G7 summit is a chance to learn COVID lessons: Boris Johnson
London, June 11: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened the G7 Summit in Cornwall on Friday with a message for the world leaders to "learn lessons" from the pandemic and warned that it is vital not to repeat mistakes of the "the last big economic recession of 2008" when the recovery was not uniform across all parts of society.
As the host of the summit of the Group of Seven - made up of the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan as well the European Union - Johnson said it was "genuinely wonderful" to see everyone in person for the first major physical event since the pandemic last year.
India, invited as a guest country along with South Africa, Australia and South Korea, will be participating virtually, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to address three breakout sessions over Saturday and Sunday.
"I actually think that this is a meeting that genuinely needs to happen because we need to make sure we learn lessons from the pandemic. We need to make sure we don't repeat some of the errors that we have made in the course of the last 18 months or so and we put in place what is needed to allow our economies to recover," Johnson said in his opening remarks.
"What's gone wrong with this pandemic, what risks being a lasting scar, is the inequalities that have been entrenched. We need to make sure that as we recover, we level up across our societies - we need to build back better," he said.
"I actually think that we have a huge opportunity to do that, because as a G7 we are united in our vision for a cleaner, greener world. A solution to the problems of climate change in all those ideas, in those technologies, that we're all addressing," he added.
The central theme of the summit under the UK's presidency is around "building back greener, building back fairer and building back more equal".
On the sidelines of the summit, Johnson has been conducting a host of bilateral engagements, including talks with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.