Remember last month’s G7 summit?
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, basking in his role of host after a year of sterile Zoom diplomacy, implored his fellow leaders to vaccinate the whole world against Covid-19 by the end of 2022. But when the spin about the Cornwall huddle supposedly being one of the most vital global summits ever had faded, it became clear that the rich nations club had fallen disastrously short in globalizing the miracle of vaccines.
The group promised 1 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to poorer nations. US President Joe Biden, who backed lifting patents on Covid vaccines, pledged to buy 500 million doses alone. The UK offered 100 million. This sounds a lot. But around 11 billion shots are needed to protect the global population. It’s not surprising that world leaders took care of their own nations first. Politicians in democracies obsess about keeping power. But the rich nations failed to use their fortunes and unique assets to build the kind of infrastructure that might speed global vaccinations and end the pandemic.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Wednesday that the vaccine deficit was “driving a wave of death” in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. “From a moral, epidemiological or economic point of view, now is the time for the world to come together to tackle this pandemic collectively,” he said.
The failure to do so is becoming clear even as nations like the US and the UK benefit from their own high vaccination rates and reopen. Their progress is being threatened by the more infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus, which first emerged in India — an area of low vaccine penetration. Experts fear the next variant that evolves in vast pools of unvaccinated humanity might evade the vaccines that are restoring the developed world.
In June, Meanwhile asked: “If the G7 can’t come up with a plan to vaccinate the world, what is it for?” It’s still a good question. But there’s another chance. Another summit — this one also involving large developing nations — is set for Rome in October.
G20, it’s over to you.
‘The Haitian diaspora is upset and in search of answers’
The assassination of Haiti’s President sent shock waves through his compatriots living in the United States, and sparked concern that a country already scarred by its violent history, political tumult and natural disasters is in for even more pain.
“The Haitian diaspora is upset and in search of answers,” Vania Andrew, publisher of The Haitian Times, an influential newspaper for the Haitian diaspora in the US, told Meanwhile.
“Although Jovenel Moise was wildly unpopular, with several calls for him to step down, there’s still a feeling of disappointment given what this indicates for the state of the country. Folks are scared about what’s to come next and there are very real fears about whether or not violence in the streets will ensue.
“This generation of Haitians in the diaspora is living in two worlds, where they are confronted with the challenges of being Black in America, championing Black Lives Matter, fighting against gun violence and impacted by what they see happening with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the countless other Black Americans that have died at the hands of police, while also dealing with the persistent political and social problems in Haiti that also have racial and class undertones.
“For a while Haitians in the diaspora were hopeful about Haiti’s future, especially given the outpouring of support for the country in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. There was a sense that Haiti was going to build back bigger and better. Folks left their corporate jobs and stability in the US to be a part of that reawakening for Haiti, and sadly the reality has been the complete opposite, and Moise’s assassination is the final nail in the coffin for them.
“This is a generation of change. Anyone who had a nonprofit, a business, an idea for initiatives that support sustainability in the country, will now think twice on whether Haiti is worth it.”
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