Response to the G7 Leaders’ Summit Communique

Response to the G7 Leaders’ Summit Communique
In response to the G7 Leaders’ Summit Communique issued on 13 June, Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, said, “We are delighted to see the focus G7 Leaders have placed on ensuring that recovery from the current pandemic is resilient and sustainable, that it looks to the needs of people in the context of sustaining the planet on which we depend, and that the three themes of the S7 science academies’ recommendations – net zero, biodiversity loss and data for international health emergencies – are all given prominence. The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) was one of the signatories that supported the recommendations.

“It is welcome that the G7 has recognised the need to establish principles for well-governed access to international health data in emergencies. This can be a major step toward better preparedness. COVID-19 exposed the weaknesses in our global data systems, and the need to build trusted and trustworthy systems before the next emergency strikes. Ensuring data that can inform behavioural insights, or global disease surveillance will require commitment from a range of partners. The S7 academies are ready to support this work and we look forward to hearing how this will progress in practice.

“We are also pleased to see ambitious targets for net zero and further support to middle- and low-income countries to help them achieve net zero.  We continue to believe that evidence-based transparent technology road maps which set out technologies to deploy, develop and research are needed to demonstrate how countries will meet those targets, and to drive efficient public and private investment.

“It is also good to see recognition of the inherent links between health, climate change and biodiversity loss; and that their impacts create greater inequalities.

“We are however disappointed that the G7 communique does not acknowledge the S7 academies’ recommendation highlighting the need to develop new approaches to valuing and accounting for biodiversity. We strongly believe that G7 nations should drive new approaches that result in biodiversity being addressed in national and corporate accounting procedures and that ensure that the long-term sustainability of the biosphere becomes embedded as a central consideration of economic growth in ways which reduce economic, social and health inequalities associated with the impacts of biodiversity loss. We accept this is a challenge and hope that, whilst not in this communique, that G7 governments will continue the dialogue on this.”