PM call for G-7 support to TRIPS waiver gets backing of WTO, UN

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 13, 2021

Climate action must include mitigation, adaptation and technology transfer: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call on G-7 nations to support India and South Africa’s proposal for temporarily waiving TRIPS provisions at the WTO for Covid-19 related vaccines and medicines was supported by the WTO Director General Okonjo Iweala and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said the Ministry of External Affairs.

Guterres identified the proposed TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) waiver as an important element of the UN’s ‘Global Vaccination Plan’, which was a roadmap to vaccinate the entire global population by doubling vaccine production, said P Harish, Additional Secretary (ER), MEA, at a press briefing on Sunday.

The Indian PM’s call, made at the G-7 outreach sessions on June 12-13, was also echoed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and backed by Australian PM Scott Morrison.

“President Macron (of France) highlighted the need to focus on ramping up production capacity in Africa, and called on India to lend its expertise as an important production hub globally,” Harish added.

Text-based deals

Overall, there was widespread support in the deliberations for text-based negotiations on the proposal at the WTO, he said.

On the need to make financing available to various vaccine manufacturing hubs in the world like India, there was a general agreement to increase capacities in various regional hubs and provide financing, technology transfer and skilling in these regions. India, together with Australia, South Korea and South Africa, was invited by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to attend the outreach component of the G-7 Summit in Cornwall in the UK. Modi decided to participate in the meet virtually on account of the pandemic.UK is the current President of the G-7, which also includes France, Germany, Italy, the US, Japan and Canada. The theme selected by the UK for its G-7 Presidency is ‘Build Back Better’, in support of global recovery efforts post-pandemic.

The G-7 pledged to donate an additional 1 billion doses of vaccines within the next year, and all agreed that steps needed to be taken to achieve vaccine equity across the world.

India’s key role

India’s participation at the summit reflects the understanding within the G7 that the resolution to the biggest global crises of our time is not possible without India’s engagement, involvement and support, said the MEA. “PM Modi spoke in three sessions over the past two days on various elements of ‘Building Back Better, Stronger, Together and Greener’, and spoke on health, climate change and open societies, highlighting how as democratic and transparent societies we have both additional responsibilities and added advantages in responding to these challenges,” said Harish.

In the area of climate change, Modi called for collective action, recognising that this challenge cannot be addressed in silos. “...PM highlighted the need for climate action to include all dimensions of mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, financing and equity, climate justice and lifestyle change, to provide the necessary space for the developing countries to grow, and called on the G7 to meet their unfulfilled promise of $100 b annually in climate finance,” said Harish.

The G-7, which includes the UK, US, Canada, Japan, Italy, Germany and France, pledged to donate an additional 1 billion doses of vaccines within the next year, and all agreed that steps needed to be taken to achieve vaccine equity across the world.

India and South Africa’s proposal for a temporary waiver of TRIPS provisions to ensure availability of vaccines and other medical products related to Covid-19 to all countries has been gaining traction at the WTO. The PM’s efforts to generate more support for it at the G-7 will help in India and South Africa’s efforts to get the proposal through at the WTO.

Published on June 13, 2021

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