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Response to statement from chancellor and G7 Finance Ministers on support for vulnerable countries

19 March 2021 - In response to the outcomes of today’s meeting between the G7 finance ministers Lisa Wise, Save the Children’s Co-Director of Global Policy, said:

“We welcome the G7's commitment to helping some of the world’s poorest countries unlock money to grapple with the devastating fallout from Covid-19. This is important progress and UK leadership on it is to be applauded, but it beggars belief that the government is simultaneously undermining these efforts by slashing aid to vulnerable families worldwide.

“Today we saw significant progress towards a new allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). This will be critical for supporting much-needed liquidity, which has the potential to help mitigate the pandemic’s damage to children’s education, health, nutrition and protection from violence across the world.

“However, there is still a marked lack of urgency. Every day that passes without meaningful action translates into lost lives, livelihoods and futures. We need to see an expedited process on SDRs, with firm commitment from the G7 that they will reallocate their share to the world’s poorest countries – a commitment that is lacking in today’s statement.

“Urgent progress is also needed on a raft of other measures to meet the significant – and growing – financing gap that is leaving countries struggling to pay for education, healthcare and social safety nets. It is positive that work is underway to tackle the tax challenges of the digital economy, but this must done in cooperation with the world’s poorest countries. G7 support is also needed to strengthen debt relief initiatives and it is critical aid is scaled up.

“We continue to be dismayed that the UK is the only member of the G7 cutting its aid budget in response to the pandemic. The Government must urgently rethink its decision to break its promise to maintain aid spending at 0.7% of GNI. It will have disastrous consequences for some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children and diminish our role on the world stage.”