Thursday 3 June 2021 / 10:30 PM Business / Economy / Ed Miliband

G7 Finance Ministers must deliver for developing countries or risk failure at COP26 – Labour

Labour is calling for the UK government to show leadership at the meeting of G7 Finance Ministers this weekend to deliver support for developing countries struggling against COVID-19, climate breakdown and debt.

Developing countries on the frontline of the climate crisis urgently need “fiscal space” freed up, Labour is arguing, to tackle the issues they are facing. As hosts of both the G7 summit and COP26, the UK has a special responsibility to ensure these talks are a success and lead to meaningful action. Failure to deliver support from next week’s meeting of the world’s largest advanced economies risks developing countries, which are so essential for any deal in Glasgow in November, avoiding or abandoning those talks.

Labour has laid out its own plan to support developing countries ahead of the G7 Finance Ministers meeting, including suggested diplomatic action on international climate finance, debt relief, and global vaccine production.

Climate finance

  • The UK Government must immediately reverse the damaging cuts to the overseas development aid budget. These cuts put pressure on the budgets of developing nations leaving them with less fiscal space for climate action, and undermine the UK’s credibility as hosts of COP26.
  • The UK Government must lead diplomatic efforts to finally deliver the $100bn promised by the richest countries for developing nations over a decade ago, including privately and publicly calling out rich countries and major emitters failing to do their part.
  • The UK should pressure other countries to join it in contributing with grants rather than loans, and ensure these funds are directed to support both adaptation to the effects of climate change and the mitigation of its causes.

Debt relief

  • The UK Government should push G7 nations to deliver a substantial debt cut for developing countries.
  • That includes pressuring private creditors and large national creditors like China to come to the table, to agree debt relief and restructuring.

Vaccines

  • There must be a global effort to identify and equip the dozens of new facilities required in key countries and regions around the world to undertake vaccine production.
  • There must be a coordinated global investment programme – in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry – to ensure that these new facilities have the skills, technology and supplies they need to enable the safe and efficient mass production of vaccines.
  • A regulatory body should be established to oversee vaccine production standards and a formal trade and investment agreement among participating countries.
  • New innovations must be pursued globally that would transform the fight against Covid-19 and future viral diseases, including the development of orally-active vaccines, to be produced and distributed in capsule form.

Ed Miliband MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, said:  

“Countries on the frontline of the climate crisis, who have done least to bring it about, are already dealing with its devastating consequences. They are facing a triple threat – coronavirus, climate breakdown and debt.

“If developing countries follow the fossil-fuelled path pursued by countries like ours, we will fail to deliver the ambition of the Paris Agreement. As Climate Change Secretary back in 2009 during the Copenhagen climate summit, I saw the damage done to negotiations when developed countries failed to bring developing countries with them. It is critical we get this right.

“As hosts of both the G7 summit and COP26, our government must step up and show the leadership and diplomacy needed to secure these commitments for developing countries, allowing them the capacity to fight the crises we all face. This is the decisive decade in our fight against climate change.”