting the climate crisis at the center of the US foreign policy. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen noted the need for significant global stimulus and increasing cooperation with other G7 governments, according to a statement Treasury released.

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