GZERO event highlights: IMF chief, G7 vaccine pledges, global health security

For IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva (above), a two-track pandemic means a two-track recovery that'll hurt the entire world in the long run. That's why she anticipates G7 leaders meeting this week will commit to sending about one billion doses of COVID vaccines to the developing world by the end of the year in new financing and shots unused by wealthy nations. Georgieva hopes it'll be a summit that gives all countries "a fair short in the arm, a fair shot at the future."

Georgieva was one of many experts who joined this week's two-part livestream discussion about post-pandemic health security hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Flagship Pioneering, Beyond the Pandemic: A Radical New Approach to Health Security, presented in partnership with Flagship Pioneering.


This year's G7 meeting comes at the right time for its members to start thinking together about how to prevent the next pandemic, says UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock. Part of that conversation, in his view, should focus on how to reform the World Health Organization so it can quickly — and independently — act when the next new pathogen emerges.

G7 Comes at Right Time To Start Talking WHO Reform | UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock | GZERO Media youtu.be

Why has the much-touted COVAX global facility failed to deliver on its promise of equitable distribution of COVID vaccines despite big pledges from rich nations and multilateral organizations like the IMF? "Don't commit to what you cannot achieve," says Agnes Binagwaho, Vice Chancellor at the University of Global Health Equity, who calls out top Western donors for often not walking the talk on commitments — unlike China and India.

“Don't Commit to What You Cannot Achieve" — How the West Hurts COVAX | Agnes Binagwaho | GZERO Media youtu.be

When will we need COVID vaccine boosters against new variants? Probably before the fall, according to Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel. And what about IP waivers? He says they are not the solution, and could have negative unintended consequences like stifling future investment in innovative technologies that allowed vaccines to be developed in record time.

Moderna CEO on Vaccine Boosters Timeline, IP Waivers | Stephane Bancel | GZERO Media youtu.be

Why is the US not investing huge amounts in health security for Americans and the rest of the world? For Ian Bremmer, the government sees value in spending big on national security or tech to counter China, but less so in bolstering our defenses against public health threats. If this continues, he warns, America will be as ill-prepared for the next pandemic as it was for COVID.

Why Doesn't the US Invest More in Health Security? | Ian Bremmer | GZERO Media youtu.be

Watch key moments from the first part of this series on June 8, "Beyond the Pandemic: A Radical New Approach to Health Security,"

This live event series is produced by GZERO Media in partnership with Flagship Pioneering. We thank our event partners, Partnership for a Healthier America and Medtronic.

Okuafo Pa means good farmer in the Twi language of West Africa. Hence, the naming of the project reflects the value of good farming and the rewards it brings to the people of Ghana. The Okuafo Pa Project will support Ghana's sustainable development by promoting socio-economic growth and sustainable business models.

Watch to learn how Eni is helping youth to develop agricultural knowledge and skills.

Iranians head to the polls on Friday to vote for president, and it appears a foregone conclusion that hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the nation's top judge, will win.

Outsiders, and many Iranians, roll their eyes at the predictability of this vote. Iran's Guardian Council, a dozen clerics and judges who answer only to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has cleared the field for Raisi by ruling all of his credible challengers ineligible. The fix is in, and Iranians are now preparing for a moment when anti-reform conservatives, those who oppose social change inside Iran and deeper engagement with the West, will for the first time ever control the country's presidency, parliament, courts, and much of the media.

But simmering beneath the cynicism and predictability of this event is a deepening anxiety over Iran's future as it enters a potentially momentous period in the Islamic Republic's 42-year history. The Supreme Leader, in power for 32 years, is now 82 years old. Very few people know the true state of his health. Even if he outlives Raisi's presidency, which could last four or eight years, preparations for a historic, uncertain, and potentially dangerous leadership transition will intensify soon.

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Iranians head to the polls on June 18, in what's widely perceived to be a foregone outcome. Analysts predict that popular disillusionment with Iran's political class will make this one of the lowest turnout elections in Iran's post-revolution history. According to one poll taken by the Iranian Students Polling Agency, as few as 42 percent of the eligible voting population is expected to show up. We take a look at contemporary Iran's demographics, and how this year's vote turnout might compare to previous elections.

Latin America needs vaccines: The World Health Organization has called on the G7 countries that pledged to donate a billion COVID vaccine doses to the developing world to prioritize Latin America, with WHO officials pointing to the fact that out of the top 10 countries with the highest COVID death tolls per capita over the past week, nine are in Latin America, where many health systems are overstretched and vaccines are scarce. This call comes as Latin America's COVID death toll has surpassed 1 million. Cases and deaths are soaring in Argentina and Colombia, for instance, while Brazil has fully vaccinated just 11 percent of its population despite recording the world's second highest death toll. Even Chile, which has carried out Latin America's most successful vaccination campaign to date, has been forced to delay reopening due to a recent surge in infections among unvaccinated younger people. The WHO says prioritizing the region for vaccine donations makes sense in order to stop large sustained outbreaks that may spur potentially more infectious COVID variants that'll cross borders and wreak havoc in populous states. Most of the donated shots will be distributed through the COVAX facility, which is a problem for countries like Venezuela, shut out from COVAX due to US sanctions imposed on the Maduro regime.

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3: China has launched three astronauts into orbit in its first space mission since 2016. The astronauts will spend three months aboard the country's new space station, demonstrating China's resolve to become a space power following successful earlier missions to collect soil samples on the Moon and land a wheeled robot on Mars.

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In 2019, Ethiopia's fresh Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accepted a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in brokering a peace treaty with neighbor and longtime foe Eritrea. At the time, Abiy was hailed by the Western media as a reformist who was steering Ethiopia, long dominated by ethnic strife and dictatorial rule, into a new democratic era.

But barely two years later, Abiy stands accused of overseeing a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the northern Tigray region, putting the country on the brink of civil war.

It's against this backdrop that Ethiopians will head to the polls on June 21 for a parliamentary election now regarded as a referendum on Abiy's leadership. But will the vote be free and fair, and will the outcome actually reflect the will of the people? Most analysts say the answer is a resounding "no" on both fronts.

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Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

Cyber issues took center stage at the G7 summit. Is there a consensus among world leaders on how to handle cyberweapons?

Well, depending on who is included, there is a growing consensus that the escalations of conflict in cyberspace must stop. And G7 leaders that are now all representing democracies did call on Russia to hold perpetrators of cybercrime that operate from within its borders to account. So, I guess hope dies last because laws in Russia prevents the extradition of suspects to the US, even if Vladimir Putin answered positively when Joe Biden asked for cooperation on that front. And when it comes to limiting the spread of tools that are used for hacking, surveillance and infiltration, the EU has just moved ahead and adopted new dual use regulations which reflect the concerns for human rights violations when journalists are targeted the way that Jamal Khashoggi was. So ending the proliferation of systems that are used to attack would be an urgent but also obvious step for democratic nations to agree on.

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Frequently called Europe's last dictator, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Lukashenko has sailed smoothly to victory in all six elections he's stood in, despite widespread corruption and fraud in each one. But in 2020 the biggest threat so far to Lukashenko's tight grip on government came in an unlikely package—a former schoolteacher and stay at home mom, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. After the election result was finalized, Lukashenko claimed victory, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets, and Tsikhanouskaya leads the opposition in exile. Lukashenko recently took his boldest move yet, diverting a plane en route from Greece to Lithuania to arrest another Belarusian dissident. Ian Bremmer discusses whether a democratic transition is remotely possible in Belarus on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: The fight for democracy in Europe's last dictatorship

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