On May 26 and 27 of this year, the G7 countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — met in the Italian town of Taormina, Sicily, to discuss some of the world’s toughest issues at the 43rd annual G7 Summit. Its current members make up nearly 50% of the world economy, and represent more than 60% of net global wealth.
In other words, they have the financial clout to make some very significant commitments towards ending poverty and tackling issues like polio— the crippling disease which is 99.9% eradicated from our planet and just needs the financial support needed to rid the world of it once and for all.
That is why Global Citizens took 39,436 actions on the vital issue of polio eradication in the first half of this year to urge G7 countries — and particularly Canada and the UK — to step up their funding and efforts. Global Citizens, alongside our partners at the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary International and RESULTS, have been demanding global leaders to give one last push to free the planet of polio — engaging in high level negotiations and even sending letters to every relevant Health Minister.
Read more: This Week Proves That Persistence Pays in the Fight Against Polio
Canada and UK certainly stepped up. In JuneCanada committed $100 million (CAD) towards polio eradication efforts and the UK committed to the immunization of 45 million children against the disease every year until 2020. Plus the G20 Communique released in July specifically outlined polio eradication as a priority for its member countries (of which the G7 are all members). And today we can officially announce further promising impact of our collective call.
The G7 Health Communique has just been released and it stipulates the committee will sustain its efforts to eradicate polio through support of our partners at the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, while also recognizing the broad reaching benefits of eradication beyond simply a polio free world.
Moreover it states, “As the world gets closer to achieving global polio eradication, we also recognize the importance of continuing our efforts to succeed and keep the world sustainably polio‐free, and, of the opportunity to leverage and transition polio assets and resources that have generated major and broader health benefits, including strengthened health systems.”
Yet there is still more to be done. Even though eradication efforts have reduced contraction of the virus to just a few cases a year, it still exists — and polio anywhere is a risk to all children everywhere. Join us in asking the host of next year’s G7, Canada, to prioritize global health security.