G7 Summit Commits Support To Ebola Affected Countries

Leaders at the recently concluded Group of Seven (G7) Summit in the German Alps of Schloss-Elmau have committed to assist the three countries worst affected by the Ebola virus disease (Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone) over the next five years, after their economies were badly affected by the Ebola virus

According to a dispatch from Schloss-Elmau, Germany, in a Leaders’ Declaration adopted at the end of the 41st G7 Summit, the leaders and their partners agreed that the Ebola crisis has shown that the world needs to improve its capacity to prevent, protect against, detect, report and respond to public health emergencies.

”We are strongly committed to getting the Ebola cases down to zero. We also recognize the importance of supporting recovery for those countries most affected by the outbreak. We must draw lessons from this crisis. We acknowledge the work that is being done by the WHO and welcome the outcome agreed at the Special Session of the Executive Board on Ebola and the 68th World Health Assembly. We support the ongoing process to reform and strengthen the WHO’s capacity to prepare for and respond to complex health crises while reaffirming the central role of the WHO for international health security.”

The leaders agreed to commit to preventing future outbreaks from becoming epidemics by assisting countries to implement the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations (IHR), including through Global Health Security Agenda and its common targets and other multilateral initiatives.

The Declaration stressed that in order to achieve that they will offer to assist at least 60 countries, including the countries of West Africa, over the next five years, building on countries’ expertise and existing partnerships. They encouraged other development partners and countries to join this collective effort; noting that in this framework, they will also be mindful of the healthcare needs of migrants and refugees.

The G7 leaders emphasized that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being; noting therefore that they are strongly committing themselves to continuing their engagement with a specific focus on strengthening health systems through bilateral programmes and multilateral structures.

On the Post -2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the leaders reiterated that 2015 is a milestone year for international sustainable development issues. The Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, the UN Summit for the adoption of the Post-2015 agenda in New York and the Climate Change Conference in Paris will set the global sustainable development and climate agenda for the coming years.

The leaders stressed their commitment to achieving an ambitious, people-centered, planet-sensitive and universally applicable Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development that integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development –environmental, economic and social – in a balanced manner.

”The agenda should complete the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals, end extreme poverty, leave no-one behind, reduce inequality, accelerate the global transition to sustainable economies, promote sustainable management of natural resources, and strengthen peace, good governance and human rights,” the Leaders’ Declaration stated, adding further, “In order to mobilize appropriate action in and by all countries and by all stakeholders, we support the formulation and communication of key policy messages. We are committed to building a new global partnership based on universality, shared responsibility, mutual accountability, efficient and effective monitoring and review and a multi-stakeholder approach to our common goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and transitioning to sustainable development.”

To help foster this new transformative agenda, they committed themselves to significant measures on global health, food security, climate and marine protection, sustainable supply chains and women’s economic empowerment. “Collectively, we commit to supporting furthering financial and non-financial means of implementation, including through domestic resource mobilization, innovative financing, private finance, official development and other assistance and an ambitious policy framework.”

On Food Security, the G7 leaders said good governance, economic growth and better functioning markets, and investment in research and technology, together with increased domestic and private sector investment and development assistance have collectively contributed to increases in food security and improved nutrition.

They noted that as part of a broad effort involving partner countries, and international actors, and as a significant contribution to the Post-2015 Development Agenda, they aim to lift 500 million people in developing countries out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030.

“The G7 Broad Food Security and Nutrition Development Approach will strengthen efforts to support dynamic rural transformations, promote responsible investment and sustainable agriculture and foster multisectoral approaches to nutrition, and we aim to safeguard food security and nutrition in conflicts and crisis,” the Declaration stated, emphasizing, “We will continue to align with partner countries strategies, improve development effectiveness and strengthen the transparent monitoring of our progress,” noting that they will ensure that their actions continue to empower women, smallholders and family farmers.

On Women’s Economic Empowerment, the G7 leaders emphasized that women’s economic participation reduces poverty and inequality, promotes growth and benefits all; though women regularly face discrimination which impedes economic potential, jeopardizes investment in development, and constitutes a violation of their human rights.

The leaders promised to support their partners in developing countries and within their own countries to overcome discrimination, sexual harassment, violence against women and girls and other cultural, social, economic and legal barriers to women’s economic participation.

They recognized that being equipped with relevant skills for decent work, especially through technical and vocational education and training (TVET) via formal and non-formal learning, is key to the economic empowerment of women and girls, including those who face multiple sources of discrimination (e.g. women and girls with disabilities), and to improving their employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.

They resolved and committed to increasing the number of women and girls technically and vocationally educated and trained in developing countries through G7 measures by one third (compared to “business as usual”) by 2030.

The Declaration pledged to continue to take steps to foster access to quality jobs for women and to reduce the gender gap in workforce participation within our own countries by 25 percent by 2025, taking into account national circumstances including by improving the framework conditions to enable women and men to balance family life and employment, including access to parental leave and childcare.

They agreed that the private sector also has a vital role in creating an environment in which women can meaningfully participate in the economy. They will therefore support the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and call on companies worldwide to integrate them into their activities. They will coordinate their efforts through a new G7 working group on women.

Other issues included in the Leaders’ Declaration are: climate change, global terrorism, energy, health, education, migration, civil conflicts, nuclear safety, trade and investment, foreign affairs, among others.