Today, Action for Global Health are launching their ‘Healthy Futures: G7 Campaign’ to highlight the importance of universal health coverage. Ensuring that the UK prioritises this issue at the G7 Summit in June is critical to enable the world’s hardest hit countries to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To mark the launch of the month-long campaign, we’re taking a look at what the G7 is, why it’s so important and how we can use the G7 Summit to effect real world change for global health.
Here’s everything you need to know about the G7 and how it affects the future of global health.
What is the G7?
The G7 or the ‘Group of Seven’ is an international Intergovernmental Economic Organisation.
Member nations include: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US as well as representatives of the European Union.
The original G7 group was formed in 1975 but was then made up of only six countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. Canada joined the following year and thus the ‘G7’ was born.
Why was the G7 created?
The G7 was formed as a response to the 1973 oil crisis which saw oil prices soar. The group was originally created to bring together their political leaders annually to discuss energy, economic and security issues.
Why are only these countries members of the G7?
The G7 is made up of some of the world’s wealthiest nations in the world, representing 40% of global GDP and 10% of the world’s population.
Russia joined briefly in 1998 however were removed from the group in 2014 after annexing Crimea from Ukraine.
But there are some notable global powers missing from the G7 table, such as China and India. This led to the creation of the G20, a bigger more inclusive group of world powers created in 1999 to discuss mainly financial matters with members representing 85% of global economic output.
The EU has also been included in political decisions despite not having official member status.
What is the G7 Summit?
The G7 Summit is the annual gathering of political leaders from the seven nation members of the G7. This year’s G7 Summit will be hosted by the UK and is scheduled to take place between 11th and 13th June.
The countries in attendance typically discuss broad issues such as: global economy, security and energy, climate change, jobs of the future and women’s empowerment.
However, the G7 is an informal group so topics of discussion are not binding but gives leaders the opportunity to exchange ideas.
Why is the G7 important?
The G7 brings together the world’s advanced economies who are able to influence global movements and address widespread issues. They provide global leadership and play a powerful strategic role when dealing with worldwide issues. These strategies are then taken up by others with broader global and regional membership as a way of forging a way forward on key global issues.
The G7 are also able to forge agreements and make progress on cross-cutting global issues – affecting real world change.
What impact does the G7 have on global health?
The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects in all areas of our lives. But most crucially, it has shown how important it is that people all over the world have access to health care when they need it.
As the UK is set to host the Presidency of the G7 Summit, the UK can and should lead by example by championing universal health coverage and strengthening health systems, making it a global priority.
Given the focus of the G7 Summit on the global response to COVID-19, this is a critical opportunity for G7 leaders to invest in health systems that are able to respond to the pandemic and continue delivering essential, lifesaving services.
What you can do to help
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is using the UK’s G7 Presidency to unite leading democracies to help the world build back better from coronavirus and create a healthier world. So, let’s ensure he does just that.
Take action today by signing and sending this letter to your MP to ensure that health for all is prioritised at this year’s G7 Summit.
By raising the profile of this issue, we will show the UK’s continued commitment to creating a healthier, safer world, through standing in solidarity with other countries, at a time when it matters the most.